Points vs. Perks

Loyalty Marketing has been around for several decades now. The radio industry first tasted success with the concept through “Listener VIP Cards” in the 70’s & 80’s, and now through online rewards programs offered by vendors such as Enticent (Stickyfish) and Mass 2 One. It was airlines who truly capitalized on the idea with their frequent flier programs. Unfortunately, they’re becoming far too commonplace today as I see consumers in line with a wallet or purse full of membership cards to every pharmacy, grocery store, airline, gas station, and electronics store in town — not to mention new incentives offered by credit card companies or the still popular “Marlboro Miles” program.

Radio must find innovative ways to make our listener clubs more relevant to brand users for increased participation that benefits advertising partners and helps achieve programming objectives. The “earn points for prizes” strategy just won’t cut it today.

We’re not alone, though. Airline programs have lost so much of their “VIP” status that “private” waiting rooms are often more crowded than just finding a seat at the gate or airport bar.

If one of your “users” is willing to sign up for your program, they’re telling you they want to interact with you on a more personal basis. It’s not just about prizes.

They are now a valuable resource you can rely upon for programming input (Listener Advisory Board). I guarantee that asking them for input on your morning show or music or new logo will make them a more loyal consumer.

They are a group of users that will value access to exclusive member-only content, invitations to member-only events, early access to buy concert tickets, and special “VIP Perks” more than jumping through hoops to get another hundred points that might win them a movie pass.

Don’t alienate potential loyalists with overly ambitious qualifications, and make sure to over deliver on expectations for the most involved consumer.**

One Million Viewers have become a member of Oprah Winfrey’s online community just to participate in a 10-week webinar with author Eckhart Tolle. You should note that content generated registrations, and fans are signing up as “members” NOT “Opraheads” or “Frequent Viewers” or for her “Club.” It’s important for you to spend time determining what you call and how you promote your incentive program.***

Radio is a natural delivery vehicle to direct eyes/ears through ubiquitous reach and influential personalities.

2 Responses to “Points vs. Perks”

  1. The points (pardon the pun) you make here are consistent with the reasons we at Enticent challenge stations to promote their program without ever saying the word “points” on the air We have always viewed points as nothing more than a scoring system to see who has the best chance of winning the “perks”. And to your point, not all perks are prizes…some listener perks are simply knowing your voice or opinion is heard….or having access to restricted information or content. Frankly, if I was programming a station….I would never say the word points on the air. For some stations, it works fine….but for me…never saying “points” on the air forces the discipline and demands the creativity necessary to communicate a more meaningful value proposition to the listener.


  1. Oprah » Points vs. Perks - April 24, 2008

    […] Cool Stuff wrote an interesting post today on Points vs. PerksHere’s a quick excerptFree Advice #2: One Million Viewers have become a member of Oprah Winfrey’s online community just to participate in a 10-week webinar with… […]

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