Driving long term customer relationships through interactive content

Customer loyalty is deeply rooted in genuine connections with brands, and the innovative nature of the digital world continues to create more opportunities for brands to build and maintain relationships with their audiences.

Cookies have long been utilised by marketers to track consumer behaviour online, dating all the way back to the late 90s. However, the digital climate has changed a lot since then. Now, internet users are much savvier and conscious of how their data is being used. Since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced back in 2018, cookies - and third-party data collection - have been brought into the light, and many consumers now use their option to reject cookie tracking online as they find it a violation of their privacy. Industry leaders, Apple and Google, have already settled to exclude the use of third-party cookies on their browsers. With others following in the same direction, third-party cookies are quickly becoming obsolete, and we will soon be living in a cookieless world.

Creating Interaction

The pandemic showed that the digital world develops rapidly. Businesses must react quickly to stay ahead of the game and remain relevant. Digital created convenience throughout lockdown and an online-first approach has become the norm. As such, marketing teams have had to rapidly adapt to these changing consumer behaviours.

One solution to gathering consumer information is through zero- and first-party data collection, whereby consumers intentionally and proactively share their data with a brand (zero-party data), or the brand directly collects and owns that information (first-party data). This type of data collection can be achieved by engaging consumers directly through interactive content, one of the leading forerunners and leading solutions in the response to the incoming cookieless world. Interactive content transforms what could be seen as simple static information, into something that engages consumers and builds trust in brands. By utilising tools such as polls, quizzes and surveys, brands can introduce gamification to participants who sign up, sharing data and helping build long-term relationships. From here, brands can offer potential prizes which becomes a highly positive brand experience. Importantly, while brands are providing this engaging experience, they are also able to collect consented zero-party data.

Potential customers who are actively engaged with the content are more likely to create more genuine relationships with the brand. The benefit of this tactic is that it expands on the consumer journey and supports long-term customer loyalty by nurturing those relationships from the very beginning before they have even become a purchasing customer.

Developing Loyalty

According to research, 87% of customers want to have loyalty programs, but loyalty today is no longer what it used to be. While sales and transactions are important, modern brands must also develop loyalty through brand engagement and content consumption building bonds with consumers in their very first interaction before they have even considered purchasing a product.

Loyalty programmes allow brands to establish a more personalised experience and communication with customers because they are more willing to share data with brands in exchange. What’s more, loyal customers will generally think higher of a brand and its products or services, increasing the likelihood of them repeatedly buying from that brand. Therefore, building and enriching the relationship that consumers have with a brand by understanding what their expectations are is crucial.

Driving Long-Term Customer Relationships

Brands are now pushing boundaries, including loyalty programmes in their first- and zero-party data collection strategies through interactive marketing campaigns. Of these programmes, the most effective types are the ones that are not solely based on purchases. Rather, they leverage the interactions that a consumer has with a brand throughout their journey.

In doing this, brands can reach a wider audience, not only existing customers. Not only should these campaigns be designed to engage users, but reward them too, which in turn earns their trust and creates an immediate bond. Eventually, this will create loyal customers who spend more time on the brand, returning frequently to make more purchases.

However, the interactivity involved must have clear and simple rules and well-segmented and relevant levels that are easy to achieve, allowing for quick and easy ways of earning rewards. Otherwise, if they are too difficult, consumers are less likely to continue participating. Furthermore, a wide variety of rewards will always entice customers to want to engage with the interactive part of a loyalty programme.

The loyalty programmes that work are those that take consumers into account and not just their wallets. Would-be customers can very quickly develop long-term relationships with brands because they can see the value in being a return customer that is continually rewarded.

By combining interactive content - which creates immediate engagement with a brand - with a loyalty programme that rewards consumers before they have become purchasing customers, organisations will soon see a significant return on investment in their marketing efforts.

The Consumer Comes First

Interactive content has proven to be the key over the past few years when it comes to engaging consumers. Loyalty continues to change and following the pandemic, brands have had to adapt. Marketing campaigns need to be engaging and relevant in an online-first world. By combining this level of interactivity with first- and zero-party data collection, and highly rewarding loyalty programmes, brands are reaping significant rewards.

As marketing strategies continue to evolve, brands must recognise the need to continue adapting to consumer behaviour, appealing to them in the most engaging and effective ways, and offering them rewards that other brands cannot.