A Fresh (and Perhaps Radical) Look at the Loyalty Industry
An outdated approach
We all know the definition of insanity—doing the same thing and expecting a different result. To some degree, the customer loyalty industry and how it rates loyalty solution providers falls under this umbrella.
Before we dive into why we’re making such a bold claim, let’s share why Annex Cloud didn’t actively participate in this year’s Forrester Wave. This decision was intentional for two important reasons:
1. Annex Cloud was recently acquired by OpenGate Capital. With our new financial backing we wisely took the opportunity to examine and reaffirm our overall product strategy. As the fastest growing company in the loyalty space, with the largest dedicated engineering team, we are now focused on developing and delivering a number of significant and exciting product enhancements. These activities took priority over spending the hours necessary to put forth a winning entry for evaluation.
2. We were comfortable de-prioritizing the evaluation because the way Forrester and others are researching the market is missing a pertinent component—a real focus on the technology and how that technology will allow brands deliver on their goals of personalization, customer experience and reducing friction (in addition to reducing churn and increasing revenue and CLTV). This outdated approach continues to prolong a feeling among brand marketers that loyalty is expensive, slow and needs to remain siloed.
Siloed data limits loyalty to discounts
When you look at the loyalty vendor landscape, nothing has really changed in close to 20 years. The stories are the same, the model is the same, the pricing is the same—and unfortunately the results are still the same. Loyalty programs for the most part are still based around discounts. To reference the CEO from Untuckit while on stage at the eTail West event—loyalty is still discounts and discounts don’t establish loyalty. He believes that loyalty strategies can do more but he has yet to see the claims realized, in action. Why is this? It’s because loyalty programs and loyalty data remain siloed from the rest of the customer-facing functions. This is a core reason why brands are still struggling with delivering truly personalized experiences.
The loyalty industry needs a new norm
It’s time for organizations like Forrester to challenge the norm that the loyalty industry has been operating under for 20-plus years. And it’s time for loyalty solution providers to step up and truly support brands the way they need to be supported. So, what does this new norm require? What does it look like?
The new loyalty industry norm needs:
- 2023 technology that’s nimble, agile, scalable and flexible
- Loyalty solution providers that think, innovate, develop and execute like other tech industries
- Loyalty solution providers with strong partner networks, a wealth of pre-built connectors and robust API libraries
- Tech solutions that easily plug into the rest of the tech stack to allow a brand’s data to flow easily across the organization
- Loyalty positioned and designed to be the heart of the tech stack, pushing out unique customer data to enable hyper-personalization at every touchpoint
- Loyalty to be researched, reviewed and held accountable to technology standards, not services standards.
Loyalty needs more organizations like Annex Cloud that are truly putting customer needs first on their roadmap, creating technology and ecosystems that allow brands to dream of—and deliver—a truly rewarding customer experience. If you’re ready to explore a loyalty solution that’s specifically designed to fully leverage zero- and first-party customer data across the customer journey, and go beyond points and discounts, talk to one our experts.