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How to build loyalty with millennials on mobile

With millennials active on their mobile phones throughout the day, loyalty marketers need to adjust their programs not just in terms of how they enable these consumers to engage but also with regard to what behaviors are rewarded and the types of content.

Millennials use their mobile devices throughout their brand experiences, with 58 percent checking user reviews, 57 percent comparing prices and 24 percent seeking opinions from their social networks from their mobile devices, according to a recent study from Punchtab. These consumers are also looking for incentives to join loyalty programs and show a preference for multi-brand retail programs.

?Millennials trust brands less than they trust each other and regularly check user reviews before they make a purchase - sometimes right from your store,? said Robyn Hannah, vice president of PR and communications for Punchtab. ?Make sure that user reviews are easy to find and share.

Leverage incentives to motivate brand advocacy by rewarding the creation and sharing of user reviews.

?Sixty three percent of millennials would join a consumer loyalty program if given incentives and 51 percent prefer store loyalty programs that cover multiple brand, giving retailers an opportunity to increase exposure to multiple brands and push millennials through the purchase funnel with rewards,? she said.

Rewarding social behaviors
U.S. consumers between the ages of 18-36 are checking their smartphones an average of 43 times a day, according to recent research from SDL.

With findings such as this, it is no surprise that loyalty marketers need to make sure programs are easy to participate in via mobile but, it can also be important to consider the big role that mobile plays in these consumers lives when determining what types of behavior to reward.

For example, a growing number of brands are rewarding mobile and social behaviors.

Last month, Marriott announced loyalty members could instantly collect points through liking, tweeting, posting and checking-in on social media when participating in the newly launched PlusPoints initiative, which reserves a monthly allowance of up to 2,000 points for members who advocate the hotelier (see story).

Such strategies make sense given that 84 percent of consumers would spend more with retailers who offer loyalty rewards for activities other than purchasing, including sharing on social media, according to new data from Colloquy.

Hyper-targeted content
Delivering relevant, hyper-targeted content can also be important for reaching these consumers.

According to Punchtab?s research, 50 percent of millennials said they would provide their mobile number for geo-targeted discounts.

Findings such as this underscore the need for marketers to leverage data about millennials? mobile devices to craft more relevant engagements.

?Hyper-targeting has become the new norm, and millennials are expecting content that is tailored to them and their needs,? said Paige O?Neill, chief marketing chief marketing officer at SDL.

?Seventy one percent of respondents in SDL?s recent survey of millennials said they are most likely to listen to hyper-targeted music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify over non-targeted listening options like local radio - brands need to keep this preference for hyper-targeting in mind when trying to establish brand loyalty among millennials,? she said.

?It is critical for marketers to leverage all the information they can gather about consumers? mobile devices (i.e. location, device type, etc.) in order to deliver the most personalized experience possible to millennial consumers on the device of their choice.?

Core strategy
Some brands are already doing a good job building loyalty on mobile with millennials.

For example, Target, with is Red Card, and Victoria?s Secret Pink Nation offer exclusive content, account management and interesting contests on mobile to reach millennials in meaningful ways.

Last summer, Victoria?s Secret launched a new iPad application that serves as a hub for its Pink Nation loyalty program (see story). ASOS and Sephora are other examples that know how to target millennials on mobile to build loyalty.

Earlier this year, Sephora rolled out an initiative called Beauty Board within its iPhone app that leverages mobile photo-sharing to connect loyalty members with each other (see story).

?Because millennials are constantly on their mobile devices and primarily consume and share content on social channels via these devices, it is critical to have mobility as a central component of your marketing strategy when trying to build loyalty among millennial consumers,? Ms. O?Neill said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York