What is Premium Loyalty?

premium-loyalty-statJust about any time you visit a retailer, you’re asked if you are part of their rewards program. You give the cashier your phone number, acquire points, and eventually, receive a reward in the form of coupons or discounts.

Sign up. Get a Card. Get points.
Loyalty programs are usually that simple.

If consumers have loyalty cards or apps for just about every retailer, is this really loyalty?

How do you differentiate your loyalty program and keep your best customers coming back for more? Enter, premium loyalty. Premium loyalty programs are designed to help brands engage their best customers. By providing a premium level of access to experiences, savings and valuable benefits that go beyond what a free loyalty program offers, you integrate your brand into a customer’s everyday life and strengthen the relationship they have with your brand.

Free vs. Fee: Will Customers Pay for the Right Premium Loyalty Program?


With the abundance of loyalty programs in the market today, it’s no wonder consumers have become immune to offers and incentives. Yet, premium loyalty programs (often called VIP, Membership, or Paid Loyalty) are paving new ground in this mature field. In a tough competitive market, retailers as diverse as Amazon, Restoration Hardware and GameStop are using premium loyalty programs to take customer engagement, customer loyalty and incremental revenue to new heights.

Download our NEW Premium Loyalty Guide to Learn More


  • What is premium loyalty?
  • Free vs. Fee
  • Will customers pay for loyalty?
  • In free loyalty, what’s the risk?
  • Who’s doing premium loyalty well?
  • Is premium loyalty right for you?

Inte Q Announces Contract Extension with Kiwanis International

Inte Q, a leader in customer loyalty, is proud to announce an extension of its agreement to provide data management, analytics and strategy services to Kiwanis International, a global organization of clubs and members dedicated to serving the children of the world.

“We are pleased to continue our relationship with Inte Q. Our partnership has helped us identify opportunities to both grow and strengthen our club and membership base, in turn, helping Kiwanis International fulfill our mission,” said Pam Norman, Senior Director, Corporate Relations, Kiwanis International.

Inte Q provides Kiwanis International with reporting and analytics services to support club and member initiatives. This is crucial to the continued growth of Kiwanis International both in local communities and on an international scale.

“Inte Q is pleased to continue a partnership with an organization that is both generous, creative and passionate about making a difference in the lives of children around the world.” said Brian Hartman, Chief Client Officer, Inte Q.

About Inte Q:
Inte Q builds marketing programs that enhance customer retention, strengthen brand loyalty and drive incremental customer engagement. With over 35 years in the loyalty marketing business, Inte Q is a marketing leader focused on loyalty and CRM programs, paid-tier loyalty programs, marketing strategy, analytics, engagement benefits and platform services. For additional information, please visit inteqinsights.com.

About Kiwanis International:
Founded in 1915, Kiwanis International is a global organization of clubs and members dedicated to serving the children of the world. Kiwanis and its family of clubs, including Circle K International for university students, Key Club for students age 14–18, Builders Club for students age 11–14, K-Kids for students age 6–12 and Aktion Club for adults living with disabilities, annually dedicate more than 18.5 million service hours to strengthen communities and serve children. The Kiwanis International family comprises nearly 558,000 adult and youth members in more than 82 countries and geographic areas. Visit kiwanis.org for more information.

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Go Beyond “Likes” with Your Social Data

It’s not just about likes…brands need to see the bigger social media picture.

Despite the pervasiveness of social media, 70% of companies are still not collecting data from social channels.*

This doesn’t mean simply counting likes and follows, but actually looking at the data that can be gathered from a customer’s engagement with the brand. What is the conversational content and the overall sentiment? And, what information can that content tell you about the performance of recent campaigns?

Consumers are extensively talking about brands and products on social media. This offers brands the opportunity to learn which elements of campaigns are engaging and the overall opinion consumers have of their brand (as well as competitive brands).

Take social content data even further by leveraging its specificity and viewing the data in audience segments. You can then identify groups of high-potential consumers and target them with highly personalized campaigns.

