You can now earn points for doing just about anything: even Microsoft offers points to people who browse the web using its search engine, Bing. A group of casinos, including Caesars, Harrah’s, Bally’s, Flamingo, Showboat and many more, have been running full page ads in the New York Times touting their collective points programs.
As companies shift from mass to one-to-one marketing, points programs have become critical to engaging target audiences. Bloomingdales also runs full page ads touting a new points program at bloomingdales.com/loyalist. Many websites use points programs in myriad ways. As the points business grows, expect new entrants potentially from large players.
American Express created a LoyaltyEdge group two years ago that provides a full-service consultancy to help companies maximize results of loyalty programs; expect to see more big players drawn into the business as all of those points accumulate.
Is this another modern version of the trading stamp fad that will just go away?
In those days, marketers didn’t have the means to take advantage of the numerous targeting opportunities provided by loyalty programs; today, with electronic marketing, it costs almost nothing to communicate with engaged people.
The trick, of course, is the never-ending need to adjust strategies to satisfy and engage customers, of which points-programs are only a part.