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How to solve the build vs. buy dilemma when building a loyalty solution


Building and maintaining customer loyalty is crucial for any business's long-term success. To achieve this, many companies consider implementing a loyalty solution that rewards customers and enhances their overall experience. However, when it comes to choosing between building a custom loyalty solution from scratch or buying an existing one, marketing teams often face a challenging decision. In this blog post, we'll explore key factors to consider in order to effectively solve the build vs. buy dilemma when building a loyalty solution.

1. Assess Your Unique Requirements:

Before making any decisions, start by evaluating your specific needs and goals as a marketing team. Consider factors such as program complexity, scalability requirements, integration capabilities with existing systems (such as CRM), desired customization options, time-to-market constraints, and budget limitations.

2. Evaluate Available Off-the-Shelf Solutions:

Research various pre-built loyalty solutions available in the market that align with your requirements identified earlier. Look for features like points tracking mechanisms, reward redemption options (coupons/discounts), tiered membership levels (gold/silver/platinum), referral programs, and analytics/reporting capabilities.

3. Weigh Pros and Cons of Building In-House:

If you have unique or complex requirements that cannot be met by off-the-shelf solutions or if you have ample internal resources capable of developing and maintaining a custom solution cost-effectively over time – building an in-house system might be worth considering.

Pros of Building In-House:

- Customization: Tailor the solution precisely to match your brand identity.

- Integration: Seamlessly integrate with existing systems.

- Scalability: Scale functionality as per evolving business needs.

- Cost Control: Avoid recurring licensing fees associated with external solutions.

Cons of Building In-House:

- Time-consuming Development Process: Building from scratch takes longer than deploying ready-made software.

- Resource Intensive: Requires dedicated development and maintenance teams.

- Higher Upfront Costs: Initial investment in development, infrastructure, and ongoing maintenance.

4. Consider Hybrid Approaches:

In some cases, a hybrid approach can provide the best of both worlds. This involves leveraging an existing loyalty solution as a base while customizing specific features to align with your unique needs. It strikes a balance between time-to-market advantages and customization flexibility.

5. Evaluate Total Cost of Ownership (TCO):

When comparing build vs. buy options, it's essential to assess the total cost of ownership over time. Consider not only upfront costs but also factors like ongoing maintenance, updates/bug fixes, hardware/software upgrades, training expenses for staff members using the system, and potential scalability requirements as your customer base grows.

6. Seek Expert Advice:

Don't hesitate to consult with industry experts or engage third-party consultants who specialize in loyalty solutions implementation. They can provide valuable insights into market trends, help analyze pros and cons based on your unique situation, assist in vendor selection or guide you through building an effective custom solution if needed.


Choosing between building or buying a loyalty solution is a critical decision that marketing teams face when aiming to enhance customer loyalty effectively. By thoroughly assessing your specific requirements, evaluating available off-the-shelf solutions against in-house development costs and capabilities while considering hybrid approaches when applicable – you can make an informed choice that aligns with your business objectives without compromising effectiveness or breaking budgets.

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