The more you know about your customers and what they respond to, the more loyalty you can create.


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NCAA Tournament Upset Spikes Customer Engagement at Little Caesars

This article, originally titled, UMBC’s Historic NCAA Tournament Upset Makes for Major Customer Engagement at Little Caesarswas posted by Loyalty 360 on March 27th, written by Jim Tierney.

Before the start of the NCAA Tournament, Ed Gleich, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Little Caesars, said the following: “If a crazy thing happens and there’s an upset, it’ll be a big score for pizza lovers. And if the No. 1 (seeded) teams prevail, fans can still catch a great deal at Little Caesars with our high quality, HOT-N-READY Lunch Combo for just $5. Either way, customers win!”

Guess what, Ed? The ultimate NCAA Tournament upset occurred on March 16 when 16th-seeded University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) knocked off No. 1-seeded Virginia, 74-54—which marked the first time a No. 16-seed beat a No. 1-seed since the tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Before UMBC’s upset, 16 seeds were 0-135 all-time against 1 seeds.

Virginia finished its season with a record of their season of 31–3.

So, what does this mean for Little Caesars?

Well, before the NCAA Tournament began, Little Caesars made the following offer:

If any of the four 16-seeded men’s college basketball tournament teams defeated any of the four 1 seeds, Little Caesars will give away one free HOT-N-READY Lunch Combo to every family that goes into a participating store between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. (local time) on Monday, April 2, 2018 and mentions the offer at checkout.

How crazy will it be at Little Caesars on April 2?

“We expect long lines!” Jill Proctor, Corporate Communications Manager for Little Caesars, told Loyalty360. “If you’re planning on coming and claiming your prize, we suggest you show up early.”

Available at participating restaurants nationwide, the Little Caesars $5 HOT-N-READY Lunch Combo includes four Detroit-style DEEP!DEEP! Dish pizza slices and a 20-ounce Pepsi product, all served during participating hours. To qualify, you must place your order no later than 1:00 p.m. (local time). If you place your order after 1:00 p.m. local time, even if you were in line at 1:00 p.m. (local time), the offer will have expired and will not be fulfilled. The offer is limited to one HOT-N-READY Lunch Combo per family (defined as parents, children, siblings, and spouse).

It’s valid only at participating stores in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. No purchase is necessary.

“We’re thrilled that it happened actually because we’re really excited for all the hype and enthusiasm that this has generated for our brand,” Proctor added. “We’re seeing a ton of engagement online and in the media—customers are excited about the historic game and the free lunch.”


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Win with Mobile

In 2018, more people will want to shop from their mobile devices than ever before. These shoppers will demand a highly personalized, lightning-fast mobile experience.

Harnessing the power of mobile devices is no longer an option for brands – it’s a necessity.

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Loyalty Programs Leveraging Mobile

Where the eyeballs go, the money goes – and eyeballs are glued to the screens of mobile devices. If capturing screen time is the goal, then implementing a smart retention strategy from the beginning is imperative. The experience provided the first time a user opens your app will define your success. Show your customer how your app will easily add value to their daily life.

Once your audience understands the value your app provides them, developing loyalty and increasing engagement becomes a lot easier for you. The key is being able to provide helpful or important information to customers in real time. Are they near your store? Offer them a 20% off coupon. Is it raining outside? Offer a discount on the rain boots and umbrellas you sell in your store. The possibilities are endless.

Identifying moments when you can help your customers and providing them with incredibly relevant messaging are powerful tools for building loyalty.


Why Paid Memberships Are the New Loyalty

The below article was originally published by businessoffashion.com, written by Doug Stevens.

What if businesses could turn transient loyalty into something deeper and more engaging?

Spending on loyalty programs is through the roof.

In 2016, the consumer loyalty management market was valued at $1.93 billion. By 2023 that figure is expected to reach nearly $6.95 billion — an annual compounded growth rate of nearly 21 percent. In the US alone, consumers now collectively hold more than 3.8 billion loyalty program memberships!

