CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Growing Sales & Market Share With a Targeted Customer Loyalty Program

How one expertly designed program in the crowded building supply industry has leaned into expert incentive strategy, execution and tactics to drive year-over-year profits for more than a decade.

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In the wake of a market recession, one leading retailer needed to activate customers to grow market share and increase customer lifetime value (CLV) among nearly 600 retail stores in more than 40 states. Growing sales was key, and brand leadership knew retailers had interest in a customer loyalty program. But without the expertise to build and manage a profitable initiative, the brand engaged ITA Group to consult on driving loyalty among its retailers’ customer audience.

Engaging an Industry Leader to Maximize Value

What would’ve been a heavy lift for a retail brand on its own turned into an expert-led loyalty program that created value up and down the distribution chain. Customers at a local level were the initial focus because growing their books of business would ensure wallet share and growth. But, further audience assessment through tactics like surveys, research and analysis ultimately revealed clear benefits for all.
 

audience assessment graphic

A Self-Funding Model Targeting Customer Growth

Designing the program to generate incremental growth versus rewarding customers for business they were already doing ensured a self-funding distributor model. But getting sponsoring manufacturers and retailers to buy in, literally and figuratively, meant offering an initiative with manageable bottom-line impact to stores while creating an opportunity to offer unexpected earning opportunities for program participants.

The strategy? Assign customers a goal beyond their previous year’s business, and unlock earnings when they’ve reached it, guaranteeing retailers a positive ROI by offsetting program costs.

table showing channel marketing program tactics

Program Design Targeting a Customer Audience Primed for Purchase

Identifying existing customers who could grow their business with retail stores ensures wallet share growth. And because awards are tiered and unlocked as participants advance in the program, the program guarantees profitability.

 

graphic showing benefits

Expert Guidance Each Step of the Way

Data analysis allows ITA Group to recommend ideal customers retailers should target, associated individual goals, award type and projected ROI, ensuring a truly turnkey program. In tandem, retailers benefit from the freedom to target customers autonomously, including award type (trip or points) and custom goal (which connects customers with Tier Two benefits).

Technology Tailored to Each User Audience

A custom web platform includes views personalized for each stakeholder audience, encouraging engagement according to their role in the program. ITA Group manages program administration, lessening the administrative burden for program owners.

graphic outlining how each channel member accesses data

 

Motivational Award Opportunities Tailored to Customers

The ability to consistently balance targeting customers for loyalty and growth while rewarding and recognizing top customers came to life through two unique award avenues. Determined up front (during the targeting process) by retailers, the strategy ensures a flexible, relevant customer award experience.

 

table showing loyalty program awards options

 

Positioning Retailers to Succeed With Customer Marketing

Often lacking marketing expertise or background, retail stores benefit from a communications investment that doubles as consistent customer marketing.

Educating Retailers 

An annual strategic mixed-media campaign supports each retail store as they work toward an individualized ROI by customer. 

  • Program overview and customer targeting training
  • Launch kit mailing with program and customer guides
  • Program website
  • Promotion and transaction emails and text messaging
  • Conference materials

Engaging Customers

  • Segmented communications engage customers.
  • Comprehensive launch guide
  • 1:1 automated email for promotions and goal tracking
  • Multimedia engagement campaign
  • Mobile site to check earnings
  • Award redemption reminders
  • Award and travel mailings

Extending Manufacturer Brand Connections

Ongoing touchpoints keep program sponsorship benefits top of mind.

  • Push reports to guide quarterly promotion strategy
  • Multimedia communications reminding sponsors to:
    • Plan for the program’s top-customer trip
    • Access geographic pull-through data to guide business decisions
    • Leverage digital messages

Customer Engagement Benefits the Entire Channel

An initial strategy positioning the brand to rebound from a market recession ultimately morphed into a long-term customer marketing program that continues to instill local market loyalty today. The initiative reflects a 56% increase in purchases by customers who unlock Tier 2 benefits.

A Self-Funding Loyalty Initiative

Building a customer loyalty program designed to generate customer purchase growth, targeting the right customer participants—those with profitable growth potential—and working with product manufacturers to help fund the ongoing effort ensures a self-funding loyalty initiative.

Proven Results Up & Down the Channel  

Moreover, the decade-plus program boasts year-over-year success and benefits the entire channel. In addition to retailers orchestrating relationships, increasing sales and benefiting from a risk-free customer incentive; sponsoring manufacturers enhance brand awareness, secure data they wouldn’t otherwise have access to, and generate additional revenue through strategic promotions.