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the first club™ launches worldwide roll-out of Film and Television content rewards through a VOD Partnership with CANALPLAY for the French Market

London and Paris – 25th, September 2012 – the first club™ (TFC), a global leader in digital rewards and loyalty solutions today announced expansion of its digital content portfolio by a new video-on-demand partnership with CANALPLAY.  This partnership will add more than 5,000 French and English language film and television choices across 23 different categories includes comedies, horror, action, adventure, and family.

The customer experience allows all members of each loyalty program powered by the first club™ solution will have access to this very large  film and television content catalogue of recent hits and cult films from CANALPLAY in France under the Film section of www.thefirstclub.com site using any Program currency.  This content is added to the millions of choices of digital media available through the first club™‘s digital rewards solution including its B2C site thefirstclub.com, as well as brand specific loyalty programs, and will be the first film catalog launched as part of the TFC overall film content strategy to work with the top VOD providers in all markets.

Denis Huré, Co-founder and CEO of the first club™ states “This partnership  with Canal+ is the first in a our planned worldwide film roll-out strategy thus continually providing the best content and value to all our Clients’ reward members.  We strive to provide diverse content which continues to be a tremendous benefit in expanding our loyalty and rewards solution across the world, and comes at a critical time when loyalty programs are looking to differentiate themselves.”

One of the biggest shifts taking place in the loyalty world today is the digitization of rewards and loyalty programs, as evidenced by a report released by the company earlier this year called Loyalty: Looking Forward. the first club™ believes that 2013 will see downloadable digital content increasingly being used by companies to promote brand loyalty and to incentivize customers to instantly redeem their rewards from any device, and any time.

the first club announced as one of the Top 10 Must-Dos for Loyalty Programs By Chief Marketer

The full article can be viewed here.

The excerpt highlighting digital rewards can be found below:

6. Instant Rewards: InterContinental Hotels Group incorporated a new redemption category, digital instant rewards, that it hopes will encourage new members and light users to see value in its loyalty program and stay dedicated to the brand. Its 65 million Priority Club members now have access to download music with as few as 300 points, 800 points earns popular games once more than 1,200 points have been earned, software for the home office, foreign language education and multimedia tools are available. The idea to offer instant rewards came from member research.

Priority Club Rewards

A Successful 2012 Season for Audi ALL4ONE

 

Valencia, Spain – 22.09.12 – The 2012 season ends up on a good note that confirms the 2012 trend for Audi ALL4ONE, as the team finished one more time on the podium, with a second place on the Audi Valencia Cup.
After winning Kiel Week and moreover the Copa del Rey, Audi ALL4ONE confirms after its creation 3 years ago that the team is amongst the best ones in the world, after three seasons on the 52s circuit (Audi Med Cup and then 52 Super Series).

They have said:

Jochen Schümann, Skipper & Sports Director: “We had a very good week for the final event of the season, we finished second, thanks to a solid performance throughout most of the days, and we are quite proud to finish the season this way. We had two main highlights this season, one with Kiel Week finishing with first places only, and the other one with the Copa del Rey where we had a good performance winning the event against Audi Azzurra (who is now the winner of the 52 Super Series season). So we had two big wins at two major events, and that was exactly what we planned for. We learnt how to sail our new boat after the problems we met last year, making it lighter and changing the sailing configuration was a good move. The 52s are still amongst the best race boats in the world, it is a pleasure to sail on these boats and there’s a really good competition, and we had a very efficient season given that we had only small means to put in. So we did very well for what we spent.”

Stephane Kandler, ALL4ONE’s CEO: “What a great season! I am very proud of my team on shore and on the water. We have really made achievements this season after an unsure winter, the loss of a sponsor, and the breakage of the boat 2 days before the first race in Barcelona… No one has never given up and we have achieved the best season since the creation of ALL4ONE in 2009: victory in the Kiel Week, victory in the Copa del Rey and two more podiums in the 52 Super Series (ex-Audi MedCup), where we have competed against the current best sailing teams in monohull racing.
The objective of ALL4ONE was to be able to be competitive against the best teams in 2 or 3 years and we have proven it was possible on different events (Louis Vuitton Trophy, Audi MedCup) despite much lower means than the big teams. I am particularly proud of what we have done so far. I thank all our partners who have enabled us to make those achievements: Audi, Canal+, thefirstclub, adidas, Soitec, Liros. I hope it may help others to support us and that we will have the opportunity to pursue the story on other boats and events: we are still hungry of successes!”

Final Ranking Audi Valencia Cup after 4 days of racing

  1. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA) 15 pts
  2. Audi All4One (GER/FRA) 22 pts
  3. Rán Racing (SWE) 26 pts
  4. Quantum Racing (USA) 25 pts
  5. Gladiator (GBR) 32 pts

Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE’s 2012 European Tour:

  • Trofeo Conde de Godo, Barcelona, May 23-27
  • Kieler Woche, Kiel, June 16-24
  • Royal Cup, Palma, July 10-14
  • Copa del Rey, Palma, July 16-21
  • Valencia Cup, September 18-22

Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE on the Valencia’s Cup start line

 

Valencia, Spain – 17.09.12 – After a nice victory in the famous Copa del Rey, right after a podium place on the Royal Cup, (the two events that took place in Palma de Mallorca last July), and a great event at Kiel Week in June, Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE is back to racing on the 52 Super Series circuit, with its ultimate event that will conclude the 2012 season this week in Valencia, Spain.

This week will also be highlighted by the presence of Kazuhiko Sofuku as bowman on board. This very talented Japanese sailor, who is known as “Fuku”, has taken part to no less than 4 America’s Cup (2 campaigns for the “Nippon Challenge”, before joining two American teams: One World and BMW Oracle Racing). He has also been World Match Race Champion two times.
Kazuhiko Sofuku, Bowman, comments: “It is an honour for me to sail with this team. I’m very much looking forward to starting the competition.”

Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE is now ready to take the start of the Valencia Cup, where the Franco-German team will fight again its usual competitors from the 52 Super Series for the last time this season.

Stephane Kandler, ALL4ONE’s CEO, declares: “After very successful races in July (victory in the Copa del Rey and podium in the Palma 52 Super Series) we are glad to be back on the water. The team has sailed on different platforms during the summer and we hope to be as competitive as we were in July when our boat sailed in its new configuration. We will welcome a great new team member as bowman: Kazuhiko Sofuku alias “Fuku” from Japan. He has immense talent and experience and it fits well with our open philosophy for team members. We are looking forward to sail against the top teams of the series and prepare the next season which is planed to start in the USA at Key West in January.”

Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE will start the regatta with the official training race on Tuesday, which will be followed on Wednesday by the first races of the competition that will take place until Saturday included.

