Do It Yourself?
One of the greatest ironies about Loyalty Marketing is how people continually oversimplify the space.
Among numerous industry sizing studies, it has been pointed out more than once that the biggest “competitor” in the industry is the option to “do it yourself”. In other words, many companies still make the choice to design their own program, create their own software to process transactions, and manage their own promotional currency banks.
On the surface, it seems an easy task. After all, every business person is a consumer. The saturation of rewards programs in the U.S. means we all have well-developed bias towards reward programs in the market. Everyone has their favorites as well as their pet peeves. It is this familiarity with loyalty programs that breeds a dangerous comfort level with designing our own programs to meet our business needs.
In my personal life, I choose to enlist the services of professionals to help in a number of areas. I’ll accept the services of a tax accountant, real estate brokers, and physical trainers to make sure that my individual needs are met. It’s a safer bet that yields better results.
In my business life, I also advocate for professional help. I may spend a lot of time on the internet, but that doesn’t make me an SEO expert. Though I like to write, I still hire copywriters to help to create content for our advertising material. I can balance a checkbook, but we still use the services of outside professionals for accounting to bring efficiency to our business.
In the end, I suppose I’m admitting that I am expert at some things (in this case, loyalty marketing) and only have so much time in the day. Therefore, I’m pleased to ask for help in specialty areas to help run the business and moderate risk.
Take this line of thinking to another level. Loyalty programs are integral to deliver a value proposition that should change behavior across your most important customer groups. The messaging in loyalty communications is both complementary and supportive to our client’s core brand message. The financial liability that can be created by operating a loyalty program over several years can run into the millions of dollars.
Why then would you want to “do it yourself”?
One of the most uncomfortable conversations a person in a business development role can have with a potential client is discussing the DIY issue regarding loyalty software. Over the years, we have seen many companies decide to build their own operating software. Most of these projects have not turned out well.
It’s not because people weren’t determined enough, smart enough, or backed by sufficient resources. Failure in DIY projects comes from the fact that you already have a business to run. You’re the best at selling widgets or providing services, and companies like Kobie Marketing are the best at providing you guidance and operational support for your customer marketing efforts.
The stakes are rising, as companies which have digested multiple enterprise software implementations are now consumed with rationalizing Social CRM. In addition, most are struggling to understand how to incorporate location based marketing and social networks into their customer offerings and deciding whether to “gamify” their promotional efforts. It’s all very time consuming, not to mention fraught with risk and reward.
I recently read that Fred Reichheld’s original theories about Loyalty Marketing boiled down to the Golden Rule. Kobie wants to extend that same courtesy to you. If you are in the midst of evaluating a build versus buy decision for loyalty strategy, software, or operations, give us a call and allow us the opportunity to put all the information on the table for discussion.
We’ll help you to make the best decision available for your business, wherever that path may lead.
Author: Bram Hechtkopf
Bram leads the “marketing of Kobie Marketing.” He consults with current and prospective clients on new business opportunities, helping to develop customer retention and loyalty marketing strategies and solutions that drive increased retention and spend. Following in the footsteps of his father, Kobie’s founder, Bram is eager to continue Kobie’s vision of technology and data analytics as enablers of leading-edge marketing executions for world-class customer loyalty initiatives. Bram has consulted with a wide array of leading brands including AMC Entertainment, TGI Friday’s, BJ’s Restaurants, Verizon, Bank of America, RBC, Flagstar Bank, JPMC, Sagicor, Coca-Cola, Cox Enterprises, Ruby Tuesday, Hawaiian Airlines, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Prior to Kobie, Bram worked with the Human Capital Transaction Advisory Services practice for Ernst & Young, LLP, where he developed and presented analyses and recommendations on executive incentive and equity plan design and due diligence findings to senior management and the Board of Directors of Fortune 1000 clients. Prior to Ernst & Young, Bram worked with Towers Perrin in Manhattan as a consultant specializing in incentive plan design for executives and sales forces. Bram received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree with honors from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University with a concentration in Marketing and Information Technology.