Why Loyalty Programs Fail

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The Dilemma: 

The concept of loyalty programs have great merit – reward your best customers to induce incremental visits.  Create advocates who introduce new customers to you.

There are, however, many pitfalls in proper executing such. The email received from United Airlines illustrates the challenges.

Having flown 2.65 million miles on UAL, I have been granted lifetime status as a Premium Platinum member which provides complimentary lifetime access to the Red Carpet Room, and up to 3 bags are checked for free.   Hence, the email I received yesterday from UAL regarding my upcoming flight for a TCU Business School meeting makes little sense.

UAL Baggage 1

Lesson for Golf Course Owners

Sending emails that are not of specific interest to the recipient increases your unsubscribe rate.  Email messages have to be carefully crafted and distributed based on the depth and accuracy of the information contained in your customer database. It makes little sense to me to send emails to:

  1. Golfers who live beyond 50 miles of your course last minute tee time specials.
  2. Men for ladies 9 hole wine and dine events.
  3. Ladies to the men’s club championship.

The examples are numerous, but the founding principle is that your email messages should be developed consistent with the information in your customer database.

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