Crew list for the Valencia Cup:

  • Boris Herrmann – Navigator (GER) (German champion 505 class, 2008 Artemis Transat-2nd in Class40 (single-handed), 2009 Winner of the Global Ocean Race (double-handed around the world), Barcelona World Race)
  • Kazuhiko Sofuku – Bow (JPN) (4 America’s Cup campaigns, MedCup Circuit, Wolrd Match Race Champion)
  • Paolo Bassani – Mid-Bow/Floater (ITA) (3 America’s Cup, Whitbread, MedCup Circuit)
  • Albert Jacobsoone – Pit (FRA) (7 America’s Cup campaigns, MedCup Circuit)
  • Pascal Rambeau – Strategist (FRA) (Olympic Medallist, Star World Champion, French Match Racing Team)
  • Juan Meseguer – Jib Trim (ESP) (2 America’s Cup, 1 win, Volvo Ocean Race, MedCup Circuit, Match Racing)
  • Gilles Favennec – Grinder(FRA) (2 America’s Cup campaigns, French Match Racing Team, MedCup Circuit)
  • Ignacio Braquehais – Main Trim (ESP) (4 America’s Cup, MedCup Circuit)
  • Pietro Mantovani – Mid-Bow – Grinder (ITA) (2 America’s Cup, winner Audi MedCup 2010 in GP42 series)
  • Jochen Schümann – Skipper/Helmsman (GER) (3 America’s Cup campaigns-2 wins, 3 times Olympic Gold medallist and 1 silver medal)
  • Jorge Ondo – Grinder (ESP) (1 America’s Cup, Circuit MedCup)
  • Jordi Calafat – Tactician (ESP) (1 America’s Cup campaign, 1 win, Volvo Ocean Race, Olympic Medallist (Gold & Bronze))
  • Diego Torrado – Floater (ESP) – (IMS, GP42 and TP52 Circuits since 2006)
  • Stephane Kandler – Floater (FRA) (One Ton Cup, IMS 50)

Shore Team:

  • Paolo Bassani (ITA) – Boat Captain
  • Stefano Riva (ITA) – Technical crew (2 America’s Cup, Louis Vuitton Trophy, TP52)
  • Diego Torrado (ESP) – Technical crew and sailor (IMS, GP42 and TP52 Circuits since 2006)

Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE’s 2012 European Tour:

  • Trofeo Conde de Godo, Barcelona, May 23-27
  • Kieler Woche, Kiel, June 16-24
  • Royal Cup, Palma, July 10-14
  • Copa del Rey, Palma, July 16-21
  • Valencia Cup, September 18-22

Priority Club Rewards adds Digital Rewards

InterContinental Hotels Group is to offer its 65 million Priority Club Rewards members a new way to redeem Priority Club points: Digital Rewards. From the first club™, a global provider of instant digital rewards, Digital Rewards is designed to provide members with the latest in downloadable content including music, games, and software. According to a Mintel survey, members are motivated by loyalty programmes that provide instant and easy ways to redeem.

The Digital Rewards offers have been integrated with Priority Club’s existing point redemption choices. Examples of the new offers include well known songs from popular artists across genres including pop, country, alternative rock, R&B, and oldies, starting at 300 points. Popular games such as sports, action/adventure and puzzles are available from 800 points. Software for members’ home offices, foreign language education and multimedia tools are also available, starting at some 1,100 points.

Original Document from The Wise Marketer.

IHG Adds Instant Rewards to Encourage “Light User” Loyalty

For the average consumer who travels a couple of times a year, at best, earning enough points as a hotel loyal member to redeem for a free night’s stay, car rental or another high-point reward can seem almost an impossible task. One hotel, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), has debuted a new redemption category that it hopes will encourage new members and light users to see value in its loyalty program and stay dedicated to the brand.

The category—digital, instant rewards—is a shift toward value during a time of economic uncertainty that has greatly affected hotel loyalty programs. With approximately $16 billion dollars in loyalty points that went unredeemed in 2011, hotels are focused on reaching low threshold members, with relevant rewards.

IHG is offering the rewards, developed by the first club™, a provider of digital rewards, to its 65 million Priority Club members. With as few as 300 points, members can download music; 800 points earns popular games themed in sports, action and adventure, magazines and puzzles, and once more than 1,200 points have been earned, software for the home office, foreign language education and multimedia tools are available.

“Our primary goal is to engage light users and new members who have not built up point balances and who don’t realize the value yet,” Don Berg, vice president, loyalty program, IHG, said. “Instead of waiting for three or four more stays, they can redeem quickly and be more engaged early on. They will realize this thing has value and continue to seek out our hotels. There’s a stickiness to the rewards program when you can get people to experience what the value proposition is, which is of course, redeeming points. If you can get your members to be engaged with what your product is they will naturally give you more business.”

IHG, which surveys its loyalty members on a regular basis, used surveys to determine what members liked or didn’t like about the program, what they wanted and how it could be improved. Instant rewards came out of that research and the concept was then tested with about 300 members.

“We wanted to have a full understanding of how it would perform before we put it out in the marketplace,” he said. “We know through the surveys that these programs are influential and impact member behavior.”

An extensive network of electronic communications delivers messaging about the new digital rewards category, including email, e-newsletters, bloggers and the Priority Club website.

IHG does in the range of $200 million in redemption value per year.

“That’s a lot of value being redeemed by our members and a lot of interest in the program,” Berg said. “It doesn’t take long for members to find out about these things, because there’s a pretty strong viral component to these announcements.”

He said IHG was the first hotel chain to offer a loyal program in 1983 and that it still has 50,000 original members actively earning points.

“Loyalty is exploding in the marketplace because customers are price conscious,” he said. “If you can build a relationship with a customer, especially one that is less price sensitive, you can avoid discounting and move yourself ahead of the competition.

Research by Colloquy has shown that 32% of respondents said the recession has influenced their participation in loyalty programs. IHG hopes instant rewards will encourage more frequent participation.

“The whole idea is to keep people engaged everyday,” Jill Goldworn, president and co-founder of the first club™, said.

Original Document from Chief Marketer.

the first club™ and IHG Partner to Offer Priority Club Digital Rewards Program

priority club rewards

First-in-kind program introduces instant point redemption for Internet and mobile downloads

LOS ANGELES and ATLANTA, May 30, 2012 – Starting this month, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), which manages the world’s largest hotel loyalty program, Priority Club® Rewards, will offer its 65 million members worldwide yet another fast and flexible way to redeem Priority Club points. Digital Rewards™ from the first club™, a global provider of instant digital rewards, is designed to engage consumers with the latest in downloadable content including music, games, and software.

The first hotel loyalty program to offer comprehensive digital rewards, IHG illustrates the industry’s move toward relevant rewards that keep guests engaged, regardless of their point accumulation. According to a Mintel survey, members were motivated by loyalty programs that provided instant and easy to redeem opportunities.

“We are a hotel loyalty program with many firsts and the new Digital Rewards offering continues this tradition,” said Don Berg, vice president, loyalty programs and partnerships, IHG. “Our innovation and partnerships are driven by recognizing what our members value most, and making it available through Priority Club Rewards before other loyalty programs.”

The Digital Rewards program has been designed by the first club™ to be readily accessible and visible through priorityclub.com, particularly to members whose past point redemption preferences indicate a likely interest in the new offering.

“We’re very excited to have developed IHG’s digital rewards redemption offering. They have embraced digital rewards as a new phase in loyalty and customer engagement, and we’re ready to help expand their existing successful rewards program to a new level,” said Jill Goldworn, President and co-founder of the first club™.

