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How can you be successful without first defining success?


We’re way beyond the point where the world debates whether customer loyalty marketing works, which makes it a good example of a broader theme.  When we think about customer loyalty’s broad goals, whether the focus is on retention or brand affinity, investments in customer loyalty have shown repeatedly to provide a very strong return. So everyone is measuring that success, right? No. Not at all.

What Are Your Goals?

The idea that customer loyalty works may seem obvious to some, but many sophisticated loyalty programs in place today lack clarity and fail to answer the simple question, “When we look back a year from now, what will have happened to say we achieved success?” This is common in places well beyond customer loyalty.

Without a clear definition of customer loyalty success, there is real risk that great, successful programs will be undervalued and underfunded, and—even worse—that programs with poor success rates will continue, wasting valuable and often scarce resources. Success needs to be defined through clear planning and objective measures, meaning the only guarantee of success is through clarity of both purpose and intended outcome.

Have You Defined Success?

Having a good definition of success—whether the goal is retention, shopping frequency, preventing high-value customer erosion, basket size increase, or another target—is foundational to every aspect of being successful. Know your problem clearly and choose a definition of success that directly addresses the issues or goals you’ve chosen.

This was first posted on the Loyalty Lab blog and has been lightly edited.


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