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  • Writer's pictureInteractive Rewards

How To Improve Your Data Literacy To Drive Customer Loyalty Programs

Updated: Feb 14

Data literacy has become the modern marketer’s superpower. Countless case studies show the benefits and rewards of data-driven marketing. The Economist survey also found that 36% of company leaders saw sales/marketing had the best performance in using data-driven insights for strategies. But data isn’t exactly an easy “language” to understand – unless you’re a data expert, of course.

To overcome this, the tools in your MarTech stack should help marketers work with customer data easily to learn about the customer journey. By getting a single customer view of their behavior and interactions with your brand, you can tailor your loyalty programs with personalized and engaging content.

This helps grow customer engagement, conversions, and customer relationships with your brand. Marketing-friendly solutions that help you unify, structure, and make sense of your data can be a great solution to the data literacy gap. But with limited budgets & resources, you need to understand what’s really affordable in your setup to drive these.

Building customer loyalty and brand advocacy are seen as the biggest drivers of revenue in marketing. To achieve this, let’s dive into the data literacy and MarTech capability steps you need to consider to grow customer loyalty.


In the post-pandemic transition to omnichannel retail models, operators need to use their loyalty programs to differentiate the customer experience between each multiple channels. This can be done by providing compelling customer benefits within each one.

Many leading brands are increasingly looking to revamp their customer loyalty programs as they seek to create additional sustainable value from their customer assets.

These same brands understand the growing requirement for thinking both holistically & creatively in respect of loyalty concept development programs. These include features that deliver measurable brand engagement, customer retention, and advocacy.

Before embarking on any concept development, the most important requirement is to first identify those preferred commercial outputs each of the key program stakeholders are expecting. Next, it’s crucial to understand how these outputs will be measured and assessed by each one on an ongoing basis. Some things to consider are:

  • How has the overall value of the company increased by having access to actionable customer insights?

  • Which commercial outputs (average transaction values, customer churn rates or net promoter scores) are directly attributed to the loyalty program?

  • How have other business stakeholders (sales, operations, supply chain) benefited from accessing the customer data collected by the program?

  • Over the program’s lifetime, what is the expected return on investment, and how will this be measured?


68% of businesses would like advanced analytics/insights built into their platform. But if you’re limited in budget and resources, it may be worth looking at what customer data you already have available and determining how to use this to increase customer loyalty. It’s about being smart with the data you already have and reviewing your tools to see how best to utilize your data.

The sheer volumes of customer data organizations now have access to have created their own challenges with the interpretation, understanding, and orchestration of data into actionable insights. After all, siloed data and tools are the cause of fragmented marketing. But it’s all about how you structure your data points and interpret your data to turn these into actionable insights.

Much can still be understood about customers by building customer segments based on simple RFM models and then predicting the financial impact of making changes to customer numbers within each of these segments.

Data plays a crucial part in building customer loyalty. But most businesses shouldn’t try and overcomplicate their loyalty data strategies in the initial stages. Before committing additional data resources, it’s always best to ask a series of questions:

  • Is my data easy to find?

  • Do I have well-designed data inputs & orchestration?

  • How actionable is my data, and can it be used to influence customer behavior in a timely manner?

  • Can all my stakeholders be satisfied based on their access to the data?

  • Do I have the right data governance in place?

  • Is a bespoke data model of more value than an automated report?

  • Can I get a machine learning data model into production?

For the success of any customer loyalty data strategy, the key is to make the insights directly applicable to each of the different stakeholders. At the most basic level, operational insights need to be highlighted separately from commercial performance measures.

Ideally, stakeholders should receive a balanced scorecard of relevant information to make business decisions based on a range of available insights. This enables strategic decisions regarding additional investments or operational improvements relating to program performance.

Given the changes in the global Regulatory environment, providers like Customer Strategy Network (CSN) are increasingly asked to look at the data required from a regulatory perspective.

  • Would you be able to estimate the value of the data you collect from your program members?

  • Would you be comfortable sharing the way you calculate its value with your members?

  • Would you be comfortable publishing the percentage of the member’s spending your program returns as a reward?

Understanding regulatory change, and how changes in GDPR compliance impacts your approach to data privacy and governance, have also now become key aspects of loyalty program design and operation.


If you’re able to use your data points in a structured way and have a little bit of room in your budget, look at what you’ve got in your current marketing stack and extend it by sourcing a separate loyalty provider, such as Antavo, Open Loyalty, Coniq, HTK Horizon, or Comarch Cloud.

