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Key Customer Loyalty Trends for 2011

In today’s crowded marketplace, creating loyal, engaged customers is more important — and more challenging — than ever.

“2011 may well have been called the year of customer loyalty”, says Mark Johnson, CEO of Loyalty 360, “That is why we are going to see a number of key trends unfold over the next year.”

Johnson predicts these key trends will dominate the Loyalty Marketing Industry in 2011:

Why QR Codes Are Poised to Hit the Mainstream

The QR code, or quick response code, is simply a two-dimensional bar code that came into being in 1994 and found a large audience in Japan. Stateside, however, QR codes — while clever for tying real-world objects to online content — have always remained on the outskirts of public awareness.

Nonetheless, we’ve seen QR codes employed for creative purposes. The Detroit Red Wings interactive programs and the giant QR codes in Times Square come to mind. Each of these serves as prime examples of how QR codes could be on the verge of their breakout moment.

10 Marketing Trends for 2011

As the global economy struggles to correct itself, and social-media marketing becomes a strategic imperative, small businesses will have exciting opportunities to expand in new directions this year.

The need for trust, value and brand transparency, among other trends from last year, are just as important today. But the current shift to geotargeting, mobile marketing and online reputation management require that small businesses modify their plans to surpass competitors.

Here are 10 marketing trends that small businesses should incorporate now to be positioned for success from the start.

7 Ways to Improve Your Blog SEO with Inbound Links

Are you looking for innovative ways to improve your search engine rankings?

In an earlier post I talked about the need to fully optimize your website and blog posts for search engines.

However, content optimization will only take you so far. For a website to really take off in the search engine rankings, it needs to generate incoming links from relevant and reputable websites. And you have little control of incoming links.

To increase the likelihood of obtaining high-quality incoming links, here are seven things you can do:

3 Ways to Close the Gap Between Social Media and Direct Response

Does the phrase direct marketer conjure up sleazy images? If you thought yes, you’re not alone.

Both social media marketing and direct response marketing place a focused pitch on the right list (prospects) and understanding what they want in order to engage them with relevant information that will get them to buy from you.

So why are social media and direct response considered mutually exclusive?

6 Simple Marketing Strategies to Increse Your Business

Marketing is the most common problem that people running or starting small businesses ask me about. Typically, they say something like, “I’ve placed some ads but they just don’t seem to be doing anything.” – in other words, not bringing them the customers, clients or sales they desire.

Marketing is More Than Advertising

But marketing and advertising are not synonymous and ‘placing a few ads’ is never going to draw the kind of business a small business needs to be successful. Marketing is a process, not an event. It involves planning marketing goals and implementing (often a series of) marketing strategies to achieve them.

The Loyal Customer

As I sit here and ponder how to help our client build a better loyalty program, I find myself asking the question: What is customer loyalty?  There are a lot of loyalty points and rewards programs out there that do produce results, but are they producing loyal customers? 

It’s an interesting question because it forces us to define exactly what a loyal customer looks like.  What are the demographics?  What are the buying patterns?  What is the customer lifetime value?  There are so many factors, and sometimes it can be overwhelming for the average marketer.  However, I believe there is a simple way to look at it. 

Take Action on Data

In a world of algorithms, linear models, and neural network models, multichannel merchants often ask the same question: Now that we have data on our customers, how can we use the information to improve response?

Marketers can easily get caught in a trap of collecting data from customers just for the sake of collecting data, says Tony Chivari, vice president of marketing for New York-based general merchandise mailer Spiegel. Then they sort through the collected data, review the findings, and wonder what to do with them.

Often that leads to merchants’ asking for personal information such as age during the checkout process. Such information might not necessarily help them improve their target marketing — and asking for it can lead to higher site abandonment rates.

Four Small Business Marketing Steps You Need to Put Into Check

Ohhhh la la pretty graphics, wonderful colors and everything aesthetic, but do your potential customers know what you are trying to say?

I think the biggest mistake we make in marketing is making everything so difficult for consumers to understand that they don’t get it. Literally. And if they don’t get it, they usually don’t feel compelled to act, buy, etc. … you see where I’m going with this.

Marketing is about informing consumers about your products and services and telling them why they should pick you over your competitor – it really is that simple.

Are you doing that? If you are not it’s time to really analyze your marketing strategy and evaluate the point you’re trying to get across.

The Secret Driver of Loyalty

When you think about it, why is anyone loyal to any consumer brand? I mean, after all, there are SO MANY of them. Choices galore. Why commit? Why not just go “for the gusto” and be a brand gigolo?

It’s not like you can even tell a lot of them apart any more. Most consumer brands have superficial differences and scant advantages over other alternatives in their categories. With all that commoditization out there, why pay retail? Stack up the Groupons, rise early on Black Friday, or wait ’til the last minute on Christmas Eve, and let ‘er rip!

With a few notable exceptions, hardly any brand innovates anymore to make even a small attempt at differentiating their offerings. Line extensions, minor product variations, flankers…*YAWN*.