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Showing the Love

Loyalty and reward programs have become a ubiquitous part of the consumer landscape. From coffee shops to food chains to, well, almost anything you can think of (a dental practice we know sends its patients gift cards on special occasions good toward their bill), you can probably find a perks program. For consumer goods companies, birthdays have become a particularly popular time to reach out. Case in point – one recent birthday saw an Optima Group professional enjoying a free coffee from one store, a free pastry elsewhere, a special birthday gift from a beauty goods shop, a free car wash, as well as dollars or a percentage off purchases at a wide array of favorite retailers.

A question we often hear from our clients is do their clients really care about these special perks and rewards, especially wealth management clients. After all, wealthy individuals and families don’t need these privileges, and receiving them is not going to have a meaningful financial impact on their lives. Our response is that that’s completely true, but it doesn’t matter. Why?

•  Everyone loves premium treatment and extra “stuff,” particularly those that don’t need it
•  It tells clients that you recognize they are special and are rewarding them for their loyalty to their organization
•  For those not yet in the “club,” it helps organizations sell through an aspirational marketing message – “you can be part of the club and get these great things too if you qualify”

Of course, special stuff alone is not going to sell and won’t compensate for a subpar offering. The underlying elements need to be at a minimum competitive, but hopefully perceived to be best-in-class. This includes the actual products, service provided, client communications and packaging. In addition, benefits need to make sense within the context of the program and client interests. A company renowned for its baked goods that offers a free salad for every tenth pastry purchased is probably going to raise some eyebrows. But, at the end of the day, if one is offered two comparable products or programs, who wouldn’t want the one that says, “you’re the best.”