Four Loyalty Segments Every Marketer Can Act On

Learn how you can freshen up your personalization strategy with four advanced loyalty segments and make your brand more relevant for customers.

Cover image for Antavo’s article about advanced loyalty segments

While the notion of 1:1 personalization is enchanting, scalable loyalty strategies are built around sizeable loyalty segments that share common needs and hold potential for the organization. The fun, but the maddening challenge with loyalty segmentation is that the options seem endless, and there is no single right answer. The challenge is definitely worth it because most marketers using advanced personalization based on segmentation achieve a 200% increase in ROI vs a one-size-fits-all approach.

Finding the Right Segmentation Framework

As an initial step, here’s a strategic segmentation framework, based on the LoyaltyLevers Benefits Framework, built around three key loyalty factors:

  • Engagement: Factors, in this case, include program engagement, benefit usage, communication engagement, and website visitation
  • Loyalty Sentiment: This is the level of emotional loyalty and overall brand affinity measured through surveys, typically among a sampling of members
  • Behavioral Loyalty: The value for each member, measured by frequency of visits, spend, margin and spending growth over time
An infographic depicting various customer segments based on levels of engagement and loyalty sentiment.
As our examples will show, segmentations based on these three dimensions have the distinct benefit of being not only insightful, but actionable and manageable from an operational perspective.

Loyalty Segment 1: Games Players

Some members love the thrill of the chase, collecting as many points and benefits as possible by participating in a wide range of activities and exploring all the possible reward opportunities. As a result, they are highly engaged with all the communication channels. Many check the website or the dedicated loyalty app daily to find awards availabilities. So, for this group, gamification is a big draw. Games Players also love to share with others, including sharing their achievements, and find even more ways to optimize their earnings. Entire forums exist for this purpose, like flyertalk, The Points Guy, and so on.

In fact, this loyalty segment may be so caught up in the chase that they don’t pay attention to brand messages at all, and as a result, don’t develop much loyalty to the brand. Games Players are notorious for optimizing the best deal and ROI for their spend, which suggests that the rewards program is buying loyalty vs building it. You’ll likely find several different sub-segments of Games Players, based on their value to the organization and their relative degrees of engagement and loyalty sentiment.

The trick is to leverage Games Players’ high engagement by introducing an ever-increasing array of Sentiment Builders that extend switching costs beyond pure monetary considerations. Sentiment Builders can be surprise-and-delight, personalized experiences, VIP treatment, cause-related tie-ins, and beyond. Of course, there are many other forms of loyalty program benefits worth exploring, too.

An image of a fictional loyalty program showing how the prize wheel feature works.
Prize Wheels are a classic gamified loyalty program feature: they create a thrilling reward experience and, due to the randomized nature of the system, no two spins feel the same.

Loyalty Segment 2: Brand Driven

The Brand Driven segment is the polar opposite of Games Players. Their decisions are mostly influenced by brand and customer experience considerations and Brand Driven customers may have little-to-no engagement with the loyalty program. Their lives seem extremely busy, and loyalty programs may feel too complex to bother with. For many executives, this segment is a concern because it can entail significant marketing costs with little demonstrable impact.

To be successful with Brand Driven loyalty segments, simplicity is of the utmost importance – these customers have little patience for complicated earnings schemes, delayed gratification, or red tape when it comes to redemption. Seamless integration with the customer experience is the goal, and as Brand Driven members come to see how the loyalty program enhances the brand, and makes their lives even easier, they’ll engage with the program. Elements like automatic rewards generation and personalized recommendations for earning opportunities will resonate. On the other hand, generic promotions, daily emails and long lists of partner opportunities will likely fall on deaf ears.

A fictional loyalty program offering exclusive gifts to VIP members.
For this particular customer segment, the best type of loyalty program is a perks program because of its simplistic nature: it has no tiers or points or complex rules, and as such, rewards are easily accessible.

