A mentor of mine forwarded me a whitepaper: “How Surprise And Delight Amplifies Loyalty Marketing Strategies” by CrowdTwist, which I enjoyed, because I am one of those consumers impressed by this marketing tactic. However, it got me thinking deeper about my recent purchasing decisions.
Interestingly enough, I think Starbucks started off really well by working towards acquiring new suburban clients (Markham, Richmond Hill, etc.). How? They introduced a coupon structure (much like McDonald’s) for a few weeks, and that disappeared, once they had the desired numbers through their doors. They should have kept up the momentum.
The current Gold Card rewards program by Starbucks is downright tedious and boring, since I know, my every 12th transaction will get me either a free drink or food item, whereas, the randomness and unexpected surprise from both Tim Horton’s and Panera Bread, keep me coming back. Which is why this statement in the whitepaper is so important.
“While it’s crucial for brands to be consistent with their loyalty strategies, always meeting customer expectations can be mundane. Once brands secure their audiences, they must generate new ways to keep customers engaged. Fulfilling expectations is no longer enough. Brands should also incorporate the element of surprise within their longer term plans, rather than one-off initiatives.” (pg 4)
The Psychology of Winning
So far, I think only Panera Bread is the strongest in their customer loyalty and rewards program, as this Surprise and Delight tactic is an ongoing corporate initiative within their existing and ongoing branding and marketing structure, instead of a temporary contest. Victoria’s Secret is also a strong brand using this strategy with mail-in coupons for free products and perks for buying.
Which brands do you think are using this tactic successfully?