Thursday, June 07, 2007

Loyalty Schemes and Mobile Phones

The Wise Marketer has a piece this month on the integration of the mobile phone and loyalty programmes. Quite simply your phone is always with you and your loyalty card isn't. I find it baffling that companies don't think about using the mobile phone as a method of sending out personal invitations to events, redeemable coupons, and related money back offers. The quoted report from the Impaq Group: there are four key mechanics of a loyalty programme, all of which are well suited to the mobile phones that are already in the hands of more than 80% of consumers: - earning points - tracking points - spending points and - receiving information Clearly, loyalty programmes need to differentiate more. So there is a growing need to differentiate loyalty programmes - to build both engagement and participation - with the main areas of concern being: - Clear rules - An acceptable currency - Simple redemption - Relevant/valuable rewards - Achievable results - Flexibility And mobile phones may hold the key "Could the mobile phone actually replace the traditional plastic loyalty card? In practical terms it would be a relatively simple matter for almost any modern handset to display the customer's ID bar code (or other machine readable image) on-screen, either as wallpaper or as a saved image or MMS message. Even in more manual systems, the mobile phone number itself can be used as a unique identifier (although this has some potential problems in countries where prepaid cards are the norm). The consumer then only needs to show their phone (or quote their phone number) at the check-out. And it certainly would encourage interactivity, leading to additional engagement in the programme. And they could be reminded by SMS before Happy Hour promotions and other loyalty programme-related events. They can have their points balance available at all times, encouraging them to redeem more regularly. Already, mobile promotions from brands such as Heineken have shown that mobile voucher redemption is dramatically different to paper-based promotions: Heineken achieved a redemption rate of over 80% in one campaign". At VoiceSage have delivered quite simple campaigns for loyalty programmes. Send out the voice call with a personal invitation to an event at the store, follow up with an SMS with the details. They work. That's why the stores keep using them. But how much more powerful they are when the SMS is personalised with a relevant offer and when it is sent at the right time. So much so, that the stores that have used it, are now no longer sending out those expensive letter drops.

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