Leisure travelers, particularly families, want value from their hotel loyalty programs. Digital Rewards is a flexible option to help those with low point accumulations find an alternative point redemption option. And, all members will benefit from the fact that the Digital Rewards offers have been easily integrated with Priority Club’s existing point redemption choices.  Through the first club™’s global licensing agreements, members will have access to the most current and largest library of digital content available on the reward program market.

Some examples of the new Digital Rewards point redemption offerings include:

  • Well known songs from popular artists across genres including pop, country, alternative rock, R&B, and oldies – starting at 300 points
  • Popular games such as sports, action/adventure and puzzles – available from 800 points
  • Software for your home office, foreign language education and multimedia tools are available – starting at just over 1,100 points

By providing millions of titles of branded digital content such as eBooks, games, music and software, the first club™ creates  relevant rewards by satisfying consumers’ desire to get a product when, where and how they want it. Furthermore, research by Colloquy¹ has shown that 32 percent of respondents said the recession has influenced their participation in rewards programs.

Visit IHG’s Digital Rewards Page to browse the full catalog of music, games and more. If you are not yet a Priority Club Rewards member, the program is always free to join by calling 1-888-211-9874 or downloading our mobile app.  Start experiencing great benefits like No Point Expiration and No Blackout Dates for booking Reward Night stays, when you earn through easy, unique ways such as the Priority Club® Select VISA card.

the first club joins Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE as Official Sponsor

Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE introduces new Official Sponsor the first club™ on the occasion of Trofeo Conde de Godo in Barcelona (23-27 May), which is the first step of the French-German team 2012’s season.

Denis Huré, the first club™’s CEO, explains with lots of enthusiasm: “We are honoured to join as a sponsor of the ‘Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE.’ The partnership with this team is an opportunity for us to continue increasing brand awareness at an international level. The promise of the first club™ platform is to offer the most compelling digital solution to the loyalty, promotional and corporate incentive markets. As the first branded multilingual platform in the space, with millions of downloadable choices anywhere in the world, how you want it and whenever you want it. The platform can be integrated with a brand’s own loyalty points or miles. the first club™ has provided flexible solutions to international companies such as InterContinental Hotels Group PRIORITY CLUB® REWARDS, Sodexo Group and Edenred with more exciting partnership announcements to come.”

After the winter preparation that was organised by the Shore Team, followed by a training and tests session in Valencia early May with the sailors, Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE is now ready to start this new season with a lot of freshness and envy.

Stephane Kandler, ALL4ONE’s CEO, confirms: “We are delighted to get a new partner for our project who has been seduced by the similarities between our companies: multi-cultural and technology driven. Like ‘Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE,’ it is a young innovative and international company that wishes to approach the competition with a new strategy. After the winter works and the first successful tests made in Valencia at the beginning of May, we wish to validate some of our options in Barcelona during our first real racing conditions against our future competitors. This will enable us to keep on developing the boat for the season, which will see us participating to the 52 Super Series and the Kiel Week.
Unfortunately Jochen Schümann has not recovered yet fully from a hand injury, and Jordi Calafat finishes its round the world race with “Team Telefonica” (on the Volvo Ocean Race), so we will have a slightly different team for Barcelona. We have therefore found a promising solution as we will host a large part of the crew from the successful former Spanish TP52 “Bribon” on board, which will bring their history and new eye from their experience on another reference of the TP world. We will sail this regatta without pressure and our objective will be to play as many podiums as we can.”

Crew list for Trofeo Conde de Godo – Barcelona : 

  • Boris Herrmann – Navigator (GER) (German champion 505 class, 2008 Artemis Transat-2nd in Class40 (single-handed), 2009 Winner of the Global Ocean Race (double-handed around the world), Barcelona World Race)
  • Jean-Marie Dauris – Bow (FRA) (2 America’s Cup campaigns, MedCup Circuit, RC44, Olympics)
  • Paolo Bassani – Mid-Bow/Floater (ITA) (3 America’s Cup, Whitbread, MedCup Circuit)
  • Albert Jacobsoone – Pit (FRA) (7 America’s Cup campaigns, MedCup Circuit)
  • Pascal Rambeau – Strategist (FRA) (Olympic Medallist, Star World Champion, French Match Racing Team)
  • Juan Meseguer – Jib Trim (ESP) (2 America’s Cup, 1 win, Volvo Ocean Race, MedCup Circuit, Match Racing)
  • Gilles Favennec – Grinder (FRA) (2 America’s Cup campaigns, French Match Racing Team, MedCup Circuit)
  • Ignacio Braquehais – Main Trim (ESP) (4 America’s Cup, MedCup Circuit)
  • Stephane Kandler – Runner (FRA) (One Ton Cup, IMS 50)
  • Francesco Scalici – Mid-Bow – Grinder (ITA) for Trofeo Conde de Godo (1 America’s Cup, Louis Vuitton Trophy, MedCup Circuit-TP52 – 2009 to 2011)
  • Manuel Weiller Vidal – Tactician (ESP) for Trofeo Conde de Godo (MedCup Circuit in TP52 and GP42 since 2006, Coach for the Spanish Olympic match racing team since 2011, RC44, Melges 32)
  • Gonzalo Araujo – Helmsman (ESP) for Trofeo Conde de Godo (MedCup Circuit in TP52 since 2006, Volvo Ocean Race)

Shore Team :

  • Paolo Bassani (ITA) – Boat Captain
  • Stefano Riva (ITA) – Technical crew (2 America’s Cup, Louis Vuitton Trophy, TP52)
  • Diego Torrado (ESP) – Technical crew and sailor (Circuits IMS, GP42 and TP52 since 2006

Gonzalo Araujo, Helmsman for Trofeo Conde de Godo, (Former Helmsman for Bribon), concludes: “First of all, it is an honour to replace such a good sailor as Jochen, one of the best ever, and I’m of course very happy to come back into the TPs, and with Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE in particular, which has been one of the top teams in the Circuit in the past years. I’m glad to sail again the Trofeo Conde de Godó here in Barcelona, which is one of my favourite sailing places.
I’m very excited to sail with this crew, some of them are good friends, but all are professional sailors.
Anyway, for the Team it is the first regatta this season; so it’s a different approach than for other the teams.
There are some crew and boat changes this season, so for this first test the expectations are more on the process than on the results: the main goal is to start working again together, to understand the new boat configuration and performance, and to try to finish the week working as a crew, and well prepared for the next events.
As a helmsman, I will fight for every race as always, but with the main goal for the week in mind, as a part of a season that is still starting for the Team.”

The competition starts on Thursday!

Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE’s 2012 European Tour

  • Trofeo Conde de Godo, Barcelona, May 23-27
  • Kieler Woche, Kiel, June 16-24
  • Royal Cup, Palma, July 10-14
  • Copa del Rey, Palma, July 16-21
  • Valencia Cup, September 18-22

Original Document from Audi ALL4ONE website.

the first club™ Expands Global Footprint and Digital Rewards Offering With New Partnerships in Russia, Mexico and Brazil

the first club™ Expands Digital Rewards Offering to Brands Through New Partnership Offices with Russia-based LMC Group, Mexico-based Digital Loyalty Rewards, and a Brazil-based partnership between Souza Aranha Marketing and Fernando L G Guimarães Publicidade 

Los Angeles, CA – 26, January 2012the first club™ (TFC), a global leader in digital rewards and loyalty solutions has announced a new partnership with three new local offices as part of the Company’s global growth strategy.  The first is Moscow-based licensing and promotions agency, LMC Group and this partnership will bring the first club™‘s digital rewards solution including its B2C site, to brands and loyalty programs in Russia while expanding the company’s presence further across Europe.

