It’s time to level loyalty’s playing field. By Beth Ann Kaminkow. Ah, the virtue of loyalty. Loyalty has long had an aspirational, positive, virtuous connotation. But could it be turning into a vice disguised as a virtue with a one-sided value proposition? In last year’s “loyalty” issue of the Hub, I began to explore the possibility of “The Loyalty Myth.” Even with the continued explosion of loyalty programs, technologies and platforms, the actual idea of loyalty is being exploited and lost. Loyalty continues to be more about what a manufacturer and retailer can gain from a consumer or shopper and less about what a consumer gains from his or her loyalty to a brand or retailer.
The loss of clear definition on the intent of loyalty programs has put it on a steep decline from a consumer-value perspective. Loyalty used to be more about meaningful value and rewards to an exclusive group of brand loyalists; it is now more about customer retention in order to amass the biggest heap of data in order to grow short-term value for the company. This is unrequited love at its worst. At a time when consumers have more choices than ever, it is risky business. read >>