What is Customer Loyalty?

sessionm Apr. 24, 2014

What does loyalty really mean?

We ask this question (and get asked it) at SessionM a lot, because it’s our business and because the word loyalty seems to mean different things to different people.

To some it means frequent flier-type programs. Most of us have chosen an awkward flight for the sake of getting miles on “our” airline. But it may not feel so much like loyalty if the dates are blacked out when you go to use your miles. There’s more that loyalty can be.

There’s loyalty to your old school, which is a sort of nostalgia, and the loyalty of your labrador retriever, which is one of a kind. Some think of loyalty in purely commercial terms: as a form of CRM, lead generation or direct marketing.

None of these quite matches loyalty as we think of it and build it at SessionM. We think loyalty is, very simply, the essential ingredient in the future of apps, ads and mobile brand engagement.

Here’s why: the smartphone is a much more intimate device than anything in the history of technology. We carry it everywhere, use it constantly, sleep with it at the bedside. The relationship is immersive. And nothing is going to succeed on that device unless it can join in that relationship and add to it.

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That’s where loyalty comes in. Loyalty is the win-win path. Everyone brings value and everyone gets value — publisher, advertiser and consumer alike. Loyalty turns what used to be an ad impression or a transaction into an inflection point that deepens a relationship.

Loyalty is consumer-driven.

Loyalty is intimate and emotional.

Loyalty is valuable for everyone, and that’s what makes it fun.

Over the next few weeks and months on this blog we’ll be doing a series of posts about loyalty. We’ll hear from consumers, publishers and advertisers about what loyalty means to them, and we’ll look more deeply into how SessionM defines loyalty and how we work to create it. We’ll look into why loyalty has such a special power to unlock the potential of mobile engagement. There will be success stories, too, like our recent chat with Fred Kirsch of the New England Patriots.

Next week, we’ll take a look at loyalty from the consumer side. We asked 2000 mobile app users what loyalty means to them and how it affects their relationship with brands. Their answers were surprisingly frank. Stay tuned.

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