We’ve all heard the Starbucks/Amazon stories. But loyalty programs in B2B are criminally underutilized. In this episode, Rob Gallo, Founder and President of CompLinks, shares his experience running an online casino company—and what that taught him about how loyalty should be the backbone of any business.
Here’s what we’re covering in this article, based on Rob’s episode:
Why companies struggle with loyalty
How much thought should go into a loyalty program
Loyalty in the B2B space
How to earn 15 minutes on Rob’s calendar
Rob’s Acceleration Insight
Are you still seeing companies struggle with how to do loyalty?
Rob: The biggest issue is the definition of the word “loyalty.”
Customer loyalty typically relates to increasing usage from existing customers in your establishment. But loyalty goes way beyond points.
In my estimation, loyalty is more about the brand and the customer’s interaction and relationship with that brand, than anything else.
People have an affinity to the Apple brand. They want to do business with them. They have emotional loyalty to the brand.
Convenience is another form of loyalty. It’s convenient to use Google compared to other search engines. McDonald’s is convenient.
Then you have value. This is another form of loyalty. Southwest, Walmart … getting more bang for your buck.
There are many ways to look at loyalty, but it comes down to a relationship that a company has with their customers.
Do organizations need to hit a certain size before they think about loyalty programs or should it be part of their dealings from day one?
Rob: 25 years ago, it was, “Get it started, get it up and running.” Nowadays, with things just a click away, loyalty needs to be thought of as an engagement experience with your customers that transcends just your products and services and creates a relationship.
We live in a relationship economy right now. People will gravitate towards having relationships with brands they know and trust rather than just looking for the best price.
Rob: The example I use on the B2B side is Intel and AMD. Think about a chip that’s in your computer. Intel does commercials on television, which you would think are geared toward the consumer. But they’re (obviously) running those ads for a reason.
I think B2B can be leveraged as a way to build your brand in a way that other businesses would recognize and say, “I need to be a part of that.”
The reason Intel continues to advertise is so that when the consumer goes to make a purchase, he’s seeing that Intel brand at the checkout counter at Best Buy and he says, “I know that brand,” unlike AMD. It’s a B2B—to C—play.
What’s the most effective way for someone to earn 15 minutes on your calendar?
Rob: For me, I would give anyone the opportunity. I’ve been on the other side of the fence, and I know what it’s like to pound the pavement. I’ll give everyone that small window of opportunity. It might not be 15 minutes, but it might be a one-minute elevator pitch.
But for the average CEO who has not enough time on their hands to manage these sort of things, it needs to be compelling enough to move the needle. It’s the old, What’s in it for me? Does it lighten my workload? Does it help my workers achieve their objectives?
From an emotional standpoint, “Is this going to make a difference?” If it does, I’ll let it happen.
Acceleration Insight: One piece of advice for sales/marketing professionals
Rob: Get started.
Too many people I see have trepidation about their pitch having to be perfect. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your due diligence, but just get started and perfect as you go.