B2B International
B2B International

March 21, 2007

Today we have a very interesting article taken from B2B Marketing, it discuses issues how B2B loyalty providers must hone their offerings. Here at B2B International a third of all market research commissioned with our company is customer satisfaction and customer loyalty research. To learn more about how we can help you win and maintain customers for life visit B2B International Customer Satisfaction.

B2B Loyalty providers must hone their offerings

Maintaining customer loyalty is an increasingly important part of most B2B marketer’s jobs, yet many practitioners are ignoring the opportunity presented by B2C-style dedicated loyalty programmes. This is according to new research by B2B Marketing in association with nectar for business, which found that whilst 80 per cent of practitioners describe customer loyalty as ‘critical’ or ‘very important’ only 20 per cent have actually utilised formal loyalty programmes (see figure 1).

The results suggest that cost or pricing of such dedicated programmes is not a major factor in many B2B marketers’ decision not to utilise them as it was cited by only 14 per cent of respondents. Indeed, the sums being invested in loyalty are significant: the majority (70 per cent) spend at least 10 per cent of their budget on loyalty initiatives.

By contrast, ‘rewards not appropriate to my customers’ was identified as the largest single reason for not using formal loyalty programmes, selected by 40 per cent of respondents. This suggests that programme providers have more work to do to tailor activity and rewards to specific audiences in particular. Nectar for Business, for example, which is the largest programme focused on the B2B space, is mostly targeted around the need of SME members, rather than those in large corporate, and its proposition is designed accordingly.

Broad Interest
Although uptake of loyalty programmes in B2B is not yet widespread, marketers remain broadly open-minded about them. When asked if they believe there is a place for loyalty/incentives programmes in B2B (figure 2). The largest group – just under half – replied with an unqualified ‘yes’, whilst the second largest segment suggested they were relevant ‘but not in my market’. Of the remainder, a further quarter said they were ‘not sure’ whilst only three per cent said ‘no’ outright.

Of those companies not currently using loyalty programmes, 14 per cent said they were ‘currently investigating opportunities’.

Again, the onus would seem to be on the loyalty providers to understand and cater for specific needs of these marketers, and this would seem to be borne out by further results, which demonstrate ‘ability to customise’ and ‘reward/redemption opportunities’, which are the two most significant factors in companies’ selection of a loyalty programme. Ease of operation was next in line, with 21 per cent, whilst ‘strength of brand’ only attracted 13 per cent.

This is reflected in the question regarding choice of loyalty programme, with ‘inhouse programme’ providing the most popular provider (45 per cent) and ‘gift vouchers’ coming second (27 per cent).