AAdvantage was launched as a promotional tool to get customers to identify themselves…NOT as a reward program
Travel, hospitality, car rental companies established direct relationships with their customers
Banks and some retailers, who had transactional data, soon followed
Retail, restaurant and others jumped in as technology and cost permitted
Loyalty programs turn 30 this year!
Indirect distribution models Today, some of the fastest growing categories for loyalty programs are those with indirect distribution models Media companies, studios, manufacturers, CPG companies are turning to loyalty and engagement programs to create one-to-one customer relationships for the first time.
Engaging entertainment fans “350 million customers…and we don’t know any of them by name.”
Money talks In a business plan, “monetization” means, “how do we make any money from this great idea?” In loyalty programs, it means, “how do we accurately and cost-effectively reward customers according to their value?” Early loyalty programs – and many still today – use proxies for value:
“If only we could really reward customer value” The availability and cost of sophisticated technology forced the use of proxies. Today, programs are limited only by vision. The first major airline program to be based directly on customer spend is Virgin America’s Elevate – a program that has changed the way frequent flier programs work. Elevate is a revenue-managed program that delivers better economics to the airline, more control and a better experience for the guest. When was the last time you tried to redeem miles on a legacy air carrier?
As easy as “supply and demand” As easy as “supply and demand” Elevate is the first revenue-managed program of its kind that provides choice, value, and a dynamic approach to enhance ROI. 15 Days Advance Higher ROS Lower ROS 14 Days Advance Near Parity Near Parity
More than just a reward program. It’s an experience.
Monetization and loyalty Southwest, the largest US domestic carrier, has adopted Virgin America’s program design. As has JetBlue.
Industries with available data, like supermarkets, have used actual customer spending for years
Other categories are actively exploring how to use the revenue-management model for their loyalty programs
Look for more loyalty and customer engagement programs to deliver incentives, rewards and value based on precise knowledge of customer value.
Eventually, each finds its optimal role in an ever-evolving mix of media, strategies and tactics. Today’s social and mobile media are uniquely suited to play a major role in loyalty and customer engagement. Social media are an important tool for disintermediation and delivery of customized value and relevance.
A sleeper strategy helps Downy and Macy’s clean up Event marketing, demonstration-chic, comedy, advertising, and the most basic of DM tactics: customer acquisition, all enabled by Facebook and Twitter. Voila: a CPG company now has a database, while Macy’s boosts January White Sale traffic.
And the results? Now, a CPG brand can begin building direct relationships and fostering loyalty.
Finding the “needles in a haystack” brand devotees Sears and Kmart launched the fastest-growing loyalty program in history – over 60 million customers joined shopyourwayrewards in the first year! The program lets Sears track members’ spending and deliver targeted information and offers to drive and reward transactional behavior. But these great old American brands wanted to get members involved in a personal way.
Driving social participation, not just transactions The program rewards social activity, like joining Sears and Kmart branded communities, sharing reviews, uploading photos.
Social media turn a sweepstakes into a sharefest Email, in-store promotion, social media combine for the biggest video upload sweeps ever for a retailer:
Reality IS broken Games aren’t a panacea for our broken world, or our marketing and customer loyalty challenges. But they sure can help engage customers. As loyalty programs have become ubiquitous, they have lost some of their power to motivate behavior and differentiate brands. There is an increasing need, driven by both marketplace psychographics and program economics, to reward non-transactional behavior. …and you may ask yourself: “You said programs should be based on revenue. Now you say programs should reward non-transactional behavior. WTF?”
The economic challenge It IS challenging to cost-effectively reward non-transactional behavior. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible to value and reward non-purchase interactions.
Establish a point structure that allows for small earnings and small rewards for interactions, and more meaningful earnings and rewards for sales
Use a separate earnings and rewards scale to incent and recognize non-transactional, but still valuable behavior
Enter, the psychology and mechanics of gaming Marketers increasingly want to reward interactions like:
Games in the air… Virgin America’s onboard entertainment (which can be uniquely optimized by Elevate members) offers onboard games, chat and competition between passengers and, sometimes, even between planes in the air and guests in the terminal. The guests on the winning plane are greeted as heroes by the gate staff. Terminal Takeover is a geo-based check-in game, with a leaderboard in the terminal to track guests’ progress.
…on the road… Subaru allows owners to “reward themselves” and get recognition for longtime loyal ownership, and for identifying their lifestyles and interests
…and online Members earn points for purchases, credits for activities Rewards are listed in separate catalogues — points can be redeemed for merchandise; credits cashed in for virtual or digital rewards such as avatars —ringtones, wallpapers, exclusive video clips or music
Gamification and loyalty Innovative applications are emerging, technology platforms that can add gaming elements to conventional program websites.
More fun, greater variety for customers
More ways to engage on the customer’s own terms
More economic leverage for marketers with more ways to reward behavior without giving away the store
Even legacy brands and well-established categories will increasingly incorporate gaming tactics to make their programs fun and engaging.
Disintermediation, Monetization,Socialization and Gamification
Thank you! Howard Schneider Metzner l Schneider Associates