Based in Moscow, LMC Group was founded in 2004 by veterans of the loyalty marketing space and retail business industries. Fully aware of the continuing shift toward digital rewards and the mobile platform, the company offers licensing, promotional and loyalty solutions, and is the perfect partner for the first club™‘s digital rewards platform and licensing programs.

LMC Group will also represent the other services of the first club™ including licensing services, digital sales promotion campaigns, theatrical partnerships, and viral marketing campaigns.

Vladislav Us, founder of LMC Group adds: “The current economic climate demands inventive, cost effective promotions and rewards tools for businesses to draw, retain and reward customers. We want to deliver these solutions including the first club™ to Russia with the same effectiveness and creativity that the company has already brought to the European and U.S. markets.”

The Russian agency will be an especially powerful asset known as a thought leader in the loyalty sector, will aid in the  expansion ofthe first club™ in Europe while benefiting international travelers from the first club™‘s other competitive submarkets in the UK, Mexico, Continental Europe and Turkey. 

Mexico City-based Digital Loyalty Rewards was founded by veterans of the marketing and Mexican retail business industries. Taking advantage of the continuing shift toward digital rewards and the mobile platform, the company offers licensing, promotional and loyalty solutions, and is a perfect match to the first club™‘s related core services.

Digital Loyalty Rewards will also represent the other services of the first club™ including licensing services, digital sales promotion campaigns, theatrical partnerships, viral marketing campaigns and many more.

Daniel Suarez, founder of ­­­Digital Loyalty Rewards adds: “The current economic climate demands inventive, cost effective promotions and rewards tools for businesses to draw, retain and reward customers. We want to deliver these solutions including The first club™ to Mexico with the same effectiveness and creativity that TFC have brought to the European and U.S. markets.”

And our third partner office is Sao-Paulo based partnership between Souza Aranha Marketing, a consultancy firm, and Fernando L G Guimarães, a relationship marketing expert and author (Os Pilares do Relacionamento translated,”the Pillars of Relationship”), with a solid reputation throughout Brazil. Mr. Guimarães helped create and manage the Smiles Program, from Varig, currently Gol, a leading Brazilian airline, and experience managing loyalty programs with several manufacturing and FMCG companies, and serves as a board member of Abemd, Associação Brasileira de Marketing Direto (Brazilian Direct Marketing Association). Souza Aranha (www.souza-aranha.com.br) is a consultancy firm specialized in CRM representing in Brazil companies such as Salesforce.com, Miller Heiman and Direxions. Mr. Eduardo Souza Aranha, head of the consultancy firm, was also part of the team that structured the Smiles Program and is a board member of Abemd, as well. The result of this combined partnership will no doubt strengthen the first club™‘s relationships in Latin America.

Denis Huré, Co-founder and CEO of the first club™, believes these partnerships will bring tremendous value to all of the companies’ clients. “Their experience, knowledge and strong relationships with brand partners within their respective markets will be a tremendous benefit in expanding our loyalty and rewards solution across the world, and comes at a critical time when loyalty programs are looking to differentiate themselves.”

One of the biggest shifts taking place in the loyalty world today is the digitization of rewards and loyalty programs, as evidenced by a report released by the company earlier this year called Loyalty: Looking Forward.  Both the first club™ and ­­­­­­­Digital Loyalty Rewards believe that 2012 will see downloadable digital content increasingly being used by companies to promote brand loyalty and to incentivize customers to instantly redeem their rewards from any device, and any time.

the first club™ has developed a unique portal where consumers can access the very latest in digital content including over 60 million choices in apps, mp3s, PC games, mobile content, eBooks and Audio Books, and shortly movies, in return for redeeming rewards instantly.  The portal has been specifically designed to enhance loyalty reward programs, corporate incentives and sales promotions giving unique access to the entertainment world on a global scale.

Team Extreme – the first club™ ready to get in the ring of the extreme sailing series in Singapore!

Singapore – 06.12.11 – Supported by Stephane Kandler, SOITEC and the first club™“Team Extreme – the first club™ is taking part in the Extreme Sailing Series in Singapore from 9th – 11th December, together with the fleet of the famous Extreme 40 catamarans.

After a first day that was dedicated to the boat’s assembling, (they can actually be entirely put in parts and shipped in containers from an event to the next one), Team Extreme – the first club™ has been training today with its 9 competitors, (Emirates Team New Zealand, Alinghi, Luna Rossa, Oman Air, Red Bull Extreme Sailing, to name a few), sailing today on the race course that stands in the heart of the city: a true nautical stadium where all spectators are VIPs, and where action will take place just in front of their eyes near the “Singapore Flyer”, that offers a fantastic view of the city from Singapore Barrage’s area.

Today’s training was very positive and productive for the young Team Extreme – the first club™, whose enthusiasm is communicative, and that will focus this week on achieving the best possible result for its first participation in the Extreme Sailing Series circuit.

Jean-Christophe Mourniac, Helmsman“the goal on this event is to discover a new team, to start a nice story, and to give our best while sailing, but we have to be realistic, as we get into the circuit at the end of the season when the other teams are well experienced. We will work hard as we are competitors, and we will discover the game at the same time, but giving our best whilst enjoying ourselves, as it is important. The first day has been very positive, we had good starts, and all the race simulations that we did with the rest of the group ended up with nice results, thanks to our starts, spontaneousness, boat speed, so I hope it will continue.”

Sebastien Col, Skipper, Tactician and Mainsail trimmer: “I discovered a lot of things today, a new crew, a new racing format, a new boat. It was really interesting, and quite fun, also with a lot of pleasure as the training went really well, with a good spirit. We start from very far, but with a solid basis. I think we will be able to play in this regatta in Singapore. I really enjoy it, as it’s physically demanding, we always have to be early in the manoeuvres, in order to have enough time for tactics. It’s really great, as 10 days ago I was sailing the Transat Jacques Vabre across the Atlantic, and the challenge to switch from one discipline to the other in sailing is really exciting for me, that’s really what I like.”

Christophe André, Bowman: “We did quite good training races today, where we’ve been fairly aggressive in order to allow ourselves a good start in the competition. But we have to remain humble and serene, as we are beginners on that boat, and we have a lot to learn. We’re very much looking forward to racing, after having validated our material and our way to work together on board. We know each other for a long time, as we’ve all sailed together at some point in the past. We now have to enjoy a lot, not to bother too much, and to face the difficulty to have had a short time for training with serenity. We just need to improve and get one lesson out of our work everyday. We just want to avoid big mistakes, and to try to play with the best teams while staying with the fleet.”

Franck Citeau, Genoa Trimmer: “I think that this new experience mixing capabilities is really great. Sailing with people who are match racing specialists, and that bring us a bit more rigor than what we are used to on small catamarans, is tremendously interesting. The mix between Jean-Christophe and I on one side, and Seb and Christophe on the other side, allows two worlds to meet, even if Christophe also has a lot of experience in multihull now. Our goal is to do the best possible result, to get a maximum of experience, and to enjoy. I think there is enough room to reach a good result, and in any case that will be our motivation.”

