Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Loyalty Programs Need to Keep Evolving

March 15, 2010: summarized from Promo Magazine -- Status Quo and the Rolling Stones are two rock bands that first became popular in the 1960s. However, only the latter is really a household name today. Why? Mick, Keith and the boys created a brand and kept evolving.

That, said Rene Mizwicki , director of Hyatt Hotels' Gold Passport program, is an essential part of building a successful loyalty program in today's marketplace. The competition for consumers' attention is tougher than ever, and marketers must keep finding new ways to engage with their audience.

Mizwicki and Steven Fuld, managing director, card marketing and services, spoke at the New England Mail Order Association's spring conference in Boston last week on proven ways to improve customer loyalty.

Changing your perspective is one great way to do this, said Mizwicki. "[Marketers often] expect members to buy something before we give them anything," she said. "In the Hyatt world. We changed that. We think Hyatt members deserve our loyalty all the time."

To this end, the hotel chain launched the "Big Welcome" competition to create awareness. The company gave away 365 free nights to one winner each in three regions—North America, Asia/Pacific and Europe.

Likewise, Sony partnered with the game show Wheel of Fortune to create the Wheel Watchers club. Sony Card members can get a "spin ID" they can enter on the contest site to win prizes.

Each night, a SPIN ID number is displayed on air during Wheel of Fortune. If it is a member's SPIN ID number and they go back to the game site to verify it, they win the same prize as the on-air Wheel contestant. Club members can also get Sony Reward Points for completing a bonus round puzzle, as well as access to special offers.

Both Fuld and Mizwicki were both proponents of "surprise and delight" programs, rewarding high tier customers with perks like concert tickets or trips. "The freebies cost us little but have great value from a consumer perspective," said Fuld.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/c9L1U2

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