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BEST PRACTICE: Customer loyalty programmes

First impressions might be that customer loyalty programmes have come a long way since the days of exchanging points on credit cards for obscure kitchenware. Tesco Clubcard is one of the best examples of how far the discipline has come in the consumer world, with its use of a key-fob, tailored promotions and clever integration with its successful website (so that doing the weekly shop is now but a three-click exercise).

Tesco's success is down to what it does with its data, not so much in a marketing sense, but from a customer service perspective. Not only do most people hate treking to supermarkets in their precious free time, they also resent repeating time-consuming activities. For many, the appeal of the Tesco Clubcard is not so much the ability to redeem points against something they really want, it's because Tesco strips down the shopping experience to something vaguely tolerable. It is using the data to help its customers in more than a discount-driven way. It is saving them time as well as money.

Yet in the business world, customer loyalty schemes are still playing catch-up and many marketers have failed to appreciate that B2B customers' buying priorities are more complicated.