Beating the January spending crunch – helping customers to save cash

By Karen Wheeler, Country Manager and Vice-President, Affinion

The holiday period has come and gone and it’s expected consumer spending increased once again. It doesn’t stop once Christmas Day has passed though – it’s predicted a staggering £11 billion was spent between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve by bargain hunters in the UK.

It’s unsurprising then that research from National Debtline has found 16% of Britons – the equivalent of 7.9 million people – say they are likely to fall behind with their finances in January after spending too much at Christmas. Sadly, it’s impossible to spend nothing to counteract increased expenditure during December so consumers look for bargains and offers to get them through without finances taking too big a hit.

Driving brand advocacy

At this time, companies that help their customer base save money with lifestyle offers and discounts, but also bring some light relief during the dark winter months, can only help to build stronger relationships. After all, something as simple as visiting a pub or attending a concert has been proven to bring happiness. This is something telcos should keep in mind when looking at tactics to increase loyalty and brand advocacy.

Our Connected Customer report highlights the telcos that offer additional services are more likely to have engaged customers, especially on the journey to engagement. As stated in the report, “The areas that contribute to higher success are ones where the company is able to become a part of a customer’s everyday life. The combination of emotional attributes such as enjoyment and affection and a customer’s willingness to participate in the relationship through activities such as learning or endorsing are the differentiators for top scores.”

This is clear when you consider the success telcos have had over the past few years by offering customers access to concert pre-sales days before the general public is able to purchase them. It’s important such offers are strategic, however. Poorly thought out marketing may be viewed as spam, leading to customers disengaging with businesses – the opposite impact telcos are hoping for.

Data driven marketing

Telcos aiming for truly smart marketing campaigns that constantly add value to their customers’ lives must embrace data driven marketing. This will not only benefit the client base but also the business itself in the long run – helping to drive brand loyalty while telcos meet and overachieve on their business goals.

One example of this can be seen in the work we’re carrying out with a leading US cellular operator to maximise the number of its customers consenting to the use of their data. At a time when consumers are increasingly technology savvy and data breaches continue to hit the news, people are becoming warier than ever about who has access to their information.

To overcome this issue, we produced a data driven marketing solution, delivered through a Value Exchange Platform (VEP). This allowed the client to quickly and economically optimise customer journeys with relevant messages and rewards for specific customer groups, developing interest and increasing conversion. Through the use of existing ad-banner solutions and a responsive micro-site, the VEP enabled the business to efficiently tailor campaigns to maximise impact – ensuring customers receive appropriate content showcasing the value in opting in.

Without the data driven, tailored approach, the goal of 33 million opt ins by the end of next year would be an impossibility and it’s vital telcos everywhere embrace this approach to marketing campaigns to ensure success. Whether its data opt ins, increasing client communications or converting leads, the telco industry can’t afford to ignore the clear benefits data driven marketing holds. Doing so is akin to accepting failure and those who choose to continue with age old methods will find themselves lagging behind the competition. And that’s no way to start the new year.