Millennials pose a different challenge for brands because they are a generation not committed to a single brand, said panellists at the 7th edition of the News Corp VCCircle India Loyalty Conclave 2017.

Brands need to go back to the drawing board to determine how to design a loyalty programme that caters to this generation, said Upendra Namburi, chief innovation and marketing officer at Bharti AXA General Insurance.

Millennials do not look at the old loyalty programmes, but need one that caters to their need for instant gratification and also one that will give them cash-backs and status in their social circles, said Sanjay Tripathy, co-founder and CEO of Agilio.

Millennials spend their time on the road and at work, and so, they look for brands that make their lives simpler, explained Ambar Deep, vice president of product management at ShopClues.

The crux of any loyalty programme should be to create more insights and use them in a relevant manner, said Namburi. “The challenge facing brands is creating a dialogue with the consumer,” he said.

“I look at loyalty in terms of behaviour and attitudes,” said Ashita Aggarwal, professor and marketing head at SPJIMR. Emotion-focussed loyalty programmes make consumers feel that they are a part of the brand, she said, adding brands targeting millennials need to integrate both attitudinal and behaviour loyalty.

Rajat Mehta, country head of digital marketing at Yes Bank, said the advent of big data and analytics leads to the churning of alot of data and this can be used by brands to understand consumers. Analytics can help integrate attitudinal and behaviour loyalty programmes, he said.

Co-branding or partnerships can deliver sustainable value to customers, said Namburi. “We process terabytes of data every day. We need to look at the small data as well. Blindly following data may not be the optimal path,” he said.

Tripathy, on the other hand, said instead of looking at loyalty programmes, brands must ask themselves questions such as—is the programme giving the customer something that he or she cannot buy? How can a brand measure customer interaction? Do brands have a purpose for customers? How can brands make it convenient for customers to use loyalty programmes?

According to Aggarwal, millennials are driven by cash discounts, cash-backs, gift coupons and mobile-based reward programmes. US coffeehouse chain Starbucks and Italian retail clothing company Diesel are examples of brands that cater to millennials, she said.

According to most panellists, net promoter score and wallet share are among the best metrics to measure loyalty programmes. However, Aggarwal said these aren’t the only ways to assess loyalty plans. “It is more expensive to retain customers than to acquire them. Millennials don’t have a committed relationship with any brand, so they experiment with many,” she said.

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