customer loyalty

“Personalization Is the New Loyalty”, said Jeff Rosenfeld, VP of The Neiman Marcus Group back in 2017. Two years later, his words may now seem somewhat prophetic.

Personalization has become a hot topic for marketers. Yet, the majority of today’s marketing still isn’t truly personalized.

Neiman also stated that traditional loyalty programs have gotten a bit stale. If you are reading this article with the intent of revamping or creating a customer loyalty program, you have come to the right place. Launching a retention program that incorporates personalization can be the key ingredient to your success.

Research continues to highlight new insights on customer preferences for personalized marketing. Some may think audiences don’t want hyper-personalization for fear of privacy breaches, but studies show personalized content is correlated with higher customer satisfaction.

A study revealed that 79% of customers surveyed were very satisfied with loyalty programs that featured a high level of personalization. It also revealed that personalized messages, which made customers feel special and recognized, had 2.7 times more satisfied members than non-personalized ones.

For example, American footwear retailer DSW launched a rewards program via email, where they pointed out to their customers how many points they needed to receive a $10 certificate. Customers were also shown what deals they were eligible for. DSW used member data to offer detailed snapshots of their clients’ interactions with the brand over a two-year period. The main details communicated to their customers including their savings, points earned, and the length of the time they had been rewards members.

The results? A 64% increase in email opens, a 13% increase in click-through rates and a 58.82% increase in customers who opened and read the email for more than 15 seconds.

This is the power of personalization. For decades, brands would inundate their audiences with one-sided messages. Now, consumers want a two-way communication with the brands they purchase from – they expect brands to learn from them, they expect personalization.

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It is clear that a customer loyalty program which uses personalization is more likely to succeed. But how should companies implement a personalized program in the first place? Let’s consider some branded examples.


  • Starbucks
    The popular coffee chain rewards regular customers with its mobile app. The app makes personalized recommendations to customers based on their preferences, the time of day, and purchasing context.
  • The app might suggest pairing a particular beverage with a certain snack. It even uses gamification to encourage buyers to rise through the ranks and reach their “gold level” certification.
  • Dove
    The Dove Insider program is an award-winning one – it took home top honours in the 2014 Bond Brand Loyalty Consumer Packaged Goods category. The program uses personalization to send offers to its customers based on the users’ individual needs such as their skin type. To accomplish this, they use with interactive quizzes, gamification, and beauty tips video galleries featuring their products.
  • Express
    Express, a fashion line for young men and women, also uses personalization for their loyalty program. They reward customers for purchases, SMS signups, app downloads, and social interactions via text messages, push notifications, and email. Within these interactions, customers can redeem various perks, such as $5 off coupons.
  • Personalization and rewards can be delivered through other marketing channels that are not yet standardized. Video, one of the most powerful marketing tools out there, is one of them. Furthermore, the demand for it is skyrocketing! Indeed, according to HubSpot, 85% of consumers would like to see more video from companies. With the demand for more personalized brand experiences and for video content rising, personalized video is the way to go.


  1. Start with the basics – Include the customer’s name and address them with a warm and welcoming message.
  2. Visualize complex information – 72% of people prefer to watch a video to learn about a product or service rather than read text. The visualization and audio explanation make complex information much more digestible. Since a breakdown of rewards points can be confusing, visualizing them will make it much easier to comprehend.
  3. Highlight customer activity – Personalized video is a sure way to grab customers’ attention. Indeed, with personalized video we have observed 70% of customers staying to watch an entire 90 second when the average viewing time of an online video is only about 15 seconds! Use those extra seconds of attention to show where and how customers earned their rewards. This will serve as a “pat on the back”, but more importantly, it will give them the incentive to continue earning points.
  4. Reinforce a customer’s goal – Customers often look to loyalty programs, not only to feel special but also to reach certain goals (such as taking a long-awaited trip). The video could use imagery associated with a customer’s goal while highlighting how earning certain rewards can bring them closer to their goal.
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Run-of-the-mill customer loyalty programs that seem generic and impersonal no longer retain customers like they once did. It’s vital to personalize these Reward programs because consumers now expect their favourite brands to form relationships with them and provide content that is specifically relevant to their situation.

As the statistics mentioned earlier reveal, personalization in its various forms increases brand engagement. So don’t count yourself out of the race to maintain customer loyalty, personalizing your communications will give you an edge.

*Written by Larry Lubin   Fri March 08, 2019

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