Use Calendar Events to Strengthen Loyalty

Sep 08, 2005

By John Hennessy

According to an article in Promo Magazine, many marketers are offering unique back-to-school rewards for their customers.

Chase is rewarding United Mileage Plus Visa cardholders with additional miles for back to school purchases, including tuition payments at colleges and universities.

According to Joe Venuti, senior VP for Chase’s card services division, “We’re giving our loyal United Mileage Plus Visa card members a special back-to-school gift this year. Given the rise in credit card payments for school tuition and other school-related purchases, we couldn’t pass up this opportunity to reward our card members with double miles for these essential purchases.”

Retailers IKEA and Borders are both offering two miles for every dollar spent on in-store purchases.

New York regional drug store Duane Reade is offering members of its Dollar Rewards Club loyalty program a $5 bonus reward for every $50 spent on back-to-school supplies.

Moderator’s Comment: What are some creative ways to use calendar events to improve business while showing your customers and prospects you are paying
attention to them?

A restaurant recently opened a few blocks from a school in our neighborhood. On the first day of school, with dozens of parents blocks away, they kept to
their lunch and dinner schedule and remained closed in the morning.

Some of the parents brought their children to school for the first time and would have welcomed an opportunity to get to know other parents over breakfast.
Still others were in a celebratory mood and might have entertained the idea of walking a few blocks to join other parents for breakfast and some spiked OJ.

The restaurant should have used this calendar event to offer a parents breakfast special. A great opportunity to introduce a new establishment to a new
set of potential customers and garner some business in the process. Such an event would also have reinforced the other work the restaurant has done to support the school.

A few blocks down the street, the more established Starbucks was parents central.
John Hennessy – Moderator

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3 Comments on "Use Calendar Events to Strengthen Loyalty"

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Al McClain
Al McClain
16 years 8 months ago

While the United offer is a good one, and I’m sure they have done their homework on the projected payout, there are simply too many offers from the travel industry for consumers to digest. Same for the credit card companies. Every bill and statement comes with half a dozen offers inserted in the envelope, one attached to the statement/bill, and some more on the actual invoice.

I think the travel and credit card industries are addicted to these “special” offers, kind of like supermarkets have been addicted to trade allowances and promotions. It would be better to eliminate the bottom 90% of these offers, which probably only boost sales 0.0001% anyway, and work on doing a few really unique, and truly special offers, that will make the consumer feel the companies they deal with are really different.

Bernice Hurst
16 years 8 months ago

Excuse me, please, but just what is unique about giving away airmiles? In what way does this ubiquitous rewards show customers that you are thinking about them? As the proud recipient of visits from my daughter in Alaska courtesy of airmiles, I do not for a minute doubt their benefit and value but they are, after all, the easiest and cheapest thing to give away. Sure, giving away bonuses and double miles will encourage people to use their cards but, presumably, there are a lot of users who take the freebies and pay off their spending each month thereby not benefiting the card companies at all but giving themselves a pretty good cash-flow reason for not paying on the spot for purchases. I can only assume these customers are in the minority otherwise the offers would stop PDQ. A way to use calendar events to improve business? Try really paying attention to customers and not just trying to woo them with whatever is the easiest thing you can find to offer.

Mark Lilien
16 years 8 months ago
Bribing people with double miles for a couple of weeks doesn’t cause any lasting positive attitude or behavioral change. It might work to goose up sales temporarily, though. And if many other retailers are doing it too, it’s more of a defensive move. Using an event, like opening the restaurant at special times for special menus and specific audiences, is much more creative. It also helps position the business as a core part of the community, as opposed to just another boring place that wants your money. The restaurant could have donated $X to the school library for each breakfast sold, or could’ve shown video excerpts (in the background) of past school events, or could have alumni/student breakfasts, etc. For example, if the restaurant can use the donation tactic, they might be able to get the mailing list for the PTA. They could become the hangout place for coffee and cake after the monthly PTA meetings. They could become the monthly food fight place after the school board meetings! (Or maybe that would be better… Read more »

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