Five steps in the right direction

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Yes, we agree with Alan Mitchell’s summary in “No rewards for buying loyalty ruse” (MW June 7) that the critical objective for any loyalty scheme must be to provide convenient and appropriate facilities to customers. However, we do not agree that there’s any comparison with the Eighties boom and upwardly spiralling margins and prices. Consider a few Nineties facts:

Price differentials in all markets are narrowing practically to the point of equilibrium.

Most service-based initiatives are immediately replicable.

Consumers are increasingly conditioned to the (apparent) benefits of mobility.They want pay-back not just product or service fulfilment.

All these issues are correctly focusing marketers’ attention on the opportunities for added-value marketing using relationship communications. The provisions of substantial added-value benefits to a customer base can offset the (perceived) gain by customers of moving their business to another (cheaper) provider.

Over six years, we have identified the following five key steps to successfully implementing a relationship marketing programme.

1 Isolate and address causes of defection

2 Focus on potentially profitable customers

3 Sell the programme internally

4 Ensure the objective is achievable and measurable

5 Aim high, go for customer growth, not just loyalty.

Chris Ogilvie-Taylor

Managing director

Marsden Grant Loyalty Marketing

London EC2

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