Magazine article Marketing

Earning Loyalty Takes More Than Just Low Prices

Magazine article Marketing

Earning Loyalty Takes More Than Just Low Prices

Article excerpt

It struck me last week as I walked towards Highbury that the much hyped, much talked about loyalty schemes would have little impact on the average football fan. Would a Spurs supporter, enduring yet another poor season (we thrashed them 3-1), turn heels on White Hart Lane for the lure of a free scarf from Arsenal? Very unlikely. But then, who does switch between any brand as a direct result of a loyalty scheme? The latest research from NOP offers little evidence that loyalty cards are affecting customer choice.

I'm always disappointed by the restricted range of gifts trumpeted by retailers and bemused by the way companies ignore what they know about their own customers and what they might like to get as a reward.

The image of loyalty schemes may be more upscale nowadays, but I often wonder whether we really remain stuck in the gluey-tongued days of Green Shield Stamps, where years of saving got you a plastic rotating washing line to stick in your garden.

A bit harsh, you think? Possibly, but my frustration comes from knowing that companies understand so much about individual customers but still hesitate to put that information to work. Until they do, we won't see loyalty programmes that fit customers. What I am talking about is tailoring. We know what will turn individual customers on, so why ignore that hard-won insight?

To my mind, the best loyalty programmes include choice and a measure of aspiration. One example is Air Miles - which allows you to choose where and when you want to go. …

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