By Jessica Duncan
As we at Competiscan reflect on key trends from 2022, we observed a central theme with companies offering customers deeper control, choice, and flexibility. One strategy, showing appreciation to customers, stood out. Wait . . . hasn’t this always been a standard best practice?
The answer is yes. Customer appreciation is a critical component of retention marketing, but the efforts shown in 2022 were unmistakable. A combination of factors likely contributed to the noticeable uptick in customer appreciation strategies. Over the past two years, customers learned new ways of consuming goods and services, while businesses navigated how to support customers’ needs through different channels and with products that fit the new-normal. But that’s not all. The economic strains in the current marketplace could be another contributing factor, resulting in a deeper appreciation of what the loyalty of each customer means to a business.
In this edition of Commentary, we feature five practices companies used in 2022 to express thanks to their customers: complimentary offers, exclusive access, sweepstakes, appreciation events, and pay-it-forward opportunities.
1. Complimentary Offers
Milestones like birthdays are typical events that can trigger an appreciation contact, but spontaneous offers are a nice surprise.
There are a variety of complimentary offers that can be shared with customers to add a quick surprise to their mailbox or inbox. For example, Xfinity offered customers a free movie credit to watch a Halloween classic at no charge. The email was interactive and used a fun scratch-off design to reveal the answer to a Halloween-related trivia question.
2. Exclusive Access
A growing benefit has been emerging in financial services.
Modern day exclusivity is less about a physical symbol, like a black metal credit card, and more about what special access can be gained by the customer. Recently, American Airlines and Citibank celebrated their 35th anniversary in business together. As part of the celebration, Citi hosted a private concert with Christina Aguilera at the Hollywood Palladium. Citi/AAdvantage cardmembers were given the opportunity to buy tickets using a special passcode.
On a macro level, the steady growth Competiscan has observed with companies using “Exclusive Access” as a subject line or primary headline is evident. The observations in Q3 2022 were three times the activity observed in Q1 2022.
What’s old is new again, and sweepstakes were a common tool for engagement in 2022.
There are different advantages to using sweepstakes today. The new spin is the additional opportunity to build a larger social media following or to use an ongoing sweepstakes campaign to retain continued usage. Fintechs have adopted these strategies as they work to build their brands and establish a larger customer base. Chime, SoFi, and Aspiration are just a few of the fintechs who have incorporated sweepstakes into their ongoing marketing. For example, Aspiration and Samsung Money by SoFi customers are automatically entered into a monthly sweepstakes drawing based on their card usage within the past 30 days. This added perk could have a strong impact on customer behavior and build top-of-wallet loyalty.
4. Appreciation Events
American Express is well known for executing memorable campaigns.
And that’s just what we saw when American Express held an inaugural Member Week from October 10 through October 14, 2022. The event featured five days of special offers sent through email to show appreciation to its members. Each day represented a theme, which including shopping and dining specials, an exclusive Jack Harlow livestream concert, and specials focused on financial, mental and/or physical wellness.
Competiscan anticipates more appreciation events will be incorporated into marketing strategies in the future. Other financial institutions like Bank of America and Chase offer special events like “Double Cash-Back Days” and “Month of More,” respectively to boost customer loyalty and satisfaction. In addition, retailers have been observed bringing back private store events as a special way to thank loyal customers.
5. Pay it Forward
The gift of giving is a less conventional way to show thanks, but it can leave a lasting impression.
Connecting to customers’ interests and supporting causes that are important to them can be a great way to show appreciation. For example, Ally Bank sent birthday emails to its auto loan customers in November. After a bit of celebratory messaging, they asked the customer to vote for the charity that they wanted to see Ally Bank donate to as part of its Giving Back Month event. In closing, this is a simple reminder that some thank you’s don’t necessarily have to be tangible, as long as they are thoughtful
For more information on marketing trends, Competiscan clients can view its archive of reports and insights at www.competiscan.com.
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