Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Does Rewarding Engagement Work for Associations?

A few weeks ago, the Southwest Florida Ohio State Alumni Club emailed to say they had two tickets for the Ohio State at Michigan football game. To “earn” them, you need to sign up at their weekly events.

I joined the golf club last week. They have a passport program through which your passport is stamped each time you attend one of their member passport events. Each stamp earns one entry into a drawing for a $750 gift certificate.

The News-Press here Fort Myers ran a story last week headlined Spending has its rewards.  The story focused on the benefits of loyalty programs. 
  • “Instead of just creating an occasional visitor to your business, you’re creating a repeat visitor,” said Jessica Barton, vice president of account services for Spiro & Associates Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations.
  • On average, consumers are members of 7.4 loyalty programs and are active in 63 percent of these programs, according to the 2013 Maritz Loyalty Report. And 57 percent agree with the statement: “I modify when and where I buy, in order to maximize the (loyalty benefits) I receive,” the report stated.
    • Check your wallet/purse: how many loyalty cards do you have? (Don’t forget to include airlines, hotels, coffee shops.)
  • Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida gives rewards to both its employees and its customers. It has a Preferred Customer Card that gives shoppers a stamp for every $10 they spend before tax. After the card is full, they get $10 off their next purchase. Kirsten O’Donnell, director of public relations and marketing, said the card attracts both shoppers who really need to use a thrift store and shoppers who enjoy hunting for their items.
I realize loyalty programs aren’t quite the same for trade associations or professional societies.

But, should they be?
  • Couldn’t creating a powerful loyalty program improve your member engagement and retention?
  • What if your association’s “passport program” earned association members points toward a free registration at your next annual meeting?

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