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Customer Loyalty Awards

Loyal customers keep every successful business afloat. Repeat business provides a valuable base flow of revenue. Keep this revenue stream flowing strong by establishing a loyalty awards program. Customized products from promosonline.com are an excellent motivator to promote customer loyalty.

A good loyalty reward program begins with the customer. First, identify the type of customer that qualifies as exceptional. Perhaps this customer has been loyal for a number of years. This customer may not visit as frequently as some, but he or she is always reliable. On the other hand, you may qualify a customer who devotes a good deal of resources to the company on a regular basis. Whatever the qualifications, it's important to identify and recognize loyal customers to encourage this type of business.

Once loyal customers are identified, reward these customers with a free promotional item and public recognition. Even a small promotional product can be rewarding. Let others know of your giveaways by announcing the loyalty program. The positive public recognition may increase sales. Meanwhile, the customer who is acknowledged will feel special for being recognized as exceptionally loyal.

Customer loyalty awards can translate into long-term stability for the company. It doesn't take an enormous amount of resources to maintain the continued loyalty of a customer. What is does require is a little extra effort to set you apart from your competition. Just a small gesture to show the customer that loyalty is truly appreciated.

The loyalty business is booming, garnering almost as much attention and excitement as it did in the heydays of S&H trading stamps, when housewives feverishly collected and traded Green Stamps for matching casserole dishes and umbrella stands.

Loyalty has become the mantra of marketers, moving strategies far beyond the one-time purchase, the sample or the sweeps. It's all about getting to know that customer, earning and keeping their business and staying in touch.

In one of the most compelling examples, Coca-Cola North America launched My Coke Rewards earlier this year, a consumer rewards program covering its entire brand portfolio. The program includes 4 billion unique redemption codes worth a cumulative $50 million, making it the company's largest reward program ever. A Spanish-language version marks the company's first fully bilingual, Internet-based initiative. The program plays on a tactic Coke uses in some of its most successful promotions, hiding a code under-the-cap. Players then register online to redeem rewards.

Truly understanding the loyal consumer is a top priority. To get at these often elusive characteristics, marketers are surveying a cross section of consumers — both loyal and new — and then drilling down to get a clearer profile of what makes their most loyal customers loyal. The data is then used to generate look-a-like acquisition programs to bring other great customers into the fold.

“You can get a better picture of the consumer and then be able to communicate with them in a more relevant way,” says Carlos Dunlap, VP-strategic consulting with Maritz Loyalty Marketing, St. Louis, MO.

Loyalty has also taken hold in the sports world.

In February 2005, NASCAR debuted its first-ever loyalty club, The Official NASCAR Members Club, in an effort to target and unite the sport's 75 million fans. NASCAR hoped to attract the 40 million people it considers its die-hard fans. And last March, Major League Baseball launched its first loyalty club. Platinum Club members get access to city-by-city, year round special events where they can interact directly with players. Members get invites to player parties, meet and greets, cruises and camps and lots of other benefits.

And loyal customers are certain to add to a company's bottom line.

Harrah's Entertainment saw its 2005 revenues rise 56.3% to $7.1 billion, due in part to increased gambling activity by members of its Total Rewards loyalty club. A nationwide “Winning Will Find You” campaign last year sparked growth in the program. Under the program, consumers who enrolled on-site got a 12-pack of Coca-Cola and a free movie rental from Blockbuster. One of 38 cans got the enrollee a trip to Atlantic City and an entry in a drawing for $1 million.

Loyalty “programs” have even begun to creep into the corporate world as employee incentives. Just like a frequent flyer can build points to redeem for merchandise or an airline flight, employees can now earn points based on a variety of job performance criteria to redeem for life-style experiences, gift cards or merchandise. The programs keep employees engaged, focused on performance and dedicated, hopefully for the long haul, says Karen Renk, the executive director of the Incentive Marketing Association.

“This is just one application of an incentive program to meet an ever widening series of corporate goals,” she says.