Rewards Programs: Your Psychological Friend

The rewards program is something that’s been around for a very long time, in a number of guises. And it’s something that I, typically, don’t care for. Only – it turns out – I’ve been happily using one for almost a decade without even considering it. So this made me take a step back, and re-assess their popularity to the general public as a whole. And I realized that, on the whole, they’re fairly effective marketing tools.

In my case, I’m an avid bibliophile. And – for those of you who just cursed me for wanting to have sex with ducks – let me enlighten you, and your lexicon. Bibliophilia is – in fact – an intense love for books. And, no, I don’t mean… never mind. I am a particular collector of rare, often signed, first edition books. These aren’t your typical grocery store news stand types and, unfortunately, they also don’t cost the same.

Years ago, I decided that I needed a second credit card: One that wasn’t tied to my bank. After searching, and not finding anything of particular interest, I happened upon one that allowed me to buy things, and earn ‘points’ that would allow me to further my disease – er – hobby. Guess which card I picked?

So I now find myself guilty of something that I, in fact, don’t care for: rewards programs. Why don’t I like them? Because so many that I am familiar with don’t so much seem to be rewards programs, as they are a leveling of the playing field between the vendor and the customer. The worst offenders here, in my personal opinion, are the grocery store and drug store programs. They seem to offer insanely high pricing, but give you a ‘discount’, ‘rebate’, or ‘bonus’ if you use their card. In my mind, prices being too high are never going to be any less than that. And asking me to use a card to bring them more into the realm of sanity seems, to me, kind of dumb.

I realize I’m in a minority here. I’m just trying to be honest. And – just possibly – I’m all backwards on the whole thing. If I am, feel free to gently correct me. As long as it’s constructive and enlightening, I can take it.

Anyway – back to the matter at hand: Rewards programs. As discussed in previous posts (referring specifically to the referral incentive programs), if you’re going to do this, go big or go home. Give as much incentive as you possibly can without damaging your bottom line. Always, however, be considering the fact that repeat customers have an inherent value as well. Make certain to factor that into the equation. Find a program that truly rewards loyalty on the part of your customers, without being insensitive to the fact that they have the ability to think for themselves and can, in most cases, see through a poorly executed ruse.

Whether it’s a punch card, quantity buying bonuses, store visit points, purchasing points, dollar value points – whatever – make certain that it’s easy to understand, easy to follow, and rewards them in a way that you would wish to be rewarded. Get inside of their heads; consider things from their point of view; ask their opinions; get their advice and – most of all – plan for success. When done correctly, success will follow. And – should it ever seem to falter – don’t sit comfortably on your dwindling laurels. Find out where the disconnect is occurring, and make every effort to rectify it as soon as is humanly possible. Otherwise, all of your hard work – and the program itself – means nothing.

Happy rewarding!

P.S. – If you have a program in place that works, tell us about it! I’d love to hear about your successes in this area.


~ by digitalninjasmedia on December 7, 2011.

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