Loyalty marketers can help consumers plan for their planning


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When I worked for a consumer magazine, there was an occasional odd moment when I’d look at the calendar at this hot and humid time of year and think, in all seriousness, “I’m behind on my Christmas shopping!”

That’s because I was deeply involved in the magazine issues that would be delivered in November and December, even though the calendar was rather clear that the month was really July. That’s known in the magazine biz and elsewhere as “lead time.”

So I saw both good news and cautions in a recent survey from interclick, which concludes “that the poor U.S. economy will not keep vacationers away from their favorite destinations as Americans are expected to spend $86 billion this summer, an increase of 9% from last year.” It’s good to hear about positive summer-travel news, and the tip of the sun-shade cap to those marketers who anticipated that news. But “anticipation” is the key to my message. The interclick survey shows that “40% of vacationers report starting the planning process more than three months in advance, while only 20% plan less than one month away.”

Planning and goal-setting. In so many areas of consumers’ lives–not just in vacation planning–there are timelines of planning and anticipation. The accrual of points and other means of earning in loyalty programs toward pleasurable or useful goals echoes those timelines. So when 40% of consumers say they start planning for a goal a fiscal quarter in advance, loyalty marketers should align their program-earn marketing messages with that anticipation in mind. It’s more than a matter of timing the messages–dropping an email in April for a potential July expenditure is just a matter of calendar coordination. But as program members set their sights on aspirational goals that can be fulfilled by your rewards–from cashback to experiences to products related to their goals–you can set up communications that help them plan the planning.

Data analysis of purchase and redemption behavior can tell you what your customers may be planning. Help them with that planning by alerting them to engagement activity (i.e., earning points) that will reward them with redemption possibilities not only at the point of experience, but also at the point of planning for that experience.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bill Brohaugh
As managing editor, Bill Brohaugh is responsible for the day-to-day management and editorial for the COLLOQUY magazine and colloquy.com, the most comprehensive loyalty marketing web site in the world. In addition to writing many of the feature articles, Bill develops the editorial calendar, hires and manages outside writers and researchers and oversees print and online production. He also contributes to COLLOQUY's weekly email Market Alert and the COLLOQUYTalk series of white papers.


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