You have heard this from your significant other. It’s the different between the playoffs and the title, a good education, and a raise. Yet marketers somehow forget it. I am speaking of course, about proper communications. They are the centerpiece of your personal relationships, and the vortex of any good loyalty program. And no matter how good you think you are at it, there is always room for improvement.

In a recent post,  I delved into gamification of  loyalty and in the midst of illustrating how real-time, location based, rewards platforms are often better suited than traditional loyalty programs,  I only gave proper communications passing reference- even though effective communications is and will always be the driving subtext of any loyalty program.

So, how does one do it most effectively? First eliminate the three most common failures.

Over Communication:  Here loyalty marketers actually bet their audience to death with an endless series of email blasts that are clearly one size fits all.  The loyalty program member knows this, and therefore tends to shut them out.  The inherent danger in this is that the same member has a higher probability of missing your key messaging when you do happen to make it. If you are over communicating, you will see your open rate go down, even among your most loyal fans.  If you are sending out more than two emails per week, without regard to content differentiation, there is a high likelihood that you fall into this camp.

Under Communication:  At the other end of the spectrum, some loyalty marketers are so fearful of the dreaded unsubscribe that they under communicate, rarely sending out information, choosing instead to wait until there is “really big news.”  The danger here is losing mind share, where your members do not have your program top of mind, and are not being led down the path that your program has been designed for.

Miscommunication:  Even if you get the cadence right, everyone runs a huge risk of miscommunicating.  I know that tailored content is hard work, but people have joined your loyalty program for different reasons.  Every program that I have looked at has at least 3 but more likely 7 or 8 unique personas, behaviorally similar groups of people that are there for a specific purpose.  Whether that is to earn points for specific products or services, or receive unique member benefits, or achieve certain levels in a game, loyalty marketers must unlock these personas with statistics and tailor communications to each one.

The Simple Truth: All loyalty programs need to do one thing well with regard to communication, and that is to continually (within proper reason!) remind members of why they are in the program, what the value of the program is to them (especially if it is a paid program) and remind them of key dates (expirations, etc) to keep them engaged with and using the program.

Am I missing one, have more simple truths? Email me bfetter (at)