Over the past year-and-a-half, I’ve seen a surge of loyalty programs in the marketplace. And it’s not just existing programs expanding into emerging channels or revamping their reward mix. Industries that typically shied away from loyalty programs, like utilities, media and insurance, are jumping on the bandwagon. But although marketers understand that value of identifying, retaining, and improving relationship with their best customers, their execution usually doesn’t lead to lasting loyalty. Loyalty programs largely revolve around financial incentives that drive spikes in short-term behavior but don’t necessarily establish deeper or long-term customer relationships.

To add to that challenge, consumers see declining value in the programs that exist in the marketplace, and if marketers want to develop better relationships with their best consumers, their programs need more differentiation. And that’s where customer intelligence comes in. Loyalty programs generate a lot of customer data that often goes unused. Customer intelligence helps marketers create customer insights that improve their strategy and programs through targeting and segmentation, and customized offers. To assist marketers in applying customer intelligence and evolving their customer loyalty strategies, I’m excited to introduce Forrester’s Customer Loyalty Playbook.

The Customer Loyalty Playbook lays out the path to help you establish the right framework and mature your practices around executing loyalty programs that drive long-term customer engagement and incremental value. It contains twelve reports, focusing on four key phases:

1.       Discover the potential of intelligent loyalty. The first set of reports introduces the link between customer intelligence and customer loyalty and addresses the loyalty landscape from a consumer perspective.

2.       Plan for intelligence-driven loyalty. The second set of reports allows you to assess where they currently stand and build a strategic plan and road map in preparation for intelligent loyalty.

3.       Act on your elevated loyalty strategy. This portion of the playbook focuses on executing an intelligence loyalty strategy from the inside of the organization out — including the organization, processes, vendors, and member experience facilitated by the loyalty program.

4.       Optimize your loyalty program performance. Finally, we’ve included a set of reports to help you identify and improve the value of your loyalty programs. These include a framework for measuring incremental value as well as industry best practices that draw on case studies about companies such as Progressive Insurance and SCENE.

Our goal with this playbook is to give you the guidance you need to evolve your existing customer loyalty practices. The Customer Loyalty Playbook is a living tool that will be refreshed, added to, and updated as the loyalty program market shifts and changes. To that end, I’m still working on research reports to help you with your loyalty business case, strategic plan, and road map. To get started right now, I suggest reading the executive overview, which sets the stage for the entire playbook and will help you identify how and where you can gain the most benefit.