The first official races will be starting tomorrow, (Wednesday, December 7th).

Is loyalty a missed marketing opportunity for mid-sized retailers?

By Mark Croxton, managing director, UK&I, Aldata

Organisations have been taking advantage of loyalty schemes ever since the Co-operative (or the ‘Rochdale Pioneers Society’ as it was known then) launched its dividends scheme in 1844. The most notable loyalty system today is probably the Tesco Clubcard, started in the mid 90’s by Grant Harrison and Dunnhumby. Schemes continue to evolve, with Debenhams recently announcing a loyalty system using an iPhone app, helping the brand to interact directly with customers via their phone handsets.

According to the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, it is recognised that when loyalty scheme members are happy with the benefits of a programme, they will be less fussy about in-store prices, and more likely to return to the store and provide repeat business .

However, these days consumers are targeted with a variety of cards, vouchers, offers, membership deals and subscription-only loyalty schemes. Many of these soon become ineffective as consumers sign up to gain the benefits, but simply receive mass-mailed marketing and general, non-specific promotions.

A problem of size?

Although many loyalty programmes do function well, there is a perception that these are only run by large companies; smaller organisations are limited to ‘cards to get stamped’ to get a free beverage, for example. Indeed, many mid-sized retailers have hesitated over getting into loyalty because of the perceived barriers to entry. Many retailers believe that loyalty systems, with their complex tracking and prediction algorithms, are both difficult and expensive to implement.

But let us take a step back for a moment. There are many mid-sized organisations which are better suited to loyalty schemes by virtue of their specialism or the nature of their services. Small hotel chains, for example, are in regular physical contact with their customers, presenting a strong opportunity for a bespoke scheme and tailored communications. They also gather a wealth of data via bookings systems, which they could potentially feed into loyalty systems, providing customers with offers which exactly suit their requirements – or offer them new opportunities, encouraging new visits and building up the store relationship with the customer.

Loyalty schemes can certainly help these mid-sized players compete with their larger rivals andengage with existing customers. A tailored experience and custom-fit offers can go a long way to make customers return to the store again and again. It also offers a way of testing new products and services with existing loyal customers, or cross- and up-selling. Tesco’s Clubcard, for example, makes no secret that although most of the discount vouchers sent out are for already-purchased items, two out of every six are for items related to existing purchases, expanding sales opportunities.

A new wave of accessible loyalty

As we have said, many small retailers and organisations believe loyalty systems to be inaccessible because of the cost barriers. However, this is far from the truth – with the latest wave of ‘Software as a Service’ offerings, companies can purchase ‘pay as you go’ access to loyalty solution, based on a rental, rather than purchase model, eliminating many of the costly outgoings.

Indeed, Finlandia (a chain of boutique independent hotels in Finland) is using a highly effective loyalty programme, and pays for its loyalty software based on the number of customer sign-ups to the scheme. Finlandia also charges customers €26 for its loyalty card for three years, so the procedure is quite painless from a budgetary point of view.

Once organisations do overcome the perceived barriers, loyalty schemes not only increase customer ‘stickiness’ but also enable organisations to engage with customers, improving brand experience both in-store and out. It can also act as a catalyst for business and a safety net in adverse times.

Today’s need for loyalty

To put this in context, customers included in Finlandia’s loyalty scheme currently account for 5-25% of turnover. During the downturn, overall sales dipped by 20%, but sales from customers in the loyalty scheme only dropped 10%, clearly showing the value of such a scheme properly executed.

Although retailers can hesitate over loyalty schemes, mid-sized retailers should not flinch from the opportunities which they can present. In fact, with many of the issues now a question of perception, rather than of fact, and with a loyal customer often making the difference between a lean year and a good year, now is certainly the time to get involved.

Original post from Ulta Marketing.

Retail Loyalty Programs: Pain Killer or Vitamin?

by Jon Wurfl, Retail Solution Principal, SAP

At a time when retailers struggle to retain and attract key segments of their shopping audiences, customer loyalty management, practiced as a strategic element of their business plans, can drive sustainability and differentiation into the enterprise. One mistake many retailers make: Viewing loyalty programs as a short-term source of brand buzz to jumpstart sales and lessen the pain of the tough economic climate.

Done right, retail loyalty programs can indeed “bring people back to the brand.” A successfully delivered loyalty program has immediate benefits to a retailer’s top line. In this economy we’ve witnessed  shoppers switch to every-day low prices in a dash to get economic benefits as soon as possible. But loyalty, if delivered successfully over a period of a time (at least four or five consecutive quarters), can go from painkiller to vitamin. If you put in the time and effort to develop a well-thought-out loyalty program that truly engages with customers on their terms, the program will pay dividends that go far beyond just a quick hit of interest.  Our studies show retailers have the opportunity to drive the top line of their revenue by 20 to 25% annually thanks to a well-executed loyalty program.

To keep receiving the benefits of this organizational “vitamin,” however, you have to keep at it, keep working on your loyalty program, constantly refining the benefits, engaging regularly with your shoppers  to understand their wants and needs. Many programs I have seen don’t offer rewards that are truly in line with what members want. It is especially important for you to have “wow” perks for your most valuable customers – tickets to a home basketball game, for example, when you know the member is a fan.  To feel understood is thrilling for anyone, especially customers.

You can also give special access as a benefit for program members. For example, a book retailer could provide the first chapter of a popular author’s new book to his devoted fans. This creates a sense of entitlement as an insider, which can be even more potent than the perk itself. In this example, it costs the book store practically nothing to provide access to a download of the chapter, while being granted that access means a lot to customers who are fans of that author.

The point here is that once you start “doing” loyalty you must keep innovating your loyalty program over time as opposed to going backwards. Your customers are ever changing, and your program has to evolve along with them. If you can maintain your focus on the customer –  and your loyalty program reflects that focus – you can help give your organization the health-giving vitamin it needs to sustain growth.

Original document from SAP Community Network.

How Red Letter Days strengthened its affiliate programme

Background

Gift experience retailer Red Letter Days has been running an affiliate programme for five years. The affiliate channel has been a major focus for the organisation over the past few years and significant effort has been invested in growing this channel. In 2008 the programme was expanded to a second network, thereby increasing the overall presence of the Red Letter Days brand across the affiliate industry as a whole.

For Red Letter Days one of the main aims was to focus on consolidating affiliate relationships, and to continue to motivate affiliates to promote the Red Letter Days programme by engaging with them on an individual basis. The overall objective was to increase affiliate sales turnover by 15% in 2010.

Strategy

In the last few years Red Letter Days has seen its affiliate programme go from strength to strength; from a channel that only contributed 12% of total online sales, it has grown to a programme that now accounts for 30% of all its online sales.

Red Letter Days felt it was important not to neglect the foundation their success had been built on, or the affiliates who helped them achieve this. So its strategy focused on forging closer than ever relationships with its affiliate partners – both by getting out to meet them in face-to-face meetings and by building on its already thriving its incentive scheme to encourage greater than ever affiliate activity.

Implementation

In 2010 Red Letter Days hosted its first official affiliate day. The day was designed to bring Red Letter Days closer to their affiliates and to give them a chance to get closer to the brand by trying out some of the experiences offered by Red Letter Days.

