Does buying customer loyalty software based on vendor comparisons deliver best value? Nick Chambers, Director at the customer engagement consultancy Mobile Loyalty Technologies provides his views.
With the UK economy embarking on the slow process of re-opening, Brands looking to gain competitive advantage & increased market share and a growing focus on first party customer data and a permission led approach to data capture & usage there has arguably never been a better time to be a vendor of loyalty program services.
There appears however to be a disconnect between the way vendors are approaching the sale of their platforms, with a focus on platform features & licence fees, and what Brands most require from these services.
What's more important? An additional feature set your teams may never use? Or platform usability, connectivity, fit with commercial objectives, real time support & training content?
A robust software tool no one in the organisation uses to its full potential doesn't make anyone within more productive.
Crucial factors relating to an approach to data migration, fit with your operating model, existing technology stack & commercial objectives and almost entirely forgotten by vendors seeking to showcase their latest feature sets based around Ai or advanced Gamification capabilities.
The Customer Strategy Network, (CSN) the global network of leading loyalty marketing practitioners, recently took the opportunity to conduct market research to understand what Brands currently look for from those vendors offering customer engagement solutions.
The criteria CSN Partners used in their vendor evaluation research was wide ranging, including fit with operating models, technical stack, commercial objectives, regulatory requirements, and budgets. The research itself was conducted across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.
The findings detailed some common desires and also differences among the regions. The requirement dashboard reporting to effectively summarise and interpret program statistics and the ability for segmentation, targeting and retargeting was a desire shared among all regions.
Among some of the values unique to each region, the US valued cyber security policy and process; the EMEA region highlighted connectivity between systems, including ERPs and eCommerce platforms; and, the APAC region highlighted a unique desire for gamification and open architecture.
In summary for each region:
Brands in the US clearly favour vendor credentials and industry accreditations, along with an option for input into the overall vision and strategy for customer loyalty. In EMEA, Brands value 3rd party system connectivity including marketing automation tools, CRM, ecommerce, and point of sale systems. Whilst those in Asia Pacific are far more focused on pricing
See infographic here.
Next time you receive a sales demonstration from a loyalty platform provider ask the representative about customer data migration, onboarding, adoption, and ongoing success. If they don't wow you on each and every one of these topics, walk away.