While I was in college, a popular national sandwich chain opened a location in the student union area. This chain allows customers to earn points on every purchase, and 50 points meant a free footlong. For the impatient, 25 could turn into a cookie, or 40 for a six incher.
I invited a friend to grab sandwiches there one afternoon, and when I offered to pay for his, he balked. He told me that he wanted to pay for his own because he was just a few points away from earning a free footlong.
That's a bit goofy, but it illustrates the allure of points and miles programs to consumers. Earning currency on each purchase that can later be redeemed for free stuff is one of the easiest ways to lure customers to a program. In the case of many folks, such as my friend, it's a key factor in purchase decisions.
As effective as they can be, these programs toe some fine lines. Do they encourage quick earn and even quicker low-threshold redemptions? Or long-term hoarding for bigger rewards such as flights? How do they manage to find attractive rewards that don't break the bank?
The approaches are limitless, but the goal is the same: getting the customer to come back to the brand over and over again.
At the upcoming Loyalty Expo, we've assembled a panel of points program executives who deal with these challenges on a daily basis. If you're planning to attend the expo, stop by at 9am on Friday (March 22) in room Ocean 8 to hear our experts share their expertise:
"Points and Miles at the Intersection of Cost and Loyalty" will be moderated by Kelly Passey, and it should be an eye opener. Read the press release about it here.
Access will be at the Loyalty Expo all week at booth 208. We'll be showing off PowerDeals, and attendees are welcome to stop by and grab a complimentary membership to our ever-growing mobile coupon network.
Brandon is a former writer and marketer for Access Development. He's a frequent blogger on customer and employee engagement & loyalty, consumer trends, and branding. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter at @bscarter