In our last post we talked about three key priorities when launching a loyalty program. But is there anything you shouldn’t focus on in the early weeks of launch?
Today we share three things that can wait. Make no mistake – the next three things are important. It’s just that they probably don’t need to be the focus right at the start.
1.Acquiring new members
It would seem like acquiring new members should be a top priority when launching something new. But more important is to get the experience right. Once you have worked out the initial glitches and you know the experience will be great, that is the time to pour some extra fuel on the program by trying to acquire as many customers as possible. I used to work with an executive who would say, “Let’s make sure our house is tidy before we invite people over.” This is never more true than when launching a new customer initiative.
2. Optimize the investment
Let’s be honest. The reason you are launching this new loyalty program isn’t because you are such a nice guy. You are running a business, and you want to drive sales. Fine-tuning the program to maximize incremental sales is a great objective. It is just not an objective for week one. First priority should be to give customers a great experience that will keep them coming back. There will be plenty of time later – once you have a massive and engaged customer base – to optimize the investment. Besides, the truth is that the customer behaviour in those early days has not yet settled into its normal patterns. Try to calculate the optimal program economics too soon, and you might not even be working with the right data.
3. Advanced features
There is always another great idea, another bell or whistle, another great feature you can add. Once again, put them on the shelf. Launch with the basics and make sure your execution is rock solid. Not only will holding off on advanced features make you your focus is on the essentials in the early days. It will also mean you can bring out something new and exciting a few months down the road, once customers have settled in and the program is starting to feel routine.
All six of the elements listed in this post and our previous one, are important. But each will take a major investment of your time and energy.
You can do it all. You just need to get the sequence right. You will be glad you did.