A ‘reward everything’ mindset and the future of customer experience

Marketing
May 31, 2022
Reza Javanian
Editorial Content Writer
6
Min to read

Businesses that strive to create an exceptional experience for their customers need a wide range of promotions to incentivize every stage of the customer journey. The timely and proper execution of these promotions requires developing a ‘reward everything’ mindset, a cross-sectional approach to customer experience where customers are handled from one business function to the other via incentives and rewards. 

Such a holistic approach to rewards is a winning strategy because it ensures customers constantly receive quality experiences regardless of the phase of their interaction with the company. In other words, every single move by the customer is responded to by an appropriate reward from the company.

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Many companies focus the majority of their resources on acquisition, partially or totally neglecting activation and retention. They use loads of data to acquire new customers but then fail to leverage the same data to enrich their activation and retention campaigns. 

The ensuing data silos can lead to poor performance of your marketing down the funnel, leaving customers feeling ignored and frustrated and minimizing your customer lifetime value (CLV).

The acquisition-activation-retention triangle can influence the marketing tech stack of a company. Some brands structure their tech stack based on these three pillars, using different tools and technologies at each stage to gain and retain customers. A reward/promotional engine can span the three pillars because it’s able to incentivize prospect/customer activities at different stages of their journey. 

What does reward mean?

To create a reward everything mentality, we need to first determine what we mean by ‘reward.’ Are we talking about only financial customer rewards in the form of direct cashbacks and vouchers? 

To answer this question, let’s go back to see what the word reward means.

Derived from the Anglo-French and Old North French word rouwart, reward means “what one deserves” or “something given in recognition of merit or virtue.” A doublet of ‘regard’, reward also was used in Middle English in the sense of “a regarding, heeding, notice, observation, respect and esteem.” 

Holistic reward ecosystem

The etymology of the word reward is pertinent to our discussion of the holistic customer experience because it vividly shows financial rewards are only one type of responding to customer actions. Rewards are first and foremost about recognition and respect. Their ultimate aim is to prove to customers that the business cares about them, recognizes their contribution and respects them as human beings

If you focus too narrowly on purely transactional loyalty, you risk becoming redundant when that decision-support is pulled away. That’s why smart companies constantly explore ways to go beyond transactional rewards and create long-lasting relationships with their customers. Businesses can’t win customers’ long-term trust through transactional rewards; rather, they need to focus on personalizing their interactions with their customers. 

This is precisely why hyper-personalization is a key element of omnichannel experiences that many brands strive to create for their customers. It’s primarily about communicating with shoppers as individuals with unique traits and behaviors.

As transactional rewards can’t ensure that you get your customers to stick to a new behavior, you must find a way to make it fun, exciting or emotionally valuable. 

Gamification is one such strategy. When executed well, a gamified experience activates different pathways for customers to achieve different rewards, resulting in a stronger emotional bond with the brand. Gamification also boosts the redemption rate of rewards because it feels like an organic part of the customer experience.

A holistic customer experience, one which all customer facing functions collaborate to create, is according to Monia Melia and Angela Caridà, “is a multidimensional concept that involves the customer’s cognitive, affective, emotional, social and physical responses to the retailer.” 

Of course, it’s not only the customers who avail in this ecosystem. According to Adweek, shoppers who have a great experience with a brand will spend 140% more than those who had a poor past experience. Timely and meaningful rewards can turn one-time shoppers into big fans of our brand.

Reward everything mindset and customer journey

Rewards play a key role in creating this outstanding journey because they are capable of addressing almost all aspects of customer’s response to the brand. Let’s see how a reward everything mindset can help customers along the spectrum of their journey.