And who could blame retailers for wanting loyal customers? It’s a well-worn fact that retaining a customer costs a fraction of that of finding a new one. Returning customers also spend more than first-time customers — up to 67 percent more! And if that weren’t enough, even a small drop in loyalty can be enough to kill a business. No one disputes the intrinsic value of loyalty. Which brings us to an inconvenient truth.

The Loyalty Lie

Most loyalty programs don’t generate loyalty. In fact, a 2012 benchmark study from Edgell Knowledge Network, which surveyed the loyalty programs of 60 retailers, found that customers of retailers that offer a loyalty program were not recognizably more loyal than customers of those that don’t. What’s worse, according to the same study, is that 81 percent of loyalty program members don’t even understand what their rewards entitlements consist of or how they’re redeemed. And this shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the average household belongs to eighteen loyalty schemes!

Retailers are spending mountains of money to retain the very customers they had the least chance of losing to begin with.

These findings were echoed in a 2017 study by Accenture, which also suggested almost a quarter of consumers actually have either a “negative or non-existent response” to loyalty programs.

Here’s the real punch in the gut though: According to a 2015 study by Colloquy, only 42 percent loyalty programme members are even active or engaged. Further research shows that, as consumers, we are most likely to seek out loyalty programmes with brands we already like. Thus, many retailers are spending mountains of money to retain the very customers they had the least chance of losing to begin with, in essence, subsidising purchases that would have been made anyway. Put another way, very few people will drink four bad cups of coffee simply because every fifth cup is free.

So, while it pays to have loyal customers, you can’t simply pay customers to be loyal.

But what if a business could turn transient loyalty into something deeper, more committed and more monogamous? What if the relationship between the retailer and the consumer could go from being transactional to being transformational and best of all, what if instead of paying customers to be loyal, those same customers actually paid the retailers they want to be loyal to?

 It’s a concept Amazon understands only too well. In its latest quarter, Amazon reported growing its paid Prime membership ranks by 47 percent. Prime consumption junkies spend 250 percent more each year than non-members. In fact, an astonishing 82 percent of US households with incomes over 110 thousand dollars per years are Prime members. And while standard loyalty programmes tend to bleed engagement over time, Prime members actually become moreengaged. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners noted that 73 percent of 30-day trial subscribers end up paying for the first full year of Amazon Prime, 91 percent of first-year paid subscribers renew for a second year and 96 percent of second-year paid subscribers renew for a third year.

Amazon is merely the tip of a growing spear of retailers awakening to the power of paid membership.

The difference of course is that Prime is not merely a points or rewards system but rather a carefully curated ecosystem of value, service and content.  It’s the veritable key to the kingdom of all Amazon has to offer. Special pricing, promotions, streaming music, on-demand video and of course, fast, free shipping are among the benefits members are willing to spend $99.00 per year to access. And Amazon is merely the tip of a growing spear of retailers awakening to the power of paid membership.

For ten dollars annually, Sephora’s Flash programme offers members unlimited free two-day shipping with no minimum purchase requirements. GameStop’s Power Up Pro and Elite membership programmes, $14.99 and $29.99 per year respectively, offer members a select set of special gifts, discounts, benefits and privileges. Restoration Hardware’s RH Member programme costs $100 per year to join and offers members a range of perks and privileges including free interior design services and early access to promotional events.

What’s love got to do with it?

What Amazon, GameStop, Sephora and Restoration Hardware understand is that there’s a difference between loyalty and love. Loyalty simply means you’ve managed to put a card in the customer’s wallet. Paid membership means you’ve secured a place in the customer’s heart (See: Creating Customer Love). Membership — even for a small fee — forms a sense of exclusivity and transforms the customer experience in a way that traditional loyalty programs simply cannot. Getting a customer to lay down a membership fee forms an entirely new degree of mutual commitment.  Even a small sunk cost will make a customer implicitly more engaged with a brand.