The choice of your loyalty solution provider represents one of the most important requirements an operator must consider. The three core requirements operators look for from their loyalty vendors include:

  1. Measurable increases in commercial performance from their customers

  2. Close alignment with their existing operating model & internal resource capabilities

  3. Connectivity with their core systems architecture

CSN for instance, helps clients in their requirements to optimize commercial & operational value from their loyalty programs by identifying, delivering and measuring commercial outputs. Typically, clients use CSN Partners to:

  • Identify their ‘best’ and ‘best potential’ customers

  • Assess customer lifetime value based on their behaviours

  • Understand predictive customer behaviour based on key segments

  • Reduce customer churn

  • Deliver measurable improvements in commercial & operational performance

  • Provide program and technology audits

  • Train their people

To make this possible, operators like CSN would help them use their data in the best way to create highly engaging customer loyalty stories. This is done by building a picture of customers beyond the loyalty program insights by using multiple data sources.

These help you use current data and structure it in an actionable right way to personalize your content using program incentives. This can save costs through better use of data that’s already being captured to help drive your incremental sales, rather than having to invest in new licenses for a loyalty vendor platform.


A business’ MarTech stack becomes more complicated as marketers adopt more tools to gain more capabilities. But working with siloed systems only enables you to work with fragmented marketing.

Having data sources flowing into different platforms prevents a unified view that you need to understand the customer journey. A standalone CDP should integrate these data points to flow into one place, structure this in a usable way, and create unified customer profiles for a single customer view. Your data can then be enriched with first-party data collection (in a GDPR-compliant way) to give you a better view of the customer journey and easily draw actionable insights. This also helps give your stakeholders a single source of truth to ensure your strategies are aligned.


With marketing automation tools, there are often APIs and integrations developed to help your flow data from your CDP into your separate tool to act on these insights. Although innovative and useful, it doesn’t guarantee that the platform uses the data as flexibly as you need.

To truly activate your insights and act on them quickly, consider upgrading your CDP into one that has automation capabilities all within the platform. Ultimately, this consolidation enables swift automation and personalization to orchestrate your cross-channel campaigns seamlessly. This helps you to easily work with your data and enhance your capabilities, to work in a reactive way that drives your loyalty programs and achieves better results.


True innovation means consolidating your tools to streamline your daily marketing activities for better productivity and improved results. Consolidating your standalone CDP and a data analytics solution helps you do more than orchestrate personalized experiences. It can enrich your insights using AI-powered predictions to become more insight-led and in tune with customer behavioral patterns. You can stay ahead of your customers’ needs and prepare for any changes in their journey to help you drive your customer loyalty programs, prevent churn, and improve customer retention.

Considered as the “best-of-breed” platforms, insight-led customer experience platforms consolidate your marketing technology into an all-in-one solution. Your technologies can seamlessly communicate with each other, so your data can be used in the most impactful way. By breaking data siloes and being GDPR compliant, it makes it easy for you to stay on top of the changing market in real-time with an AI-driven approach. This is essential in creating insight-led customer experiences that drive customer engagement, conversions, and customer loyalty.

Mapp Cloud is an insight-led platform that makes your insights actionable, thanks to its ability to unify customer data, create and enrich UCPs, orchestrate cross-channel personalization, and get even more strategic with customer intelligence and AI.

By basing your loyalty programs with Mapp Cloud and a first-party data strategy, you can get enhanced real-time data and insights using AI and automation to orchestrate the right actions to execute engaging campaigns with personalized content. With a complete view over the entire customer journey, right through to the post-purchase journey, you can lower the customer acquisition and retention costs, and bring in high revenue.


Customer loyalty can only be achieved by understanding your customers to provide a positive experience consistently across all channels. It all starts with your customer data, how best to use this, and what technology & customer data platform vendors you need to help your business conduct effective customer loyalty programs.

This enables you to adjust to the ever-changing customer behavior better to tailor your customer loyalty programs effectively. By reviewing your business’s data-driven marketing technology structure, it helps streamline all key stakeholders to work together and achieve customer loyalty growth for the long term.


The Customer Strategy Network brings together the world’s leading practitioners in customer engagement & retention strategy. Partners in the Customer Strategy Network have significant industry knowledge and experience in the creation and implementation of global consumer loyalty strategies.

Our network equips brands with the tools to design, manage & measure their loyalty programs. The individual capabilities of Partners include:

  • Accurately predicting customer lifetime value

  • Purpose built models to driving business outcomes through Neuro, Data & Behavioural Science

  • Providing consumer loyalty education, training & knowledge-sharing opportunities

  • Building competitive advantage into digital innovation; bridging the gaps between customer engagement, business processes, commercial performance & existing technologies

  • Direct access to the leading academic research based on consumer loyalty & habit, program design & digital marketing

  • Industry leading content for global loyalty marketing professionals.

As an independent network of leading customer engagement & loyalty practitioners from across the globe, CSN supports Mapp Cloud in using existing customer data and insights to identify and understand the commercial value of ‘best’ and ‘best potential’ customers. This helps make profitable changes to their changing customer behaviour through highly targeting and relevant communications.

This article was first published by Mapp. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

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