Loyalty Segment 3: Engaged Loyals

Engaged Loyals represent the best of the best – highly engaged consumers who have developed strong brand loyalty, and likely a lot of value. Even so, experience has proven that time after time, these audiences display the highest incremental lift with each new program addition. The sky truly does seem to be the limit. So, consider creating new spending opportunities through exclusive products or experiences that cater to these customers.

Another opportunity is to turn these outstanding customers into advocates by providing opportunities and incentives to share their experiences, and perhaps selectively contribute to new reward ideas. Sharing the love with this group by creating over-the-top experiences and rewards will only fuel these efforts by building even stronger loyalty bonds and generating word of mouth.

Go overboard with the experience you provide your customers.
Don’t be afraid to put a hefty price on your most exclusive loyalty rewards. Your most dedicated customers will spare no expense to acquire it, for the prestige alone.

LoyaltySegment 4: Belongers

Belongers, usually the majority of members in any loyalty program, may have joined the program out of habit, or perhaps because it was promoted well. They likely have signed up for dozens of loyalty programs yet may not remember most in the flurry of activity. Depending on the type of program, up to half of those who join may fall into the “one and done” category, never to return. It remains a puzzle to most program managers, however, it doesn’t mean that this audience is without value.

One theory is that Belongers continue to use the brand but are not providing their loyalty card. Depending on the permission obtained upon joining, there are opportunities to stitch together various data sources to identify these members’ continued activity and incentivize them to identify themselves.

Others may be potentially high-value customers who used your brand on a single occasion but remain loyal to the competition. Identifying and converting customers with that kind of potential is the holy grail! Enhancing data for these customers and developing predictive models for past converters will help you identify niche audiences for highly-targeted, valuable offers that will attract this group and pay big returns.

An image comparing the key strengths of loyalty programs, cdp and marketing automation services.
Being able to capture the attention of Belongers requires a coordinated effort between loyalty programs, CDP, and Marketing Automation, so businesses can execute smart, data-driven decisions.

Loyalty Segmentation: How to Get Started

Segmentation is the culmination of an analytical foundation critical to the success of any enterprise loyalty program. LoyaltyLevers believes that segmentation is an art and a science, and while the most useful segments will vary widely from one brand to another, the key is to embrace it and continuously test and learn to determine what works best for your organization.

As for the loyalty technology capable of empowering the reward program of your dreams, Antavo offers a highly sophisticated, API-based, no-code loyalty platform. Antavo’s experts are more than happy to set up a demo or provide direct answers if you send an RFP.

In the meantime, here’s a comprehensive article and handy worksheet that will guide you through the first steps of building a captivating loyalty program concept.

Phil Hussey is the Founder & Consultant of LoyaltyLevers

Phil Hussey

Phil is the Founder & Consultant of LoyaltyLevers, a company that’s the culmination of Phil’s 25+ years in data-driven loyalty marketing and as CEO of the loyalty agency 89 Degrees, serving some of the best brands in the world.

You might also like

The cover image for Antavo’s article reviewing the IKEA Family loyalty program.
Reviews by Barbara Kekes-Szabo • January 27, 2022 • 10 min read

IKEA Family Loyalty Program Review: Where Everyone’s Invited

IKEA Family is one of the world’s largest customer clubs. Find out what rewards they offer to create a family-like experience for members.

The cover image for Antavo’s article on social retail.
Articles by Barbara Kekes-Szabo • November 16, 2023 • 15 min read

Social Retail: A Tech-Savvy Form of Word-of-Mouth

Give your company a competitive edge. Use social retail to boost customer loyalty and turn your shoppers into lifelong fans and advocates.

The cover image of Antavo's Tiered Loyalty Programs article.
Guides by Zsuzsa Kecsmar • April 4, 2024 • 22 min read

8 Best Tiered Loyalty Programs to Get 80% More ROI

Add long-term engagement to customer retention with tiered loyalty programs. Learn how to boost your ROI by 80% and foster deep customer love.