 Membership fees are true and present revenue a retailer cannot afford to lose.

By the same token, charging a membership fee creates an onus on the part of the retailer to deliver value against the heightened expectations the fee creates. After all, membership fees are true and present revenue a retailer cannot afford to lose, unlike the potential, future revenue traditional loyalty programs hope to realize.

Perhaps the most compelling reason of all to consider membership over loyalty is that consumers clearly want it. Research by Loyalty One suggests “sixty-two percent of consumer respondents said they would consider joining a fee-based rewards programme if their favourite retailer offered one.” Among Millennials, the numbers were even more compelling with “75 percent of 18-24 year-olds and 77 percent of 25-34 year-olds saying they’d pay to belong.”

Lastly, for retailers with a genuine interest in understanding their customers across channels, membership is the Holy Grail. A membership is true and unfiltered permission to engage and eliminates any ambiguity about the relationship. Paying members are more inclined to share personal information because they inherently understand that doing so contributes to shaping their experience with a brand. It’s this level of consumer transparency that allows brands to more clearly understand customer actions throughout their ecosystem and across channels.

So if you’re serious about creating truly loyal customers, I suggest you put their money where your mouth is. Paid membership is the new loyalty.

premium loyalty, paid loyalty, inte q

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New Research — Omnichannel Marketing: The Key Customer Experience

The below is an excerpt from “Omni-Channel Marketing: The Key to Unlocking a Powerful Customer Experience,”originally published by Target Marketing Magazine, written by Thorin McGee

“Omnichannel” marketing often seen as a retail buzzword. But with devices and communication channels proliferating faster than ever, the omnichannel customer experience is no longer something other marketers can ignore.

Target Marketing conduced a broad survey of their audience to ask how they approached omnichannel marketing and the customer journey. The complete results were just released in the report “Omnichannel Marketing: The Key to Unlocking a Powerful Customer Experience.

The report reveals just how important omnichannel marketing is across all industries, what aspects of it are most important to the modern customer journey, the challenges marketers face in implementing omnichannel best practices, and how marketers are building strategies to meet those challenges.

Here are some of the report’s core findings:

Who Cares About Omnichannel Strategy?

While omnichannel marketing is often seen as a priority for retailers, the need for omnichannel understanding, optimization and delivering a cohesive customer experience has become important to marketers across all industries.

We asked how important the omnichannel experience was in each respondent’s own industry. Only 6 percent said it wasn’t important, the lowest answer option, while 34 percent said it was very important, the highest possible response and the most common answer.

Chart 1: How important is it that customers have a cohesive omnichannel experience in your industry?Overall, 74 percent said it was important, fairly important or very important (essentially a 3 or higher on a five-point scale). That’s a high number for an issue that is often seen as a predominantly a retail problem. But when we look at how the different industries responded to this question, below, “retail and e-tail” wasn’t even in the top five.

Chart 2 Is it important that customers have a cohesive omnichannel experience in your industry?Retail comes in at 74 percent, but healthcare, travel, IT and financial services all had over 80 percent of respondents say omnichannel was “important” or more.

“In today’s environment, [omnichannel] is extremely important, no matter what industry you are in,” said one non-retail respondent. “Today’s customers are self-educating and want the ‘Amazon’ experience. We struggle to provide anything close to this.”

Whether you’re marketing financial services, healthcare, consumer package goods or B2B services, the omnichannel customer experience is an issue you have to take seriously. It will have a bigger impact on your brand reputation than any ad  you’ll ever buy.

Marketing Budgets, Customer Data and Other Obstacles

Creating an integrated, personalized, satisfying omnichannel customer journey is not easy. We asked what challenges stood in the way of delivering a better experience. For each challenge, we asked whether it was “Not a Challenge,” “Somewhat Challenging,” “Challenging,” “Very Challenging” or “Extremely Challenging.”

