Friday, April 15, 2011

Great article cited in Collloquy

I always talk about the "power of ego" as an important tool in membership marketing. Here is a great article written by Aline Ostrowski Share and posted in Colloquy on 4/12/2011 that I think clearly addresses this and brings some clarity to the topic. If you're interested, here is the post address

Ego + Power of Status = Incremental Business

by Aline Ostrowski Share

Although we all like to claim that we do not care about silly things like our position in society or our status among our colleagues, but admit it … we all have an ego that needs to be fed in some form. For some status is defined by designer clothing or a fancy car. For others, like me, it is all about the recognition of being a VIC (Very Important Customer). It is not that I think that I am better than anyone else, but it sure is nice to be recognized and rewarded for the continued business and patronage that I pay to select brands.

The truth is that it is not the status that makes me loyal to a brand. However, the experiences that the status enables makes me more loyal and makes me consolidate my spending. And the brands that do it right are those brands that take full advantage of a customer’s status to provide a set of experiences that continually endear customers. It is not status that drives loyalty, but the continual special experiences that foster preference and trust – two core elements of loyalty.

As a road warrior, I have the benefit of getting my ego stroked by my favorite brands. But the memorable experiences are those that come from being a VIC and the special thanks from these brands. Two quick examples to illustrate are: 
  • My favorite airline works hard to keep me happy. As a VIC I get the usual perks of boarding first, the occasional upgrade to first class, and special offers to use my points. Recently, however, I had a mix-up in flights that was of my own doing – the response from the customer service agent was just delightful. And although I did not get home any sooner than I had hoped, I was wowed by the efforts that this customer service agent made to try to help me out.  
  • When I check into my hotel of choice each week, I am greeted with smiles from the employees – they know me by name as if I were a celebrity. But the true test is when I go to another location of my favorite hotel, one that is not my home-away from home, and I am still greeted with the friendliness and appreciation that I am use to.
 Great experiences and as a VIC I feel nice, but “did it impact my purchase behavior?” you ask? Yes it has – even I, a loyalty veteran, am influenced… not because of the points, but because of how I am treated. I paid extra for my spring break trip this year just to fly with my preferred airline, because I trust that should something go wrong that they will take care of me and my family. And when traveling for other company business, I choose my regular hotel chain first even though I may be across the street from colleagues who are in another hotel.

Everyone has an ego – what are you doing to stoke the egos of your VICs? How are you making them feel when they engage with your brand or through your loyalty program?

You can have the best program in the world, but it will only be moderately successful if you do not feed the egos of your VICs or potential VICs.

Let me know what you think.

Erik's Experts in Membership Marketing Blog is written by Erik Schonher, Vice President of Marketing General, Inc. For more information, contact Erik at

No comments:

Post a Comment