500FRIENDS BLOG
Loyalty trends & best practices

An Open Letter to Future Team Members

by Justin Yoshimura
October 25, 2012

Dear Future Members of the 500friends Team, first and foremost, I recognize that despite record-high unemployment rates--still 10.2% in CA, where 500friends is HQ'ed--start-ups and established corporations alike are at "war" for talent, especially in engineering, but also in design, sales, marketing, business development, account management, strategy, etc. Not to mention, the competition for this limited talent pool is further exacerbated by the fact that you "A players/badasses" have a plethora of options, ranging from the Googles of the world to joining another VC funded start-up to founding a gamified social local mobile iPhone app on their own (hopefully not the latter). So, why should you join our team, since everyone has cool offices, pays well, offers stock options, and catered lunches?... Read more

2 Top Steps to More Profit from Your Best Customers

by Matt Ellinwood
October 25, 2012

Tim Suther, the CMO of Acxiom, recently wrote in Ad Age about the keys to and benefits of customer centricity. This caught our eye, because loyalty programs must be customer centric in order to drive lifetime value and profitability. Mr. Suther calls out two critical steps that a marketing organization must follow in order to reap maximum benefit... Read more

3 Quick Reminders for Retail Email Marketers

by Matt Ellinwood
October 17, 2012

A recent flurry of research reports and news stories about retailers' success with email marketing campaigns is a great reminder of the importance of this "old" technology and its effectiveness at driving engagement with your customer base. At 500friends, we are believers in email marketing as an engagement, advocacy, and promotional vehicle, and email is deeply embedded into LoyaltyPlus' functionality. Email is a critical component of keeping in touch with your loyal customer base, communicating the value of your loyalty program, and sharing great offers to drive repeat business--all fundamental to driving increased lifetime value.... Read more

Put Data about Social Engagement in the Right Context

by Matt Ellinwood
October 10, 2012

Last week, Internet Retailer published an article called Consumers Seek Discounts that summarizes the data in a report on consumer purchasing habits and social media put out by Hybris, an eCommerce technology provider. The results of the survey lead, at first glance, to the conclusion that social media engagement has an extremely weak effect on purchase behavior and that the effect it does have is not optimal. For example, the survey found the primary reasons for engaging on Facebook and Twitter to be keeping up with discounts and sales--hardly the ideal way for a retailer win more profitable business from customers who should be among their most engaged and valuable. 500friends has some insight on this point--we've seen the same phenomenon. In fact, upon inspecting the Social Dashboards for our clients, we found a case where a retailer's worst customers, i.e., their least profitable... Read more

Grow Your Customer Lifetime Value With The 36 Rules of Social Media Plus This One

by Tiffany Go
October 08, 2012

Fast Company published an infographic featuring The 36 Rules of Social Media from "social media’s savviest users". This is an excellent resource for businesses interested in improving customer experience and building loyalty. We picked three of the most useful tips for retailers and as an added bonus included a rule no social strategy is complete without.... Read more

Want Loyal Customers? Give Gamification A Try.

by Tiffany Go
October 03, 2012

With the market predicted to grow to $2.8 billion* by 2016, gamification is proving to be much more than just another buzzword. In this MarketingProfs article, Darren Steele references a Bain & Co. study that revealed acquiring new customers is six to seven times more expensive than retaining existing customers. The numbers make a pretty compelling case for focusing efforts on building customer loyalty. Steele encourages applying game strategies to create better customer experiences. He also succinctly explains why gamified marketing is effective, crediting “intrinsic motivators” that when used correctly “can be that missing link that keeps existing customers engaged while also bringing new customers into the fold.”.... Read more

Google Shopping Rollout Another Example of Increasing Acquisition Costs

by Matt Ellinwood
September 18, 2012

An excellent post earlier this month on Internet Retailer captured the magnitude of the changes occurring as Google transitions from the method for listing products that's been in place since about 2002 to their new product, called Google Shopping. As the article details, retailers have already seen significant declines in the number of free clicks that Google's product search is sending them. For growing retailers with limited budgets, this is an especially painful hit to growth, as it translates directly to an increase in the cost of customer acquisition, regardless of whether they choose to invest in paid product listings or not. Google's action is part of a larger Google product trend. For the past several years... Read more

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