It is interesting to note there are several aspects of B2C marketing which is slowly becoming mainstream even in B2B marketing initiatives but one intervention which does not translate easily are customer loyalty programs
Customer Loyalty Programs in the B2C scenario is pretty straight forward, you create a loyalty card for customer, provide price discounts or special privileges for increased volumes / purchases. The value proposition is simple to design and communicate to customers.
The same does not hold true in B2B situations; some of the reasons set out below
- Although relationships between organizations; finally the decision making is a personal choices & disposition of small subset of decision makers so the design of loyalty programs needs to address expectations from CXO/Senior leadership as well as Operating level stakeholders
- Personal gifts and benefits which could be construed as “malpractices” unlike in B2C scenarios where you could give out freebies like iPads or holidays to encourage purchases.
- Most bids are competitive where the role of customer procurement teams already play an adversarial role of driving down the price so price discounts cannot be the lever to drive customer loyalty programs
Some of initiatives which can be used to drive customer loyalty programs include:-
- Annual Customer Meets – Programs to discuss the firm’s road map, key business and technology priorities and showcasing marquee customers & engagements
- Improve the ease of doing business – Most firms have due-diligence and paper work for first time customers, firms should look at simplifying the ways of doing work for repeat / strategic customers
- Provide differentiated services for Key Customers – Communicate list of special privileges offered to the customers and ensure delivery of differentiated services
- Access to Special Events (Industry / Innovation Summits) – Conduct Customer Events or sponsor delegates of key customer stakeholders for key industry levels
- Customer Advisory Council – Participate or set up customer advisory council to involve select customers to building joint road-maps to strengthen partnerships
B2B Loyalty Programs requires more deliberation which clearly goes beyond pricing benefits which needs to be tailored to key customers’ stakeholders via a focused Account Based Marketing as a strategic initiative.