Attracting Teen Loyalty. Like, Totally.


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Yesterday my teen received her first loyalty credit card offer in the mail, a vivid red envelope suggesting she apply for a Delta Skymiles-branded American Express gold card. Granted, it wasn’t a complete surprise. I signed her up for a Delta Skymiles account when she was a baby, and we had recently taken a Delta flight booked through Travelocity.

In fact, she may be young but she’s an old hand at loyalty, belonging to almost as many programs as her mom. I know that other credit card offers will soon be coming fast and furious, and I have a few words of advice for marketers trying to attract teen loyalty:

– Send paper mail. The child deletes the emails and texts from dELiA’s, and erases the voicemails from The Limited. But she squeals when she gets a real “vintage” letter, and she pored over the fine print of the offer from American Express.

– Give presents. The Godiva rewards program totally works for her because they offer a free chocolate every month, and the girl loves her chocolate. And of course Godiva loves her back because she always buys a few extra truffles when she’s in the store.

– Talk up, not down. She aspires to be an adult, stopping by the Starbucks location near her high school to use her iPhone app to pay and collect stars. Their messaging is fun, but not aimed at teens, and that makes it aspirational and image-building for a 15-year-old.

– Amp up the bling. She is enrolled in the Barnes and Noble program, for which you just have to remember your phone number for discounts. Instead, she usually shops at the local independent bookstore because they have a bright, colorful card that peeks out of her wallet and reminds her to stop by.

– Be relevant. Apparently Travelocity shared my daughter’s address with American Express, but neglected to share her birthdate – she’s only 15 and the minimum age for the card is 18 (and for this, mom is eternally grateful).

My teen has already learned that it pays to sign up at a young age to maximize earnings, and she’s got a respectable Delta points portfolio. I’m dreading the day when she upgrades to first class and leaves me sitting in coach. But I’m sure she’ll give me a few chocolates to keep me happy.

Phaedra Hise
As Senior Editor, COLLOQUY, Phaedra leads the creation of new editorial pieces for multiple distinct content platforms in the COLLOQUY media enterprise: COLLOQUY magazine, the Enterprise Loyalty in Practice journal, COLLOQUY web site, COLLOQUY social media blog, COLLOQUY Network Partner content commitments as well as other LoyaltyOne vehicles.


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