Loyalty Secrets

It’s the new normal in speaking to your target, right? Engage them. Give them a reason to return. Keep them loyal to the community.

The thing is, for loyalty programs like Aeroplan, Air Miles and Shoppers Optimum, the idea of giving to get back is not at all new. In fact, some of Canada’s largest loyalty programs have tapped into the distinctly Canadian obsession with rewards programs for more than a decade. And for good reason: 94% of Canadians belong to some type of loyalty program. That’s the highest on the planet only after the sensible Brits. Given the potential for unique made-in-Canada insights around our collective loyalty, it’s somewhat surprising that no one has attempted a comprehensive consumer analysis that reveals why Canadian consumers prefer to spend a lot when offered a little back through a loyalty program.

Enter Maritz Canada’s first-of-its kind national study of Canadian reward loyalty program members with a focus on three key areas: reward programs and their influence on Canadian shopping behavior, how and why Canadians choose one reward program over another, and what drives superior member engagement. And there were plenty of surprises. “We knew loyalty markets were popular in Canada,” says Maritz Canada president Bob Macdonald. “ But the extent to which Canadians are willing to admit that loyalty programs influence their loyal behavior blew us away.”

He didn’t expect how few programs are effectively communicating and building relationships with their customers . “Ultimately the end purpose of loyalty is to identify these communities and reach out and communicate with them in a way that’s meaningful to them,” Macdonald says. “We were surprised to the degree that this wasn’t happening.” The 75-page study offered a lot of lessons to Canada’s marketing industry.

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