Comprehensive analytics help customer loyalty programs evolve

By: Max Kenkel

What you need to know

  • Data and analytics fuel personalization and emotional connections between customers and brands. 
  • Increased internet privacy regulations impact marketing teams’ ability to personalize offers.
  • Omnichannel buying journeys require real-time insights into loyalty program performance.
  • An end-to-end customer loyalty provider has the technology solutions and analytics expertise to evolve a program.



collage of customer loyalty data

Loyalty program data is key to engaging a valuable customer base. Analytics inform good strategy. Good strategy fosters emotional connection. Emotional connections lead to lasting loyalty. 

While brands scramble to balance customers’ competing desires for personalization and privacy, accurate, timely consumer insights are necessary to convince customers: Yes, this offer is for you. 

Fail to do so and customers will dismiss the marketing message with the flick of a finger. Or, worse, they’ll unsubscribe out of irritation. Tapping into loyalty program performance data enables loyalty programs to fine-tune campaigns and capture more mindshare. 

The best customer loyalty programs get to know the habits and preferences of customer segments and then personalize offers to meet their needs. It's the difference between your favorite drive-through offering a generic Memorial Day discount and the brand issuing a personalized coupon for a free coffee (recommending the flavor you like) with the purchase of your favorite breakfast sandwich. 

download our white paper: maximize your customer loyalty with an End-to-end provider

71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, according to McKinsey’s Next in Personalization Report. And 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen. Personalization contextualizes the customer experience in a way that boosts value. (Get it right, and there’s a big ROI: The report indicates companies that excel at personalization generate 40% more revenue from those activities than average players.) 

Despite all the data you may have at your fingertips, differentiating what truly moves the needle is tough. 

  • Use a test-and-learn framework to overcome the uncertainty
  • Scope representative samples from your existing data
  • Try different tactics
  • Evaluate participant response
  • Use what worked best with a larger population

Once you uncover what works, you can identify personalized pockets of demand that drive your business and loyalty forward. 

However, the personal data that marketing teams rely on to create hyper-personalized offers is increasingly difficult to collect. Internet privacy regulations such as the EU’s GDPR and the phase-out of browser tracking cookies pose challenges to organizations. Partnering with an end-to-end (E2E) customer loyalty provider gives brands new ways to collect actionable zero-party data, enabling marketing teams to deliver on expectations—and even surprise and delight. 

Zero-party data supports personalization 

One of the benefits of working with an E2E customer loyalty provider is its ability to continuously evolve your program. The provider has the tools to source, segment and strategize around comprehensive data sets to better support the customer experience across their journey, in-store and online. 

Data sets come from a variety of sources (transactions, surveys, social media, etc.). With the right analytical expertise, data supports a long-term targeted customer activation strategy that delivers on brand objectives. Working in ITA Group’s Horizon platform, companies use cloud technology to dynamically personalize experiences, orchestrating multichannel messaging that connects on an emotional level. 

Some see zero-party data, personal information voluntarily shared directly by the customer, as the most powerful and actionable data. When it’s tied to a first-party customer profile, it’s especially useful for segmentation, personalization engines and product recommendation tools. This is particularly important for brands that experience high churn among new members. Quit the guesswork and anchor to a platform that makes providing zero-party data fun and rewarding.

Use gamified quizzes at key touchpoints to learn more about your customers’ desires and boost the value of your brand’s offerings. (The capability to analyze missions and trips is how that drive-through will know just what breakfast order to push in a future ultra-targeted promotion.)

Related: Collecting zero-party data is increasingly necessary as customers become more protective of their data. Learn how zero-party data can improve your customer experience.

Real-time insights help brands deliver the right offer at the right time to the right person. When customers take a break from logging breakfast sandwiches in your loyalty app, an optimized program will lure them back to their favorite bacon, egg and cheese order.

Loyalty program analytics fuel optimization

E2E providers go beyond data tracking to provide strategic insights that help brands make informed decisions and program enhancements. Your analysis architecture should support both quick-hit and methodical reviews. A self-serve view that offers snapshot insights, like how last week’s campaign compares to this week's, supports immediate updates. Deep levels of statistical inferences can anchor other strategic shifts. For example, reporting can show whether your 3% lift is meaningful in the broader context of a year’s worth of promotions.

This encompasses:     

  • Measurement plans and approaches to metrics
  • Expertise in creating overarching goals, KPIs and milestones 
  • Comprehensive loyalty and financial reporting (self-service), and alerts on declining engagement
  • Ad hoc reporting and push reports to downstream teams with recommended actions
  • Customer dashboards for stakeholders to track the real-time performance of the program
  • ROI/ROMI analysis
  • Surveying capabilities plus the ability to upload external survey data 
  • Integration with sentiment tracking tools

Optimized offers can get much more sophisticated than a bespoke breakfast bagel sandwich, leading to lasting results. 

For instance, a building supply brand needed to activate contractor customers. Leaders wanted to grow market share and increase customer lifetime value among nearly 600 retail stores in more than 40 states. Lacking the expertise needed to pull off a program on its own, the brand turned to an E2E customer loyalty provider to take them from strategy through implementation and ongoing program management.  

An expertly designed customer loyalty program helped them target audience segments primed for purchase. Data analysis allowed their consultive partner to recommend ideal customers retailers should target, as well as associated individual goals, personalized award offerings and projected ROI, ensuring a truly turnkey program with built-in flexibility. 

That loyalty program boasts more than a decade of year-over-year success that creates value for all stakeholders. Retailers build relationships, increasing sales and benefiting from a risk-free customer incentive. Sponsoring manufacturers enhance brand awareness, secure data they wouldn’t otherwise have access to and generate additional revenue through strategic promotions. And customers reap rewards that matter to them. 

Related: Read more about how the building supplier saw a 447% average program ROI over the life of the program and 187% greater purchases by targeted vs. non-targeted customers.

These returns are only realized as the result of a comprehensive, E2E approach that incorporates strategic insights into every component of program design and execution. 

Revamping your customer loyalty solution or starting from scratch? Download our E2E whitepaper to learn how to capture the benefits of a full-service partnership.

Note: This article is part four of a six-part series on the key components of a successful customer loyalty program and how an end-to-end (E2E) partner can deliver all six for a cohesive customer experience. Explore the other five components: 


download our white paper: maximize your customer loyalty program with an end-to-end provider
Max Kenkel
Max Kenkel

As Customer Solutions Manager, Max leads our Customer Solutions line, ensuring all six components of a successful loyalty program deliver for our clients. With more than ten years of experience in strategy across customer, channel and employee loyalty programs, he’s seen a lot. You’ll often hear him talk about how important data is to brands. In his words, “It’s easy to make decisions on intuition, but it’s a lot easier to justify to shareholders when you can back it up with data.” Beyond his professional passions, Max plays bass in a pop punk band, visits as many national parks as he can and is an aspiring poet, publishing his first book in 2023.