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75% of Consumers Say Customer Experience Impacts Brand Loyalty, Merkle Report Finds

Merkle, dentsu’s leading technology-enabled, data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company, announced the launch of its 2022 Loyalty Barometer Report, offering insight into how marketers can build more meaningful, lasting customer relationships. The announcement closely follows the release of Merkle’s Performance Media Report. Both reports aim to help brands improve the overall customer experience, helping to drive deeper engagement and retention in our ever-changing world.

Loyalty programs are no longer just about discounts and transactions. Consumers want brands to go the extra mile to connect with them, and more than 75 percent of consumers say consistent customer experiences and customer service improve their likelihood to do business with a brand. This shift requires brands to build loyalty across the entire customer experience, in close partnership with forward-thinking experience and commerce agencies, using human design principles.

“We are now in the experience economy era where marketing is all about the consumer. Marketers are faced with rising media acquisition costs, along with labor and supply chain concerns, that may lead to customer churn,” said Chris Wayman, EVP, Experience and Commerce at Merkle. “Successful brands have made the shift from a simple loyalty program to an overarching loyalty experience, greatly improving business outcomes. Our Loyalty Barometer Report not only shows the state of consumer sentiment and preference today, but also offers clear insights on how brands should implement important changes to their marketing strategies.”

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For years, brand loyalty has been treated as a siloed marketing program; however, as consumers seek unique and personalized experiences that represent their values, brands need to create a loyalty experience across marketing, sales, product, and customer service. The report highlights four key takeaways that marketers need to ramp up customer loyalty efforts in 2022 and beyond:

  • Leverage loyalty to build trust across the entire customer experience, as 79 percent of consumers are more likely to do business with a brand because of its loyalty program.
  • Provide expanded financial utility while also delivering emotional benefits, since 73 percent of millennials say a consistent customer experience makes it more likely they will continue to do business with their favorite brand.
  • Ditch data and personalization strategies that lack sophistication, as almost 60 percent of consumers said current personalization efforts (via website and marketing communications) have no impact on their likelihood to continue to do business with a brand.
  • Create a new dimension of engagement with promotion-based loyalty campaigns, as almost 50 percent of consumers want chance-to-win rewards included within the loyalty experience (up from about 35 percent in 2019).

“The industry is seeing an ongoing shift toward customer-centric experiences that meet consumers where they are,” added James Riess, SVP, Strategy and Insights for Merkle’s Promotion and Loyalty Solutions practice. “In order to find success, brands should use data to understand consumers and build loyalty experiences that help meet their needs while integrating seamlessly into their lifestyles. Merkle’s Human Loyalty® philosophy is based on the idea that brand loyalty starts by meeting consumers’ rational needs to establish the foundation of trust. Once trust is established, it opens the door for brands to create an emotional connection, which leads to enduring brand loyalty.”

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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