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Purple Square

Time to play: how to build innovation into marketing practices to help increase customer loyalty

By Mos Bhatti, EMEA Services Director at Purple Square

With cost effectiveness and the bottom line driving so many investment decisions, marketing seems to be increasingly measured on delivery. Creativity, big picture thinking and maximising customer loyalty can often take a back seat to meeting deadlines and getting as many campaigns out the door as quickly as possible. Without investing the time to learn about or play with new developments, platforms or technology, however, marketers can easily fall into the trap of essentially delivering the same campaign over and over again – eventually alienating even the most loyal of customers. 

Prioritising budgets and deadlines above all else is also one of the leading culprits for the lack of widespread use of emerging technologies like AI and APIs among marketers. Despite being ‘baked’ into a number of martech platforms, it is rare to see marketing teams taking full advantage of what these technologies can offer – namely because they lack time to experiment with it, fearing it will derail them from meeting deadlines.

Making the most of new technologies, however, can help make marketers lives easier, meet their deadlines more easily and generate greater brand loyalty by helping to keep their campaign content relevant and engaging and reaching customers via their channel or platform of choice.

Putting AI to the test

AI can do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to sifting through vast data sets. Building machine learning and AI into modelling practices helps to beef up analytics and understand what’s working well when it comes to buying behaviours and interactions with marketing campaigns. As an example, we’ve seen clients boosting their overall engagement rates by allowing AI to select the best performing test pathways when it comes to customer journeys.

Engaging APIs in loyalty scheme promotion

As the number of customer touchpoints continues to grow, understanding how APIs can help is more relevant than ever. With a little help from IT to get things started, API-based integration can seamlessly transfer information from one application to another, helping to reach and engage with customers on the platforms and apps they use most.

A European bank recently did just that. Its loyalty program has long included benefits for customers who use mobile payment solutions and, with the help of APIs, they recently implemented a new real time strategy to promote the program via SMS to non-members who were using Apple or Google pay at the point of sale. The initial results show registration rates are improving among the target groups.

Ensuring these technologies are part of the marketing roadmap is the first step. Carving out the time to experiment and play with the likes of AI and APIs holds the key. Not only will the knowledge gained help to keep marketing outputs more relevant, promote creativity and raise team morale, but learning how to use the latest tech can ultimately lead to more effective targeted campaigns and greater efficiency.

A balancing act

It’s one thing to talk about making time to play, but actually unlocking it can be a challenge, especially when focus is always on the next deadline. Building in extra time to ultimately save time may seem counter-intuitive, but allocating time for marketers to learn, experiment, play and create not only helps generate greater customer loyalty through more innovative marketing, but is also hugely valuable in cultivating your team’s loyalty and investment to your own organisation. Teams and individuals thrive when they are allotted time to choose and work on outside projects requiring them to learn new skills and problem solve. Without this, their performance and creativity will ultimately suffer.

Making the shift from being deadline-driven to allocating time for marketers to innovate and play can be difficult. Being strict about building time for R&D and operations into campaigns, ensuring your team’s SLAs include – and stick to – agreed time allotments (ensuring extra hours are included for learning) are essential. It’s also important to put some parameters in place to help keep the team on track and put their ‘play’ time to good use.

Implementing these steps will help motivate marketing teams and go a long way to support loyalty-driven development and innovation.

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