It also set out to meet as many affiliate partners throughout the year. These were not necessarily the top performers but affiliates that Red Letter Days had considered significant contributors to their success. Meeting their affiliates would give the retailer a better understanding the challenges they faced and find out what could be done to improve the performance of their programme.

Red Letter Days had already been running a quarterly incentive scheme since 2009, giving affiliates the opportunity to push themselves through sales tiers to receive their desired prize. As the quarterly incentive scheme had been running for a couple of years, Red Letter Days had to ensure that it had an even more attractive proposal for their main Q4 Christmas campaign.

For Q4 2010, Red Letter Days offered affiliates the chance to win a trip to South Africa. The holiday was determined by a prize draw, but with a twist. Affiliates earned tickets into the draw in return for fulfilling certain criteria e.g. uploading a particular type of creative, or selling a particular product, rather than the traditional model of rewarding revenue generation alone.

Red Letter Days announced new ways to earn extra tickets into the draw on a weekly basis from October to December, to keeping affiliates continually engaged with the Christmas campaign. The winner was announced on YouTube in the form of a video showing the final draw.

Meanwhile Red Letter Days also honed its voucher code offering. The use of voucher codes has always been an issue at the forefront of the affiliate industry. Red Letter Days tackled this by developing a solution that displayed or hid the basket promo code box based on the type of referring affiliate. This ensured that customers driven from non-voucher code sites would not see the box (and therefore not be prompted to search for a voucher code), whereas visitors from a voucher code site would see the box.

The next stage of this development incorporated the embedding of a “deal id” in the inbound URL, allowing Red Letter Days to create bespoke deals for individual affiliates. The “deal id” was associated with the affiliate id therefore making it impossible for another affiliate to replicate the offer. Deals can only be obtained by clicking through from the relevant affiliate site, therefore giving the affiliate’s customer a higher call to action and ensuring that the customer returns to the affiliate site to activate the deal; creating stickiness and loyalty.

Results

Through strong communication and close partnerships the Red Letter Days programme continues to grow; the number of active affiliates contributing to this success has increased by 300%.

Between 2009 and 2010 online sales through the affiliate channel grew by 20%. In 2010 the average affiliate basket size grew by 20%, from £90 to £108. URL based deals has driven an increase of 212% in traffic and 68% in revenue from content sites.

Original document from Ulta Marketing.

Red Letter Days Launches the first club™ Digital Rewards Solution for Members

red letter days lifestyle with the first club

LONDON, June 3, 2011 – Starting this week, in partnership with the first club™, experiences specialist Red Letter Days will be offering its customers digital rewards.  the first club™ is a global provider of instant digital rewards, designed to engage consumers with millions of options of the latest in downloadable content including music, games, mobile apps, eBooks, and software offered instantly worldwide.

“We’re very excited to be expanding Red Letter Days’ offering to include digital rewards. They have embraced digital rewards as a new phase in customer engagement, and we’re ready to help enhance their programme of voucher options with additional redemption possibilities,”  said Denis Huré, CEO and co-founder of the first club™.

Relevant Rewards for today’s Digitized Consumers

In a report called Loyalty Looking Forward released earlier this year, the first club™ found that 48% percent of customers spend more with a company that offers products relevant to them.  A “relevant reward” is a product available at a time and place of the customer’s choosing, one that the customer intends to buy anyway—a current “want.” In other words: Time, Place, and Demand.  By providing millions of titles of branded digital content such as eBooks, games, music and software, the first club™ satisfies all relevant reward logistics.

Digital rewards offer Red Letter Days a flexible reward alternative to integrate into its existing offering.  Because there is no “physical” requirement, the first club™’s digital rewards can be instantly implemented into existing programme elements; adjusted to reach new targets; and measured using any existing CRM process.

According to Andy Ling, Head of Product Development at Red Letter Days, “That’s one of the most important factors about the first club™’s digital rewards. Their program is easy to implement into our existing programme, giving us a flexible cost-effective solution. Add to that, the concepts of relevancy, straight-forwardness, and attainability, and digital rewards promise to keep customers coming back to Red Letter Days.”

the first club™ currently provides the latest in digital content to brands all over the world, and its licensing agreements with music companies, publishers and game developers means that Red Letter Days members will have access to the most current and largest library of digital content that is available in the reward programme market.

To learn more about the digital rewards programme being implemented by Red Letter Days, or to speak with Denis Huré, CEO and co-founder of the first club™, please email denis@thefirstclub.com or for press inquiries, please contact Vanessa Horwell at Vanessa@thinkinkpr.com.

Case Study: Digital Rewards for Loyal Tech Customers

Sapphire Technology added digital rewards, in the form of ClubCoins vouchers, to its loyalty program in order to acquire new members.

Challenge: Acquire loyalty club members.
Solution:
 Add a layer of non-proprietary online rewards to facilitate instant redemptions.
Results:
 Since complementary program implementation, 25 percent of the instant online rewards redemptions have been from new members.It may seem intuitive that Sapphire Technology, a manufacturer and supplier of graphics cards and mainboards, would offer its loyalty club members digital rewards. After all, it has a severe-looking, cross-armed female avatar staring down anyone daring to visit the rewards page. But it did take Sapphire a few months to offer that aspect of instant gratification to its Sapphire Select Club (SSC) members.

The Hong Kong-based company with a Canadian office in Markham, Ont., launched its loyalty club in October 2009 by offering members exclusive product information, access to events and contest prizes ranging from Honda scooters to iPads. But by summer 2010, the company decided it was time to offer Sapphire’s tech-savvy customers instant online rewards, says Adrian Thompson , Sapphire’s vice president of marketing and loyalty.

In June 2010, Sapphire tapped Santa Ynez, Calif.-based online instant rewards and incentive service the first club™ to offer loyalty club members digital prizes.

SSC members who purchase products from Sapphire are eligible for online currency that can be redeemed for downloadable music, games, software, mobile applications, audio books and eBooks. Movies may also soon be available.

Thompson says Sapphire placed online advertisements and sent emails to its loyalty club members to alert them to the new rewards. Information also appeared on the website, in newsletters and on social networks.

These new rewards also meant adding a membership tier. SSC Silver membership provided the old rewards. SSC Gold membership added in the digital rewards, as long as Gold members completed a form requesting their graphics card serial numbers in addition to the data the overall membership form requests—name, email address, and more specific information such as birth date, gender, areas of interest, product interest and opt-in possibilities for Sapphire’s email list and “screened third party” marketing.

Depending on the purchase, Gold members receive vouchers for 25, 50 or 100 “ClubCoins,” which they can redeem for digital rewards, Thompson says. Since including the digital prizes in the SSC, Sapphire’s run six separate rewards campaigns.

Original Document from Target Marketing Mag.

The Key to Loyalty

By Nick DiUlio

Retail rewards programs are gaining in popularity, but the quick-serve industry hasn’t quite figured them out.

For years Brandon Ansel frequented Steak n Shake on a monthly basis. He was a regular, a loyalist in the purest sense. Slowly, however, his habits changed, and Steak n Shake faded completely from his mealtime routine for more than a year.

Then one day Ansel got a promotional coupon in the mail, and he was back on the horse.

