Re-energising Membership/Subscription Services with Experiential Incentives

Posted in Consumer Promotions and Loyalty, Consumer Promotions, Gifts and Rewards, Consumer Engagement

by Chris Baldwin on May 1, 2017 12:00:00 AM

Hint: You need an effective consumer loyalty rewards programme

Motivating purchase is one thing. But what if your business relies on long term commitment from consumers – what do effective consumer loyalty rewards look like?

In the world of membership and subscription-based products and services, impulse purchase is a pipe dream. Businesses that require large one-off sign up fees – or ongoing payments over a set period of time – are often much more difficult to promote.

For those looking to crack the market in 2017 and beyond, or simply maintain their current customer base – it’s time to act, to listen to what consumers want, deliver it, and outpace competitors in doing so. So what’s next?

Are you offering true value?

The customer needs to be certain they’re getting the best possible deal before they part with their hard-earned money. So now it’s up to brands to get creative and carve out relevant consumer loyalty rewards to drive awareness, interest and loyalty.

The integration of incentives into an offering is certainly one answer to being able to offer true value.

We often see mobile phone companies providing contracted customers with material motivators such as games consoles and smart TVs. However, the actual efficacy of these promotions, in fostering brand allegiance, is up for debate.

Network provider, Orange, ripped up the rule book in 2004, with their Orange Wednesday’s consumer initiative, and many other brands followed suit. As a result, there’s been a huge shift in the way consumers perceive the value of memberships, subscriptions and contracts.

With research indicating that non-cash rewards are more appealing than cash and material goods – our eBook, The big picture: Cinema rewards and their starring role in incentive programs, explores this alternative perspective on incentive programs.   

Free ebook: The Big Picture  Looking to take an incentive programme to the A-list? Cinema rewards have got  real star power - download our free ebook and find out more.

Blockbuster benefits

Bolting benefits, such as cinema tickets, onto subscription services – e.g. TV packages, magazine or newspaper subscriptions – can influence audiences and redefine their behaviour.

One subscription-based sector that can benefit from implementing effective consumer loyalty rewards is the publishing industry.

With numerous subscriptions rushing to move online in these ever-more digital times, print publications are floundering somewhat – worldwide newspaper readership fell by 25% in just four years.

However, the harsh reality is that all publishers (both digital and print) are facing an uphill task. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to convince and convert new subscribers, while retaining current customers with a sustained sense of value…

It seems that going that extra mile to secure a loyal readership is more important than ever before. The onus is now on brands themselves to tip the balance and differentiate their publication by offering tangible incentives that motivate new and repeat subscriptions.

As competition for readership intensifies, the importance of customer loyalty cannot be understated. By setting foot outside of the conventional infrastructure, publishers can work on building committed relationships with their customers.

Offering something extra will bring additional value to a subscription – and consumer loyalty rewards such as cinema tickets can do just this. Finding synergy between publication, audience and incentive will always be crucial. But the ubiquitous attraction of big name blockbusters means that cinema tickets and vouchers are often first on the list. 

What consumers want


Both current customers, and recently on-boarded ones, can be difficult to retain. But there are certainly ways to boost the desirability of your service beyond the initial sign me up! phase.

Personalisation plays a consistent role in many of the most successful incentive programs operating today. Using new and existing data to tailor rewards, based on the behaviour and needs of each individual, brands can forge longer lasting connections with consumers.

Yet while personalisation and its benefits continue to grow as a business practice – only two out of five people have received a personalised incentive, despite 56% claiming that such an incentive would improve their consideration of a brand.

So, not only can brands use experiential incentives, such as cinema, to satisfy consumer demand for value – but also be seen to go the extra mile in order to deliver bespoke experiences that are relevant and appealing to those who receive them.

Beyond publications

Publications are, of course, just one example. Membership based businesses, such as gyms, social clubs and institutes can benefit in the same way. It’s just a matter of designing a program that resonates with your audience.

The real question is: What do they want from you?

“…we want the reward or incentive moment to truly resonate and create an engaging moment with the recipient – that means we need to be educated on what different consumer groups are really looking for when it comes to incentives.” – Jonathan Price, CEO of Virtual Incentives

Consumers expect more from brands than ever before. So don’t just bring something to the table – bring something different, bring something that speaks directly to each customer and shows them just how much you appreciate them.

Free ebook: The Big Picture  Looking to take an incentive programme to the A-list? Cinema rewards have got  real star power - download our free ebook and find out more.


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