Engagement Trends 2019: Why Membership Discount Platforms Matter So Much to Organizations

Membership groups are trying to adapt to the increasing demands of members who want personally relevant value from the organizations they join. Here’s why organizations are embracing membership discount platforms to drive ongoing engagement.

About a 4 minute read

Keeping up with change can be hard work. Even painful.

But keeping up with the changing competitive landscape means life or death for a company or organization.

Just ask Sears, Payless, Nine West, Claire’s, or Brookstone – all of which filed for bankruptcy recently. Each retailer has a specific explanation for its failure. Yet few could argue that each of these companies in some way failed to adapt.  

Maybe it was their corporate culture that couldn’t adapt?  Maybe their entrenched focus on the in-store experience prevented them from adapting their online experience?  Maybe they were just complacent about adapting to market forces? 

We may never know specifically why each company has gone belly up. But the lesson here is clear: Don’t let your organization grow complacent. If you intend to boost engagement and loyalty among your members, you must constantly adapt, or perish.

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What Do These Retail Failures Have to Do with your Membership Organization?

Whether you have noticed or not, your members have greater expectations of your organization than ever before. They have come to expect real, tangible value from any organization they affiliate with. And if your organization isn’t prepared to give them the value they expect, they’ll get it somewhere else.

What kind of value are they looking for?

In the simplest terms, they want value that is personally relevant to them. Your organization must be relevant in their everyday lives, or you’ll be lost in the cacophony of competing voices they must endure every day.

If you can’t prove your relevance, you’ll be ignored. If you are complacent with your value proposition, they’ll grow increasingly indifferent to your organization, and then don’t be surprised when your retention rates plummet.

Is your organization adapting your loyalty and engagement programs to meet current demands of your members?

The Business Case for a Discount Loyalty Platform

The recent 2019 Loyalty Barometer Report from HelloWorld reveals: out of all types of programs devised to impact consumer loyalty, the most effective programs include discounts – especially instant discounts.

And for good reason! There’s probably no better way to be personally relevant to your members than to add value to their wallets. Short of outright giving them cash, how else would you give your members meaningful financial benefits?  

Consumer discounts are the single most common tool companies and organizations have used to attract and engage their constituents. Just look at the stats: of all American retail businesses, 91% offer their customers an engagement/loyalty program, and 98.4% of these loyalty programs use some form of discounting strategy. Whether it’s reduced airfare, rewards or points that can be redeemed for products, discounts are a tremendous motivator because they leverage all consumers’ collective desire to save money. The best part? Discounts are popular with all demographic groups, regardless of age, income, or gender.

That’s why a growing number of relationship based organizations are offering their members local discounts at popular restaurants and retailers. Compelling discounts are the closest thing to a universally appealing benefit, as roughly 96% of consumers use coupons or discount offers.

However, it’s not easy to offer instantly redeemed discounts, as the typical barriers of building your own discount program can be quite high. Some organizations have built their own program and have generated some local interest and engagement. But the process of negotiating enough offers with local merchants can be time consuming. The challenge for larger organizations is scaling up a homegrown discount program that can meet the needs of a sprawling constituency. If your members are spread out in a statewide or nationwide footprint, building your own discount program lacks ROI.

That’s where turn-key discount platforms can help. Recently many discount platforms have emerged that offer selected discounts to membership organizations. Among the best discount platforms are those that deliver compelling, relevant and meaningful discounts, at popular places your members already know and love.  Like deals on pizza, burgers, apparel, oil changes, concert tickets, hotels, car rentals, movie tickets. The types of purchases we make every day.

But not just any old discount will do.  You have to offer your members deals close to where they live and work.  That’s because 90% of urban dwellers will travel no more than fifteen minutes for their everyday purchases. Without serving up deals nearby, your program won’t be relevant. Only discount platforms with hyper-local, in-store offers can deliver the most relevant discounts with the power to attract and engage your members.

That’s why you must be selective about the program you choose.

Some programs may promise little or no upfront costs, but they’ll only serve up online-only deals that aren’t truly compelling. And what they won’t tell you is on the back-end they will generate their profit by taking a portion of each online transaction your members make. Other programs will use your list to upsell your members on insurance, investment or other products. These programs play fast and loose with your member data, and may generate significant revenue from insurance premiums and investment of those premiums. Depending on your state regulations, you may never know this is happening behind the scenes.

Fortunately, such risky programs can be avoided. With just a little investment of time and resources, you'll find a good discount program can offer your organization a powerful new tool to help you:

  • Add real value to your benefits package
  • Help members offset the cost of being a member
  • Attract the attention of potential members
  • Engage members who otherwise have not yet fully engaged
  • Generate goodwill and help boost member retention

Because your members are demanding greater value that’s personally relevant to them, you’re far more likely to get them to stay engaged when you offer them a program with significant value, like a member discount program.

To learn more about how to build your own discount program, or how to identify a turn-key, member discount program, see this free ebook here: The Ultimate Guide to Discount Programs.

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Topics: Customer Engagement, member retention, value enhancement, private discount programs, member engagement, customer loyalty, statistics, Discounts, member loyalty, VALUE ADDED BENEFITS, membership benefits programs, membership discounts

Written by: Gary Toyn

For 25+ years Gary Toyn has helped organizations large and small improve their constituent/member acquisition, retention and engagement. He's a multi-published author, writer, and researcher.

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