I’ll stick my neck out to back Nectar

Does Nectar deserve the sour grapes it has received in the media? I don’t believe it does: to convince major retailers to join forces in this programme represents in itself a breakthrough for loyalty and relationship management.

It is far too early to judge Nectar. I would say the measure of its success will be whether it raises the bar on relationship-building and managing customer relations through improved understanding of customer data.

The scheme should not set out to engender loyalty for Nectar or the coalition partners, as Nick Chambers (MW last week) suggests. Rather, the intention should be to use the information gained through the scheme for useful and more relevant relationship marketing initiatives which can genuinely add value for consumers.

Nectar’s arrival could be the catalyst for a new era, in which a more customer-centric approach is adopted by loyalty schemes. Consumers can only gain by the wider choice offered by competing schemes.

Through wider application of the data collected, Nectar’s partners can target key customers and manage communications and offers to create long-term value and loyalty. In doing so, the scheme’s emphasis will shift from short-term sales to long-term change in customer behaviour and buying habits, allowing for “measured marketing” – optimising marketing spend – through the scheme.

If Nectar can introduce “below the radar” initiatives via customer relationship management, it will breathe fresh life into loyalty schemes and more importantly deliver the competitive advantage and return on investment that will prove the detractors wrong once and for all.

Rob Purdie

Marketing strategy director

Carlson Marketing Group

London SW15

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