We spent the past two weeks in Peru and had a great chance to go back in customer experience time. For people accustomed to shopping, traveling and searching for information (often while shopping and traveling), Peru was a stark contrast to what we have in our constantly connected, information-enriched and very loyalty-driven world in the U.S. That didn’t necessarily make the experience less than enjoyable, but it put obstacles in the way of having a great experience. For the brands that served us, it represented an enormous amount of opportunity wasted.
A Great Reminder
Peru was a very valuable reminder of the power of well-executed loyalty programs. In the hectic day-to-day of running a brand’s marketing, it can be easy to forget the value of knowing your customer’s preferences and history, paying attention to the context of the moment, and communicating across the best channel and at the best moment possible for the right effect.
Without these considerations, a brand is no different than the swarm of taxi drivers at the Lima airport, each shouting to get attention, indifferent to the needs or circumstances of the traveler. Without knowing their customer, a brand is like the undifferentiated shops near Machu Picchu advertising tours with the ubiquitous “English spoken here” enticement.
Marketing Has Changed
Marketing has changed drastically in the places where the leading edge technologies are in use. Thanks to technology like integrated loyalty platforms, brands have been given permission to know where their customers have traveled with the brand and can figure out when and where they’re likely to make decisions to buy in the future. They can watch for the conditions that are favorable to communicate with their customer and send the messages most likely to get the intended response.
Peru was a great reminder that marketing today is a different game than it was just a few years ago. It was a great reminder that transactions aren’t nearly the same as customer engagement.
This post was first published on the Loyalty Lab Blog and has been lightly edited.