How loyal can points reward schemes be?

The article by Branwell Johnson (MW September 5) makes it clear that a points-means-prizes mechanism represents the tried-and-tested way to deliver coalition loyalty marketing programmes. But is it really effective in engendering true loyalty from consumers? Schemes like Nectar and Air Miles reward consumers for their purchases, but are we really loyal to these companies, their partners with whom we collect the points, or to the rewards themselves.

With an unsustainable points liability on their balance sheets, it is easy to understand why some Nectar partners would want to develop a new coalition loyalty programme. However, we have seen from past attempts at similar initiatives that the difficulties coalition partners face in sustaining consumer interest in such programmes.

In order to assess the merits of different loyalty initiatives we must understand what loyalty means to a consumer and how brands can use this to influence buying habits. Can multiple brands really achieve the same loyalty, passion and engagement as say football supporters direct to their clubs through a points-based scheme? We’ll have to wait and see.

Nick Chambers

Sales and marketing manager

Mzuk

London SW8

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