The Soft Side of Loyalty Remains on Solid Ground

Jan 8, 2013

We’ve all heard the expression “soft sell.” You know, the more subtle, indirect product push. Perhaps a demonstration of a gadget’s usefulness rather than a direct discount. But what about the loyalty soft sell?

Soft sell, loyalty, social mediaLast year we wrote extensively about how social media is remaking loyalty and customer reward programs and about how a points only accrual model is, if not broken outright, antiquated in the extreme. It also is not  ready to handle the realities of 2013 rewards mobility and omnichannel crossover. Part II of our four-part end-of-year predictions blog series even highlighted the importance of the soft sell and the role that social media will play in delivering it.  Now, Christopher Hosford, writing for BtoB magazine, has driven home the point and we’re proud to sing his praise.

A recent study confirms that 85% of customers are happy when brands respond to their public comments via social media. We’re not talking about free night stays, points to convert for cash or even discounted online shopping outlets. The “soft sell” or the videogame-inspired recognition that people crave is alive and very well.

Naturally soft-sell engagement is a cost-effective way to ultimately use point accrual for more tangible rewards further on in the customer lifecycle. It’ll be interesting to see how soft and hard rewards partner in the year ahead, improving loyalty management.

You know we’ll be watching – and writing.