Merkle’s 2021 Loyalty Barometer Report Reveals the Power of Rewards Programs in Building Strong Customer Relationships


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Report highlights key drivers of loyalty including personalization and recognition, and discusses the impact of the events in 2020

Columbia, MD — March 2, 2021 — Merkle (, a leading technology-enabled, data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company, has released its 2021 Loyalty Barometer Report. This fourth annual report analyzes how consumers feel about loyalty and rewards programs and where brands should pivot to accommodate fluctuations in consumer preferences as a result of the events of 2020. 

Merkle will host a complimentary webinar on Wednesday, March 31, at 2:00 p.m. (ET), where Promotion and Loyalty Solutions team members, Michela Baxter and Craig Heiter, will discuss key findings from the report and provide attendees with valuable insights on loyalty program structures, how to improve the overall customer experience, what consumers are expecting from loyalty programs, and how brands can advance personalization efforts in a data-privacy-focused environment.

Merkle’s Human Loyalty® solutions, including digital promotions, gamification, loyalty programs, incentives, rebates, and rewards, are designed to create enduring customer relationships. These solutions enable unique insights needed to fuel identity and personalize brand moments, while improving the overall customer experience.

“Customer loyalty is the brand’s most precious resource. This year’s report showcases just how important loyalty and rewards programs are in building customer relationships with brands,” said Chris Wayman, executive vice president, Promotion and Loyalty Solutions at Merkle. “Viewing the brand, product, service, and sales experience from the consumer’s perspective enables loyalty marketers to create programs that deliver higher customer satisfaction and increased revenues. Our report reveals that when done correctly, loyalty programs can be among the most effective strategies in driving lifelong brand loyalty.”

Key findings from the 2021 Loyalty Barometer Report include:

  • While many customers stayed loyal to brands, the events of 2020 created the need for brand switching (due to limited inventory/access or finding better value) and/or discontinuing purchases (due to financial constraints or disagreeing with a stance the brand took on societal events).
  • Earning points for rewards continues to be the favorite loyalty program structure, and customers prefer redeeming these points for discounts.
  • Customers are most comfortable with brands that utilize engagement and purchase history to enhance the loyalty experience, such as receiving personalized offers based on individual purchase activity.
  • Three key tactics allow brands to cultivate relationships and foster emotional loyalty: delighting through surprises, making the customer’s life easier, and simply saying “thank you.”

To download the report and register for the complimentary webinar, visit here.


This report surveyed more than 1,500 consumers who are sourced outside of the loyalty marketing programs that Merkle manages for clients. Responses came from US residents aged 18 to 65, allowing us to segment the data from baby boomers and Gen X to millennials and Gen Y. The consumer survey for this report was conducted in November 2020.

About Merkle

Merkle is a leading data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company that specializes in the delivery of unique, personalized customer experiences across platforms and devices. For more than 30 years, Fortune 1000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with Merkle to maximize the value of their customer portfolios. The company’s heritage in data, technology, and analytics forms the foundation for its unmatched skills in understanding consumer insights that drive hyper-personalized marketing strategies. Its combined strengths in performance media, customer experience, customer relationship management, loyalty, and enterprise marketing technology drive improved marketing results and competitive advantage. With 9,600+ employees, Merkle is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, with 50+ additional offices throughout the US, EMEA, and APAC. Merkle is a dentsu company. For more information, contact Merkle at 1-877-9-Merkle or visit

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