Sage Summit 2015: How gifts can encourage B2B brand loyalty

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If it’s one thing people love, it’s gifts – and it’s a topic that took over one session at the recent three-day Sage Summit in New Orleans, where four executives discussed how SMBs can expand by offering its clientele rewards.

The July 28 panel, dubbed “Gift and Loyalty in the Digital Age” gave advice on how to improve customer loyalty, brand recognition and avenues to build brand awareness to compete with larger competition.

Featured speakers included Chris Brundage (Chief Operating Officer, Sage payments solutions), Michael Hackney (Executive Vice President, Sales, IMobile3), Lori Laub (cofounder Yiftee) and John Laurell (Vice President, technology operations, Sage, specializing in loyalty and gifts).

The panel was in sync with the idea that mobile devices and social media are underutilized in the B2B sphere.

Nearly three-quarters of people sleep with their smartphones, said Hackney, and that means businesses have easy access day and night to potential customers. “Take advantage of mobile usage to reach your customers,” he said. “Your brand, on their minds.”

Coupons, moreover, are a good way to engage your clients, and that can also be offered through mobile devices, he said.

He also spoke about “geofencing,” when a consumer drives within a radius of another business, or company, and the smartphone can alert of new deals.

One demographic is particularly easier to target – it seems Millennials want more mobile gift cards, according to Laub. Statistics say that a full quarter of them would not get a gift card if they had to go in-store to get it. Even B2B firms can take advantage of this stat: bringing discounts to your online space is a smart move in order to attract young buyers to your product, whether you offer a marketing service or social listening tools.

“Millennials can forget their keys at home but never forget their phones. Mobiles are where the money is,” Laub said.

She elaborated on the notion that “e-commerce is easier than you think”, encouraging people to send gift cards by tweet – a growing platform for consumer outreach.

The modern gift card phenomenon had been popularized by Starbucks, she said, who initially sold millions of cards to later develop them into purchase cards with rewards.

On the B2B end, she recommended businesses co-organize with other businesses mutual gifting exchanges, for good performing employees. From its end, Sage has cards they offer business-to-business clients for lines of credit, added Laurell.

Finally, Brundage offered summary remarks: Small and medium businesses, he said “will have to expect higher app and mobile upgrades to stand out among bigger competitors.”

Reportage by Dave Gordon

For more coverage of the Sage Summit in New Orleans, check out what YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley had to say about running a successful company.

Flickr photo via Creative Commons, user ALERAI

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