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How Mastercard delivers the best loyalty solutions to brands

How Mastercard delivers the best loyalty solutions to brands

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As consumers balance prices and priorities amidst a growing economy, their demands have changed. Meanwhile, the market also sees a renewed focus on valuable experiences and building strong relationships with brands. Now more than ever, brands must make loyalty a part of their holistic strategy – not just something they set and forget.

Mastercard, a leader in loyalty, has evolved its suite of services over the past decade to help brands meet these changing demands. “From modular solutions to full-service loyalty strategies to hyper-personalisation, Mastercard is helping its customers make smarter decisions with better outcomes,” said Stephanie Meltzer-Paul, executive vice president of global loyalty at Mastercard.

For example, Mastercard helped ICBC China launch a “Woman Card” programme. This came as ICBC had been exploring ways to engage women but struggled to stand out amidst a crowded field. Leveraging data and insights, Mastercard was able to understand consumer behaviour and preferences, allowing it to develop authentic, loyal relationships that help ICBC stand out against the crowd.

By delivering end-to-end solutions to brands and helping clients grow their loyalty base, Mastercard has earned its reputation in customer loyalty with big wins at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's Loyalty and Engagement Awards 2024, including a silver award in Best Loyalty Programme – Financial Services (ICBC), two bronze awards in Best Loyalty Programme – Travel & Hospitality (Mastercard) and Best Use of Corporate Social Responsibility (CGB).

In fact, consumers are expecting a lot more in the loyalty world, according to Meltzer-Paul. “It’s not enough to just have a simple points or cashback strategy. You really have to infuse your loyalty strategy as part of your brand strategy,” she said. “Because loyalty is crucial in driving that incremental sticky behaviour.”

However, following an accelerated shift to digital, brands are struggling to connect the in-store and online experiences, resulting in fragmented engagement. One of the biggest challenges brands and retailers face is not having a 360-degree view of data and not knowing their consumers’ wants and needs beyond the transaction, according to Meltzer-Paul.

“How are they engaging with your web and your app? What does the full picture look like? In many bigger organisations or even financial institutions, data tends to sit in many different areas that tend to be very siloed.” she added.

The other thing brands are struggling with is personalisation, said Meltzer-Paul.

“Consumers expect the brand to know them and they expect the experience to feel very personalised. Brands are coming to Mastercard to seek help for personalisation to help solve those demands,” she explained.

Amid the economic uncertainty where marketing budgets are tight, loyalty is undoubtedly a big investment and cost to many brands, so brands need to know if they can get positive return on investment from their loyalty programmes, she added.

“Mastercard can come in and help with the brand’s strategy and use cases, which makes us a great partner all the way through the customer journey,” she added.

Speaking of the most sought-after consumer trends in 2024, Meltzer-Paul believed that hyper personalisation is making its mark in the loyalty field.

“Down to the individual consumer level, your experience should be very different to mine. That can take the shape of content, offers, language, even photography—consumers should see tailored content across every touchpoint,” she added.

Another trend that is gaining traction is gamification, which Meltzer-Paul says is about making loyalty fun.

“It’s not enough to just have a strong loyalty programme on paper. Consumers really need something that interests them, and we find that leaning into gamification can really set brands apart.”

On the other hand, partnership also plays a huge role in extending brands’ loyalty programmes, as consumers are looking for choices and flexibility, she said.

“That’s what we hear from our customers—their consumers understand loyalty programmes and are seeking them out more than ever. That means the bar is much higher than it was years ago in delivering the right strategy,” she added.

This article is done in collaboration with Mastercard.

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