  • Acquisition: During the acquisition phase, online displays and search and first-time incentives can bring customers to your doorstep. A study showed that 80% of customers feel encouraged to make a first-time purchase with a brand that is new to them if they found an attractive reward.
  • Conversion: The conversion phase can be a very important touchpoint in terms of rewarding customers’ actions. Retargeting your offers in the form of perks to close the deal can help your customers in their decision-making process. You should also pay special attention to last chance deals and abandoned application incentives to guide the customer through their conversion. On top of everything, referrals can tremendously strengthen your relationship with a new generation of customers who trust their peers more than anyone else. 28% of millennials say they won't try a product if their friends don't approve of it.
  • Growth: As the customer moves along their journey, you need to ensure they receive quality rewards relevant to the stage of their experience. In the growth phase, your emphasis should be on affiliate programs and industry influencers to help your customers make a well-informed decision. You can also offer loyalty points to make your customers realize how important it is for you to maintain a win-win relationship with them.
  • Retention: Now you need to personalize your rewards as much as you can because you want to ensure your customers receive meaningful offers. Offering pre-launch incentives can also captivate your customers’ attention. Don’t forget to benefit from the impact of creating urgency by using time-sensitive offers.
  • Reactivation: Your ultimate goal is to have a long-lasting relationship with your customer. That means during the reactivation phase you need to come up with exclusive offers across all you channels (omnichannel presence) to make your customers realize they can benefit from their interaction with you everywhere. 

The role of a scalable and flexible promotion engine

We discussed earlier that incentivizing every single action of the customer is key to creating a holistic customer experience. A holistic reward everything mindset can minimize the friction between different teams in a company as it ensures everybody in the team is onboarded to provide quality customer care. It also creates momentum in the team and reduces inertia, which is particularly important for companies in their growth phase. 

Developing a reward everything mindset is a great step forward toward creating loyal customers. However, we need a powerful tech solution to enable us to execute our holistic strategy. Our tech solution must be:

  • Scalable. The scalability is crucial because we want to make sure we always provide the best rewards and promotions for our customers, regardless of the size of our targeted audience. 
  • Flexible. We’re dealing with human beings and unexpected behavioral patterns are not a rarity. Therefore, our promotion solution must be flexible enough to allow us to act fast and react to changes in real time.
  • Customizable: We want our rewards to create maximum impact on our customers. This is not possible if our promotion platform is only capable of generating random rewards. We need to have customized rewards.

How does such a promotion solution help businesses obtain a reward everything mentality? Here are two real-life examples in which Talon.One’s promotion engine has enabled businesses to sync their business functions and maximize the influence of their rewards. They joined for coupons, but ended up benefiting from coupons, referrals, discounts and other promotional features of Talon.One:

  1. One of our clients is a leading omnichannel car company. Their marketing tech stack is structured into three key pillars: acquisition, activation and retention. Each of these pillars requires different sets of technology and tools. For example, for activation, they utilize a CRM tool to automate an end-to-end activation journey for our agents. One underlying technology that spans the three pillars is a reward/promotional engine to power the gamification framework. Each pillar has its north star metrics and end goal, and they can utilize gamification to motivate agents to reach that goal.

Therefore, they needed a promotion solution that could integrate with their marketing tech stack. Following a seamless integration, Talon.One’s promotion engine enabled them to focus on their desired gamified element.

  1. The other business that gained a reward everything mindset by integrating Talon.One’s solution with their tech stack is KEEPERsport. KEEPERsport is an ecommerce shop that had faced challenges running a successful discount strategy due to their outdated technology and a large, ever-expanding product inventory. They knew that promotions were key to a brand’s success, but did not have the resources or time to build and maintain a promotion solution themselves.KEEPERsport wanted to scale their promotions to increase product sales and it was clear that an API-based solution like Talon.One’s Rule Engine was their best option. Their decision to buy their promotion solution was super successful. Talon.One enabled them to increase their overall product sales and upsells, launch hundreds of product-specific promotions and coupons and dramatically increase their ROI. According to Martin Krenn, CEO at KEEPERsport, “I’d highly recommend Talon.One. We never imagined having access to so much functionality in one tool. The promotion possibilities are endless.”

As the above examples illustrate, gaining a reward everything mindset is impacted by the broader build vs. buy policy of a business. A holistic approach to this topic requires the assessment of pros and cons of build vs. buy including the calculation of all ongoing costs of developing an in-house solution.

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