As the concept of reciprocity becomes an increasingly potent marketing lever, marketers need to re-evaluate their understanding of current norms to reframe its application across marketing ecosystems.

So says SiewPing Lim, founder of Kuala Lumpur-based Cat8lyst Consultancy and former agency CEO. Writing for WARC, she suggests that reciprocity is the new social contract between brands and consumers under the ‘new normal’.

There is a need for marketers to make their customers feel that their attention and time are acknowledged and reciprocated beyond the transactional, she adds.

The two mainstream applications of reciprocity are loyalty programmes (accretive points for long-term spending) and promotions (discounts/gifts for immediate purchase, but “neither are truly reciprocal ecosystems,” SiewPing argues, and they are missing key attributes.

“Gratification doesn’t always have to come in the form of discounts or points,” she says.

What does seem non-negotiable in today’s world of same-day deliveries, however, is the idea of instant gratification, and SiewPing maintains this is an area where the idea of reciprocity can be further developed.

“With the future looking at best uncertain, smaller but immediately accessible gratifications are more attractive and pragmatic than one big reward at the end of a long and uncertain rainbow,” she observes.

Whatever form it takes, “the act of reciprocity should be made into an experience for the customer”.

Material rewards, for example, can be curated and accompanied by a live-streaming demo to turn the product trial into an experience.

All of this should be made accretive, “Each reciprocal act builds over the last one to create a [customer experience] greater than the sum of all acts,” she concludes.

For more on the attributes of reciprocity and how brands can apply these, read SiewPing Lim’s article in full: Brands need a true ecosystem of reciprocity to navigate a changed consumer dynamic.

Sourced from WARC