Free Kittens

…and they’re so cute!

Facts do not cease to exist just because they have been ignored.

That’s a quote from Aldous Huxley, and in our times, its a wise one to remember.


I don’t really have any kittens. That’s the first problem.

It doesn’t matter how cheap what I’m selling is if you don’t want it. If you don’t want a kitten, you wouldn’t take one if it was free. That’s the second problem.

It doesn’t matter how loudly I speak if you have already left the room. That’s the third problem.

Now for the facts: Your loyalty reward program is not very good. In fact, the majority of your loyal listeners find your communication with them totally irrelevant. See for yourself.

I’m not saying you’re not trying. Listeners are saying you’re not relevant to their lives.

Why does this happen?

First, because we haven’t used our loyalty reward programs, or any part of our database outreach, to listen. Have you asked your “club” how often they want to hear from you? Have you asked them what they consider important enough information to deserve an email in their In-box? Have you solicited feedback on the specific things they would like to earn from their loyalty? You can yell as loudly as you like, but if I no longer come into your building, it doesn’t really matter.

Second, I see frequent “bait and switch” tactics in many loyalty rewards programs. The headline says I can win a trip to Switzerland, but the really small print reveals the truth. Just about every industry in America is guilty of this one. From coupons that require a super large drink that costs as much as the free burger, to promos that trumpet trips that are only free if you sit through 2 full days of high pressure condo sales pitches, no one likes feeling manipulated or fooled.

How about your station? Have you “given away” a car in your headlines, but actually only leased it for a year, with very limited mileage, in the small print? Do you post “prizes” on your Rewards page long after they’ve been won and claimed?

Why would anyone do this to their best customers?

If you can’t have a conversation with your best customers, what chance do you have of listening to those who might really like what you offer? And no one likes to spend time with someone who never listens to their issues, their lives, their problems.

If you can’t find out what motivates each person in your “club” and find a way to offer content and rewards that are actually relevant to that individual’s needs, what’s the point? If you’re using your rewards program to get rid of the crap you don’t want on the air, how valued do you think that makes your best customers feel?

Someone on your staff, in your company, has to be the brand champion.

Someone has to have the authority to say no, to refuse to offer something as a reward that logic and intuition say is mostly unwanted.

Someone has to assume the responsibility of listening, of engaging in conversation, of at least trying to have a true relationship with your very best customers, or eventually, they’ll stop listening, they’ll stop opening your emails.

Wouldn’t you do the same? Don’t you already do the same with those airline and car rental emails?