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Winning Loyalty in a Digital-First Reality

By Jamie Samaha, Senior Vice President, Loyalty & Engagement and Kyle Clark, Vice President, Global Head of Rewards

We're moving into the world of digital natives: a new reality where more and more consumers have been raised in an internet environment saturated with media. Among the many challenges these changes have brought, customer engagement is among the most pressing. There are two critical opposing forces affecting customer loyalty among digital natives:

  1. Attention spans are declining: Companies like Amazon and Snapchat are feeding the consumer demand for everything to happen in real-time. One research study showed that average attention spans have dropped by 30%, in part due to constant stimulus from our phones and computers.

  2. Advertising is proliferating: According to Forbes, the average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day.

These changes have forced brands to rethink how they can break through the noise and more meaningfully communicate with their customer base. Because acquiring new customers is expensive, it's vital for businesses to do everything they can to avoid churn. By one metric, up to 40% of an organization's revenue can be attributed to repeat customers.

The challenge is how to keep those customers coming back when their time and attention is limited.

Effectiveness of Personalization

Adapting to Digital Natives

It’s clear that offering disjointed experiences is increasingly unacceptable because time is such a limited resource for today’s consumers. In fact, 50% of respondents in one study said they switched companies they buy from due to a poor customer experience. Brands that fail to provide personalized experiences and instant gratification will simply lose out to competitors that are checking those boxes. So how can you win—and maintain—customers’ loyalty and attention in this new landscape? The answer lies in personalization, seamless design and digital-first solutions.

Companies are quickly becoming aware of the need to go a step further. A Mastercard-sponsored Harvard Business Review study recently found that 81 percent of respondents believe personalization will be an important profit driver by 2020, and 90 percent said that customers now expect organizations to anticipate their needs.

It's no longer enough to offer customers a list of rewards and hope they will like one. Rewards and offers need to engage customers on an emotional level as well as a transactional one. That means designing more contextual loyalty strategies that will fit right into each customer’s unique lifestyle. The brands who best leverage predictive analytics and break down data siloes will win out.

Lastly, putting digital at the center of every offering will allow you to better engage today's consumers on all levels. Digital-first consumers are used to doing everything online, wherever they are in the world. Delivering seamless, connected experiences across every touchpoint is now table-stakes for a successful business.

Enable Consumers to Engage on Their Own Terms

In order to break through the noise, you need to focus on enabling consumers to engage on their own terms, not on yours. This not only requires a richer understanding of which rewards each customer segment desires, but also a suite of seamless solutions that appeal to digital natives who are accustomed to having all the information they need at their fingertips.

Ask Jamie Samaha and Kyle Clark

Questions on this article? Reach out to Jamie Samaha and Kyle Clark to learn more about winning with digital natives.

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