“That coupon came because [Steak n Shake] knew I was once a regular, and it got me back in the door,” he says. “I’ve now been back there five times in the last month alone.”

Ansel owns and operates a Biggby Coffee and a Roly Poly in the town of Jackson, Michigan, and recognizes the importance of the loyalty programs he has implemented at his two quick-service locations. Even though Ansel knows he already has a loyal base of customers, he also knows habits change, and a successful loyalty program, he says, helps guard against the fallout from customers’ fickle dedications.

“We are creatures of habit, and loyalty programs reinforce habits,” Ansel says. “If we don’t have a way to constantly stay in front of customers, we run the risk of them forgetting about us and developing other habits.”

Evidence seems to be growing in support of the potential power loyalty programs could have in the quick-service sector. A recent study conducted by First Data, an information commerce provider that processes point-of-sale transactions, surveyed more than 2,400 U.S. consumers about their attitudes and behaviors toward loyalty programs in the retail and travel industries. It concluded that consumers are more eager than ever before to sign up for reward programs.

But while 60 percent of quick-serve loyalty program participants report using their rewards membership “every time” or “most times” when making a purchase, the survey also shows that the quick-service industry has the second-lowest rate of participation in retail loyalty programs, edging out only sports teams. According to the study, the low rate of quick-service participation in these programs is “primarily due to the limited availability and newness of such programs.”

The time seems to be ripe for owners and operators to step up their loyalty efforts.

“For operators, loyalty programs are first and foremost a great way to bring better insight into a consumer base,” says Stuart Kiefer, vice president of loyalty solutions at First Data. “Most of these quick serves don’t know much, if anything, about their individual consumers, and the nice thing is that loyalty programs provide all the metrics you need to know your customer base.”

But gathering that data is the easy part, and experts say there is more to running a successful loyalty program than simply offering a frequent-eater card or rewards coupons.

Chuck Sullivan is director of hosted solutions for Radiant Systems, which provides technology solutions for loyalty programs in the hospitality and retail industries. He says the most critical consideration when rolling out a loyalty program is its ease of use on the front end. “It cannot have any impact on the speed of service,” Sullivan says. “You can have the best loyalty program in the world, but if it slows down your line it defeats the purpose.”

Sullivan says quick-service merchants should also make sure the program is as simple as possible for customers. If they have to jump through complicated hoops to gain their reward, he says, the program will not be effective. Finally, the rewards have to be meaningful to each individual customer.

Bob Paine, restaurant category consultant for Affinity Solutions, says operators should not only consider broad-based loyalty programs, but also ones that focus on a niche product or individualized consumer reward. For example, Paine says he sees great success in Dairy Queen’s Blizzard Fan Club, which rewards new members with a free Blizzard Treat e-mail coupon when they sign up as well as a buy-one-get-one e-mail coupon on their birthdays.

“The quick-service ice cream business has been keen on the idea of birthday loyalty rewards for some time now,” Paine says. “Not only does a free birthday Blizzard sound good, it’s also an opportunity for Dairy Queen to sell a bigger product when customers come in to claim their reward.”

While these approaches are all positive, Lori Walderich, CEO of IdeaStudio, a national restaurant-marketing consulting firm, says they only scratch the surface of the loyalty equation. “Too many quick serves just pull a discount or coupon out of their hats and think that’s going to generate a warm and fuzzy feeling for the brand,” she says. “It might generate a spike in sales, but management would be seriously misguided to conflate that with loyalty.”

Walderich says successful loyalty programs should ultimately aim at building a long-term relationship with customers, which means finding ways to not only reward repeat visits, but also ways to reward an increased frequency in those visits.

“Quick-service operators need to remember that programs work best if they’re structured in a way that rewards customers when they step up their loyalty just a notch,” Walderich says. “So maybe you turn a twice-a-month customer into a once-a-week customer, or turn a once-a-week customer into a twice-a-week-or-more customer.”

The loyalty relationship is also about feedback. Steen Anderson, co-founder and vice president of 5th Finger, a mobile-marketing agency that has overseen such national loyalty campaigns as My Coke Rewards, says operators need to have an open “feedback loop” with loyalty members. “You need to give the customer a chance to either choose a different offer or ask them what they prefer,” Anderson says. “You can use that as a poll, and you will know who prefers what.”

Eric Abrams, sales and marketing manager for Fishbowl Marketing, says social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are fantastic resources for building loyalty.

“Just be sure that when you start utilizing these sites you are prepared to pay attention,” Abrams says. “Guests who engage with your brand through these channels expect to be acknowledged and will graciously reward you if you do.”

Original document from QSR Magazine.

Can Technology Really Build Customer Loyalty with Banks

by Alex Matjanec

Over the past year, banks have been using technology to create new channels of communication, with the hope of deepening consumer loyalty. As other traditional benefits are swept away, can a multichannel approach be enough keep consumers from switching?

Last month, market research firm eMarketer released a report that banking online deepens customer loyalty among banks. This research should be valuable to banks considering a J.D. Power & Associates study found that retail banking consumers are shopping and switching banks faster than ever. The main reason being life circumstances such as; divorce, unemployment or moving.

The eMarketer study also mentioned the preferred banking method for U.S. consumers was online banking (44%) for ages 18 – 54 in 2010 and second most popular for those age 55 and older. Not surprisingly, for 18 – 34 year olds branch banking was the lowest among the age groups at 20 percent. This same age group pretty much never uses mail (1%) and had the highest usage of mobile banking at 4 percent.

With so many channels of communication available, the study determined that “online banking customers are more likely than offline customers to take advantage of additional services with the same bank,” and in the end, “are less likely to switch to another bank.”

In most situations, banks can’t control what life changing events occur to their consumers, but what they can control is how members engage with the bank for their financial needs. This, for me, is the key takeaway and reason why banks will continue to shift their business to rely more on services driven by technology such as; personal financial management tools, mobile check deposits and merchant-fund rewards.

Who are Online Banking and Financial Technology Targeting?

Based on findings, we now know that Generation Y is adopting a digital form of banking quicker. Giving any bank or credit union a new opportunity to become the primary financial institution for this generation. As much as financial institutions enjoy seeing their older members engaging with these tools, they also understand that the institution that connects with Generation Y will be in the greatest position for future profits.

Can this new level of multichannel engagement create a new from of vendor lock with banks? Would you be less likely to change banks if you were managing all of your finances through their online banking platform? What do you think?

Original document from My Bank Tracker.

Building loyalty in the mobile era

by ICLP Loyalty

The world is arguably undergoing one of the greatest media transformations in history. While the internet has been an evolutionary and revolutionary step, thanks largely to Apple, the mobile device has turned into a personal computer in the consumer’s pocket – and one which is always available and always turned on – offering marketers a whole new gateway to new and stronger customer relationships, according to Garret Ippolito of MasterCard.

We live a mobile lifestyle. This lifestyle has been fueled by the near ubiquitous penetration of messaging devices. You can’t escape it. Video screens are talking to you in the elevator, when pumping petrol or riding in a city taxi. How we consume media has fundamentally changed. Marketers have been treading slowly into the mobile pool. But we are at a point where it is critical to engage customers via the mobile device, creating whole new ways to experience your loyalty programme and enhance its value.