We distilled that into a 1-to-5 scale (1 for “Not a Challenge” and 5 for “Extremely Challenging”) to produce this Chart:

Overall, the answers to this question suggest that marketers do not feel overwhelmed by any aspect of the omnichannel experience. But they lack the budget, cross-platform data and customer recognition capabilities, and personnel with the necessary skills to create the omnichannel experiences demanded by today’s customer journey.

By far, lack of budget is the biggest challenge, with an average score roughly 10 percent higher than any other answer. That’s followed by lack of personnel with the necessary skills and knowledge, and accessing the data across channels (which can be viewed as a function of the first two, because it takes marketing technology and data know-how to track customers across platforms).

When we compare that to the answers for what respondents said made an omnichannel experience good — the report has room to get into those answers more, but they emphasized consistent brand experience, channel integration and tracking customers across channels — it becomes clear that the things necessary to create a great omnichannel experience are exactly what these challenges are preventing.

Marketers are aware of those gaps, and closing them is a major goal for many brands in 2018. While a quarter of respondents say they are decreasing omnichannel budgets, nearly half are increasing them, including 5 percent who are doubling their budgets to enable omnichannel marketing strategies.

Omnichannel Marketing Budgets: In 2018, do you plan to invest more budget into omnichannel services and capabilities than in 2017?Recalling that budgets were the top challenge, this is great news. Marketers need to invest in these capabilities in order to deliver those seven keys to a great omnichannel experience.

But as important as getting the budget for omnichannel is, marketers must apply those funds to the right portions of the customer journey to create a great customer experience.



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What is Hyper-Personalization?

If we know so much about our customers, why do we speak to them as if we don’t?

Being relevant to your customers is a meaningful way to create loyalty. Providing personalized communication tailored to an individual’s specific needs and interests has already become the expectation. Hyper-personalization takes this a step further.

Marketers focused on hyper-personalization are deliberately abandoning broad reach marketing messages and tactics and creating a myriad of campaigns for multiple groups of people.

By using predictive technology and data, brands can gain a deeper understanding of their customers as individuals. When targeting shoppers individually, they don’t have to work very hard to find the products and services they are interested in because you have designed the brand experience to bring the products to them.

Why is this such an important concept? Because it’s what people want. They want authentic experiences they can actually relate to—something that means something to them.


This morning, like every morning, I logged into my Spotify account (along with 75 million other Spotify users), and received a custom new playlist. A compilation of 30 songs specific to my taste in music were ready and waiting for me. It feels like a gift from a music-loving friend, who might have once made me a mixed tape with my name scribbled on the front.

I know these playlists, from Spotify’s Discover Weekly feature, were built by an algorithm, but they sure have a way of making me feel special.


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Executive Insights Webinar: 10 Ways to Get More out of Your Customer Loyalty Program in 2018

In a world where competitors are simply a click away, customer loyalty is more important than ever. If you want your customers to be loyal, you can’t treat them like everyone else. Doing more for your customers in 2018 will help your loyalty program do more for your bottom line.

On Thursday, February 22, 2018, at 12:30pm CST, Inte Q will host a webinar titled “10 Ways to Get More out of Your Customer Loyalty Program in 2018”, presented by retail marketing expert, Chris Duncan.

Chis Duncan, Chief Marketing Officer at Inte Q, works with clients to enhance their customer experience and Create Customer Love™ for their brand. Duncan was most recently the Vice President, Digital and CRM Marketing at Kohl’s Department stores, leading their digital transformation and launching their award-winning loyalty program. Prior to that, Duncan was Vice President of Marketing for OfficeMax, leading their B2B and B2C global marketing teams.

In this interactive webinar, we will address the following:

  • How doing more for your customer can do more for your bottom line;
  • What makes first-party data so valuable and what you can do with it;
  • 10 ways to get more value out of your loyalty program in 2018, including: creating a positive customer experience, embracing omni-channel marketing, viewing loyalty as a two way street, and so much more.

To register for this free, educational webinar, visit inteqinsights.com/2018LoyaltyWebinar.

Inte Q Customer Loyalty Webinar

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