A Fresh (and Perhaps Radical) Look at the Loyalty Industry
I had a conversation this week with someone who’s been in the loyalty space as long as I have, that absolutely shocked me. This person knows loyalty and is passionate about creating emotional bonds and increasing CLV. But he significantly lacks an understanding of the technology available in the space, especially around SaaS and is, quite frankly, making recommendations that aren’t accurate.
I fear there are many people out there that aren’t clear. This isn’t their fault. It’s a combination of being in the loyalty space too long, where modern technology is only a sliver of what’s available in the market, compounded by the analysts lumping all solutions into one versus digging into the important nuances that’ll really make or break the success of a loyalty program.
It’s important to understand the loyalty landscape spectrum
Loyalty history dates back to before modern technology as do some loyalty vendors. This makes for a technology vendor landscape very different than other martech. The research firms evaluate loyalty tech on the same continuum as though they’re interchangeable.
The reality is this—many of these organizations have been around selling loyalty services and bespoke technologies since the turn of the century. These organizations are trusted, respected and have some of the top brands across the globe on their client list.
Newer SaaS technologies are enterprise-grade solutions that have the sophistication of Salesforce, SAP Clouds and others. SaaS organizations are cutting-edge (relatively speaking in loyalty terms), technology-first, highly configurable and provide one code source for all. There’s also a stable of SaaS technologies that cater to SMB and mid-market organizations and provide solid plug-and-play solutions for companies looking to implement the basics.
SaaS spells opportunity
Let’s dig a little deeper.
The tried-and-true organizations cost enterprises millions of dollars annually in the form of platform cost, platform updates/upgrades and services to assist in using the platform. Any change in scope or updates requires time-consuming and costly development. While these organizations make customers feel good because there’s a full team of people supporting them regularly—in addition to high costs—there’s also an extremely high opportunity cost. This is seen when it takes an organization four to six weeks to get a new promotion or campaign out the door.
On the flip side, SaaS technology easily integrates across your entire martech stack and is highly configurable, so you as a marketing manager can easily pull new segments based on any data point and move it into a campaign in minutes. Need a report? Data and insights are readily available in real time via a dashboard or can be downloaded to your BI tool in minutes.
Beyond being self-service, SaaS updates are made to the platform itself which make the new features and functionality available to everyone. Imagine getting the benefit of other brands’ innovation and new capabilities—automatically!
Today’s SaaS loyalty solutions empower marketing teams
Loyalty suffers from a bad rap on many levels because of being slow, limited, expensive and requiring lots of on-going services and development. All these things were true before modern day technology. But today, thanks to SaaS technology, you as a loyalty marketer no longer need to suffer.
Did you know that loyalty can help you move excess products from your shelves? The answer with SaaS is yes! SaaS allows you as a marketing manager to pull a new segment based on past purchase data, then configure a promotional offer in your SaaS platform in minutes. Push that offer to your ESP and, viola, you’re driving traffic to stores today.
Let’s explore faster, more agile possibilities
Before you decide on your next loyalty tech or if you’re tired of paying such high prices for technology and services that move too slow, please check out the SaaS providers in the space.
The team here at Annex Cloud would love to talk to you about your challenges and goals, answer your questions and help build your knowledge of the enterprise options that’ll allow you to reach your goals faster. Contact us or, better yet, let us show you what’s possible for your brand.