While the term “coalition loyalty program” may sound a bit complicated, the concept itself is actually fairly simple. Coalition loyalty programs are simply multiple businesses coming together to participate in a single loyalty program. The idea isn’t new; in fact, it could be argued that one of the first widespread loyalty programs, the S&H Green Stamp initiative, was predicated on the concept of coalition loyalty. Since then, the benefits of community loyalty programs have been well documented, and programs across the globe have been designed to engage consumers across a variety of businesses. At the end of the day, consumers are more likely to get involved in a loyalty program that represents a greater breadth of businesses.
If you want to create a loyalty program that drives customer engagement to its highest levels, then coalition loyalty might be for you. Here are four things to consider as you create a coalition loyalty program.
1. Choose a party to assume responsibility for the program.
The first step in creating a coalition loyalty program is delegating a party to assume responsibility for its implementation and success.
The practical truth is that a coalition loyalty program requires that some party assume responsibility for the program. Whether this entails enlisting the help of an outside party such as an agency, creating a committee to represent the participants, or even assigning responsibility to a leading business, you’ll need a clearly designated authority to monitor and oversee the program. Having someone in charge will make it possible to maintain cohesiveness and customer engagement across the program.
2. Find the right community of businesses.
Once you have an organization to oversee the program, the next step will be in getting the right participants on board.
The value of a coalition loyalty programs is heavily dependent upon getting the right community of businesses involved. The multiple businesses must complement each other, both in terms of business offering and in terms of customer bases. For instance, it wouldn’t make sense to have a program focused around discount or economy businesses and include a lone luxury brand in the mix.
The ultimate goal, of course, is to form a community that drives engagement in the program better than any of the participating businesses could alone.
To choose businesses that complement each other, identify a common thread that will unite the community. This could be brand personality or identity, price of products or services, or even geographic location. A common thread will link the program in a way that makes it appear cohesive to consumers. The more sensible and useful a program is, the more engagement it will attract.
3. Choose a flexible platform that works for everyone.
Thirdly, a coalition loyalty program should operate with a flexible system that works for everyone. Frankly, this can be the most difficult aspect to construct correctly. It’s likely that the business models of participants differ substantially; an airline’s loyal customers may not behave in the same ways as a grocery store’s loyal customers. Because of this, the best coalition loyalty programs function on platforms that are flexible and can be customized to fit all participants.
Loyalty cards can be an adaptable platform, but it can help to have a dynamic user interface such as a mobile loyalty app that can be further customized to each business. A customizable loyalty app like LoyalTap gives participating businesses the ability to craft rewards and relate to users on their own terms.
4. Market the community.
Once you’ve chosen the platform, you’ll need to position your coalition loyalty program in a way that gets the attention of your customers. The great thing about coalition loyalty is that, when all participating businesses market the program well, customer engagement naturally follows. Make sure, though, that every participant is involved in the marketing effort; it will reflect poorly on the program and result in customer confusion if some businesses promote it heavily while others neglect to mention it to their customers at all – and it’s unlikely that every participant will know exactly how to market a loyalty program. The organization responsible for the program will need to play a role in coordinating marketing efforts across businesses. The more touch points a customer has with the program, the more likely they are to use it.
At the end of the day, you’re marketing a coalition loyalty program – so focus on marketing the concept of community. Emphasize the breadth of rewards available, and point out the common thread that ties everyone together.
5. Coordinate continuing growth.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations – your coalition loyalty program is up and running!
In order to sustain growth and value, you’ll need to closely monitor the successes and failures of the program. One of the best parts of coalition loyalty programs is that participants can share knowledge across the program to reach even higher levels of success. The organization responsible for overseeing the program should also keep tabs on every participant, noting which rewards are working and which are falling flat.
Keep your program fresh by adding new businesses and offering new rewards. If the program becomes stagnant, your customers will lose interest.
With so much to offer, coalition loyalty program can be an incredible way to create customer loyalty for a wide range of businesses.
If you’re interested in creating a coalition loyalty program that takes advantage of community loyalty, get in touch with us today. At LoyalTap, we offer white label loyalty app solutions that are designed specifically to create coalition loyalty. Find out how coalition loyalty could work for you with our Community Loyalty Checklist.