Loyalty. In some ways it is an-old fashioned word, since we are a multichannel, always-on, price sensitive population with a limited attention span. We constantly receive information, we consume media across multiple screens - on which we are encouraged to share - and we do all of this instantly.
Yet as consumers, we crave the personal from the companies and organisations that we engage with. We want to be treated well, rewarded and recognised for our loyalty. And yet, as a consumer, I am asked to do all the hard work. Register, understand how many points I have accumulated and work out what those points are for. I also have to ensure that I have the right card, in the right bag, in order to receive that loyalty and that offer. Which almost never happens.
For their part, businesses have much more complex needs than one-off sales or a single engagement. They want to market to a highly targeted consumer base, secure in the knowledge that their engagement is welcome. They want to encourage repeat purchase, build long-term trust and loyalty among new and existing customers, understand customer needs across differing channels and ultimately create broad and deep awareness of their brand.
It has been this way - a parallel universe between the consumer and business - for many years. But inevitable change is coming. Whilst adhering to the same principles, loyalty is moving into the 21st Century and brought to life through the ubiquitous device that is the smartphone. As consumers, we carry our phones with us every moment of our waking life, and there is a huge opportunity for brands to talk to a consumer in a way that is relevant, personal and, most importantly, useful in their daily lives.
This opportunity is not going unnoticed, and gradually the big players are lining up to see how they can be a part. This market should develop and grow at an exponential rate and is one of the reasons why Weve was created by EE, Telefonica UK (O2) and Vodafone UK to bring simplicity, scale and engagement to their customer base.
Weve has a vision that marketing on a mobile device will ultimately deliver advertising that the consumer really wants to see, is served in a place that is useful and relevant to them, and, if it includes promotions and vouchers, that it can be redeemed easily and then rewarded.
The consumer is already there; business has to catch up. Mobile will become more powerful - and it is up to companies and the advertising community to think about how they create, engage and reward. And how such a powerful concept can be reinvigorated, and the implications for brands in the future.