Marketers Are Lagging in Their Use of CRM Data for Loyalty Programs

November 25, 2019

More than three-fifths (62%) of marketers say their loyalty programs are fully integrated with their CRM data. However, that doesn’t mean they’re always using that data to its advantage, according to a Merkle survey [download page] of 200 marketers at large North American brands. Indeed, the report finds that there is a gap between the data that is broadly used in marketing initiatives and what marketers are using for their loyalty programs.

One of the biggest gaps in data usage comes with customer demographic data. Fully 86% of respondents say they use such data for their overall marketing efforts, yet only 39% report using it for their loyalty programs. Another such attribute is site activity, which 43% of marketers report using for their loyalty program efforts compared to 70% for wider marketing efforts.

While marketers are expanding their use of location data in order to increase audience engagement, personalization and gain audience insights, the same disparity applies. Some 62% of respondents use location data for their overall marketing efforts, compared to only 37% taking advantage of it for their loyalty programs.

The data that marketers appear to use the most for loyalty programs are customer account/history (57% for loyalty compared to 71% for overall efforts) and customer preferences (46% for loyalty compared to 59% for overall efforts).

Other Loyalty Tactics

Four in 5 marketers (81%) surveyed have a defined loyalty program, with many increasing their investment in areas including loyalty platform technology (61%), emerging technologies (54%), data management (53%) and email marketing (46%). There is a good reason for this increased investment. Research from the CMO Council and Cheetah Digital found that loyalty program participants tend to buy more and more often. Not only that, but these programs also provide more data and customer information for marketers to use.

Merkle’s survey found that 7 in 10 marketers are using point-based loyalty tactics for their programs, while others are using spend-based (51%), cash back (48%) and surprise and delight (35%) tactics. They also appear to be aware that cash back tactics tend to make consumers feel the most rewarded. Some of the most popular combinations of loyalty tactics include rewarding consumers with money back, such as points-based/cash back (12%), points and spend-based/cash back (11%) and points and spend-based/cash back/surprise and delight (10%).

Data Usage for Personalization

Finally, in examining marketers’ data usage for personalization, the report reveals that marketers within the Financial and Retail industries have an above-average usage of loyalty redemption data activity for personalization within the email channel.

Marketers are also taking advantage of loyalty redemption activity for personalization within the in-app channel. Marketers working in the Financial industry, in particular, report usage that is almost on par with the use of location data and site activity data for the in-app channel.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Results are based on a survey of 200 marketers at major North American brands spanning several verticals including retail, consumer goods, high-tech, financial, travel, media and entertainment, health, insurance and non-profit.

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