The number of global mobile subscribers is now at least double the number of global internet users and, as mobile internet usage penetration increases, these figures are starting to converge. In Western Europe and North America, the market has already hit a 3G penetration inflection point (3G being the technology backbone upon which smart phones operate). As such, the mobile era has truly arrived. The key question, then, becomes whether or not marketers can risk others solidifying customer relationships, or should they do it themselves?

World demographics are also rapidly changing. In East Asia, up to 60% of some country’s populations are under the age of 30. In the US, the second fastest growing age segment is under 35. Much of the online usage changes we are witnessing are being driven by the younger generation (for example, Twitter, Hulu, Shop Savvy, and FourSquare). This demographic is also the most mobile savvy. On Facebook alone, there are more than 65 million active mobile users (incredibly, 1 million users commented on their friends’ status changes via mobile handsets within the first 24 hours of this feature’s launch). This is a testament to the power of the mobile channel. But no one in the loyalty arena has yet locked in their relationship with this up-and-coming, mobile-savvy demographic. This is clearly an opportunity for loyalty practitioners.

So, in venturing into the mobile realm, it is critical not to have your mobile strategy dictated by the technology itself. Many mobile strategies go astray as companies do not fully understand how their customers use their mobile devices, instead adopting tactics merely because they want to be first, because their competitors are active in the space, or because it is seen as being ‘trendy’. Rather choose a strategy and tactics that support your business goal of solidifying customer relationships.

Original document from Ulta Marketing.

The Benefits and Advantages of eBooks

by Remez Sasson

An ebook is a book in electronic format. It is downloaded to a computer, PC, Mac, laptop, PDA, tablet, smartphone or any other kind of reading device, and is read on the screen. It can have numbered pages, table of contents, pictures and graphics, exactly like a printed book.

Ebooks present many benefits and advantages, and this article shows some of them.

It is very simple and easy to purchase and download ebooks through the Internet. It is exactly like purchasing any other product. The only difference is that after payment you will either be directed to a download page or receive the download link in an email. All you have to do is click on the link and the ebook will automatically download to your computer, to a folder of your own choice.

After download you don’t have to be connected to the Internet in order to read the ebook. You can stay offline. If you wish to have it printed, it is very easy. Just click on the print button in the ebook, to print it with your home printer.

What are the benefits and advantages of ebooks?

  1. Ebooks are delivered almost instantaneously. You can purchase, download and start reading them within minutes, without leaving your chair. You don’t have to go to a bookstore to buy them, neither wait for them for days, weeks and sometimes more to arrive in the mail.
  2. No trees are required to manufacture paper for the pages of ebooks.
  3. When you need certain information, you can get it immediately, by downloading an ebook.
  4. Many ebooks are sold nowadays with bonuses, which you usually do not get with a printed book. This adds value to your purchase.
  5. Ebooks take up less space. You practically don’t need any space to store them. You don’t need a library or a room for them. You can store hundreds and thousands of ebooks on your computer or reading device.
  6. Ebooks are portable. You can carry a whole library of hundreds of books with you, on CD, in a laptop, notebook or any ebook reader, without worrying about their weight.
  7. With today’s technology you can read ebooks everywhere, on the bus, train, airplane, and while standing in line.
  8. Ebooks are more safely stored and carried from one place to another, than ordinary books. They also withstand time more than books.
  9. Ebooks can show links, for easy access to more information and related websites.
  10. Ebooks are searchable. You can easily search for any information in an ebook, instead of turning page after page.
  11. Ebooks can be interactive and contain audio, video and animations, which can enhance the message that the author is trying to convey.
  12. Since ebooks are delivered through the Internet, there are no packing and shipping expenses.
  13. Ebooks can be printable, so that if you wish to read an ebook in the traditional way, you can very inexpensively print it with your home printer or at any printing shop.
  14. Fonts in ebooks can be resized, making it easier to read for people with disabilities. With an additional software it is possible to turn some of the ebooks into audio books.
  15. Ebooks are very easy to to sell and distribute.
  16. It is very simple and easy to purchase and download an ebook. People living in big modernized cities, in a remote village in a far away country or on a small island, can equally access an ebook. It takes them the same amount of time to purchase and download an ebook, provided they have an Internet connection.
  17. It is possible to purchase an ebook 24 hours a day, every day of the year, from the comfort of your own house or office. You can purchase and download an ebook, even if you are on a vacation. All you need is a laptop, tablet. smartphone, or a reading device, and wireless Internet connection.
  18. People are already spending a lot of time in front of their computers, so why not read and ebook, instead of doing something else?

 
Nowadays, one can find ebooks about every possible subject, fiction and nonfiction, free and not free.

Considering non-fiction ebooks, such ebooks disseminate knowledge not pages, which means that it is not correct to evaluate the price of an ebook according to the number of its pages. The price should be determined by the information offered, its usefulness and its relevance, and also by the amount of practical knowledge, inspiration, motivation, tips and advice, and by the uniqueness of the information.

Original document from Success Consciousness.

© Copyright Remez Sasson

Remez Sasson teaches and writes on self-improvement, positive thinking, motivation, peace of mind, spirituality and meditation. He is the author of several books, among which are “Peace of mind in Daily Life”, “Emotional Detachment For a Better Life”, “Will Power and Self Discipline”, “Visualize and Achieve” and “Affirmations – Words with Power”.

Visit his website and find articles and books filled with inspiration, motivation and practical advice and guidance.
Website: www.SuccessConsciousness.com
Books: www.successconsciousness.com/ebooks_and_books.htm

Forty-Four Percent of Consumers Have Had a Negative Experience with a Loyalty Program

A new study finds that Americans say loyalty and rewards programs miss the mark with membership benefits and aren’t driving loyalty.

ACI Worldwide, a provider of payment systems, released the results of a recent study of U.S. consumers that shows many retail loyalty programs leave consumers feeling under-appreciated, and many consumers are enrolled in programs they don’t completely understand.

Although three out of four Americans are members of at least one retail loyalty card program, 85 percent of members report that they haven’t heard a single word from a loyalty program since the day they signed up. Likewise, 81 percent say they don’t even know the benefits of the program or how and when they will receive rewards.

“Loyalty programs have long been a logical way to leverage consumer satisfaction, but retailers are missing the mark when it comes to reaching out to consumers with information and offers that are relevant to them,” said Rob Seward, senior industry marketing manager at ACI Worldwide, in a statement. “The end result is that memberships are becoming meaningless.”

While loyalty programs are designed to build devotion, they sometimes send mixed messages. Whether it was a reward they didn’t want (27 percent) or a reward that was too small to take seriously (22 percent), more than two in five consumers have had negative experiences from loyalty programs.

The survey also shows that the majority of American consumers (62 percent) join retail loyalty programs so they can get discounts on the things they buy most. However, only about one-third of Americans (36 percent) received a reward or promotion that made them come back to the store again and one in four consumers complain they have received a reward or promotion for something they would never buy. Conversely, only 27 percent of Americans have received a loyalty program reward or promotion that made them feel valued as a customer.

This survey was conducted in by Wakefield Research and involved 1,053 interviews of Americans aged 18 and older, using an email invitation and an online survey.

Original document from Destination CRM.