Friday, April 12, 2013


My large collection of Loyalty Cards (there's more...)
See more of my square photos on instagram
Everyone knows I'm a huge United fan. But what would I do if Delta offered me a "better loyalty program"? How I would respond is the difference between Loyalty and LoyalMe. CEOs, it's time to pay attention.

Loyalty.  How much money does your company dump into your loyalty program?  Look at your analytics... the money your dumping in, is it paying off?  Often you would say, "yes."  But the truth is that you're only buying more time until another company offers something better.

I remember listening to a top level executive of a major hotel chain (who I won't name for their sake) say, "The reality of Loyalty is that I'm always looking for what's best for me and my interests."  Recently I was reading through Marriott Insiders about Platinum for Life (something I'm very close to, and very actively trying to reach), I noticed a lot of people saying, "Marriott should bend the rules for me because I have the points, but not the nights."

Many loyalty programs offer huge bonus drives like Marriott's MegaBonus (or MegaMiles).  These bonus programs only work so well.  They drive people to use your brand until they see a better option.

Loyalty Runs Dry.  I have a number of friends who were high up on the Hilton Honors program.  Through Marriott's Platinum Challenge I was able switch them over to Marriott.  Out of the five that I switched (at that time), one of them compared Marriott to Hilton for about three months.  Then it was silent; Hilton had died.  But I promise you, those same people will switch back as soon as they get a better offer.

LoyalMe.  Will I ever give up on Boeing, United, Marriott, or Taco Bueno?  No.  In fact, two of those four companies don't even have Loyalty Programs.  So, what's the difference between Loyalty and LoyalMe?

I am sold out.  Through consistency, and constant affirmation and appreciation (not some bonus program) from these brands, I have found that I do not want to turn my back on them, because they have not turned their backs on me.

These brands keep a constant dialog with me, and take part of the exciting things going on in my life.  I'm not a number to any of them.... I am a person.

How do you get LoyalMe Customers?  They find you.  Look for customers who make an investment and spread the word about your company or product.  They may seem crazy (and most of us are), but we're crazy in a good way.  Grab those customers and protect them.  (If you find a true crazy person, maybe not so much.)  Encourage them to try new parts of your product or service.  Invite them to visit you (seriously, nothing was more exciting than visiting Taco Bueno's Headquarters).

The more you invest in people (and not their silly desires), the more they will be willing to die for your brand.

But, hey, I'm just some guy who likes to look at airplanes, so what do I know?