From honeymoon to “moneymoon” – why the first 90 days to on-board new loyalty program members is so important

The first 90 days for welcoming and settling in new loyalty or rewards program members is a critical time for entrenching a required behaviour.

I have changed this commonly known period from “honeymoon” to “moneymoon”.

Moneymoon makes me realise that these first 90 days have a critical impact on the longer-term value exchange between the program and its members.

There are three good reasons that the “moneymoon” period needs to be well executed.

1. Promise vs reality: The program’s valuable promise (VP) meets the reality of the member’s life after they have joined. Does it make an impression and an impact in their life or is just another same-same program.

2. Behaviours are ready to be influenced. Members’ radar and expectations are at their highest in this period and this is the best opportunity to start a habit, influence a behavior (increase spend, frequency of visit) or motivate advocacy.

3. 19% of members defect in the first 90 days. Our latest research ‘for love or money 2016’ identified that 19% of members defect in the first 90 days.

It hurts when you place a value on that defection:

Cost to acquire a member = $? x the number of members acquired x 19% of the members defecting = $ of acquistion cost history within 90 days…ouch! (That does not include the longer term value that could have been gained from retaining them).

The list of reasons for defection from a program are also available in the report ‘for love or money 2016‘.

What to do
Map out a 90 day plan and work out your proactive marketing vs trigger behaviour based communication plan to ensure you have enough channel relevant, personalised and valuable communications with sensitivity not to overwhelm them.

Time, Energy & Emotion
The 90 day plan and its execution will vary based on the type of program/ product/ service and fundamentally the time, energy and emotion that the customer takes to purchase that product/service.

Just think about the first 90 days for these: Buying a car vs signing up to a gym vs joining a business association vs joining a loyalty program… so different, yet no matter the difference, the first 90 days is still the “moneymoon” period (with significant differences in how you execute during that period).

This does not mean that that post 90 days you should set and forget. Clearly after onboarding the member, momentum must be maintained.

Have a happy loyalty day (90 days)