Best-in-class loyalty and rewards programs are a blend of five benefit categories

As loyalty and rewards programs continue to improve their overall proposition and experience (For Love or Money 2018), I continue to analyse the different types of benefits that can be blended to maximise member interaction.

Benefits for members are considered once a program model (company owned, partner, coalition), program type (currency of collection eg points, package of benefits or combo) and program structure (tiered, flat or subscription) are formulated.

I have developed and classified five benefit categories and their respective rewards, offers and benefits that can be blended to maximise a program's proposition to its members.

NOTE: The category that the brand operates in and respective customer behaviour will impact the type (relevance), volume and weighting of the blend of the benefits.

The five benefit categories (with member "voice" calling out) build up from a rational base to an emotional altitude.

The examples in each category are only a few of the many tailored and unique benefits available:

  1. Financial = "Reward and remunerate me": Fundamentally financial benefits are transactional and range from discounts (one-off, ongoing), earn and redeem offers (dollars or points), cash back vouchers, free delivery and birthday vouchers.
  2. Experiential = "Acknowledge and appreciate me": Benefits that are more than just money. While there may be savings or a value-adding offers, these benefits are mostly experiential such as events, access to limited releases, pre-sales, rewards that have the experience of entertainment, food, fitness, sport and music, product samples, gift boxes and the classic surprise and delight offers.
  3. Useful = "Make life easy for me": This category aims to provide benefits that are useful, aim to reduce friction, complexity or hassle for members. These are the benefits that make the member's life simple, easy to live, easy to interact with your brand whether through tech (mobile) or any aspect of the purchase experience such as buying (pre-order for members; loyalty & payments app) and post-purchase (free returns).
  4. Personal = "Show me that you know me": Personalised content and relevant behaviour triggered communications are critical to this category of benefit and is based on the member's personal data exchange, interaction and needs and include replenishment offers, product recommendations relevant to previous purchases and any content that "shows me that you know me".
  5. Social = "Connect me with others": The program benefits hit their peak emotional connection when it plays a role to connect its members with others - be it in the form of cause related giving ("points for purpose") or the formation of forums for members to connect with each other, ambassador clubs or even connecting members through activities.

When classifying the benefits into their respective categories the only guiding principle I recommend is to ask yourself the question that the member answers with their "voice" to determine if the benefit is relevant to the category.

Loyalty and reward programs that want to maximise their member interaction, should consider a blend of benefits from the five categories to create rational and emotional connections.

Have a happy loyalty day!

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