500FRIENDS BLOG
Loyalty trends & best practices

Should You Shift to a Spend-Based Program? Lessons Learned from American Airlines and Others

by Arif Damji
August 05, 2016
Should You Shift to a Spend-Based Program? Lessons Learned from American Airlines and Others

As of August 1st, American Airlines changed the method by which its (roughly) 100 million members earn miles on their airlines. Instead of the number of miles flown, as was the case for the past decades, it has now shifted to a spend-based model that is built on multipliers applied to the base fare purchased. As United and Delta made this move in 2015, we now have over 250 million members in the airline space earning miles based on spend. High spenders have been rewarded and we see a more transactional style of program becoming prevalent. In fact, the real lesson for other programs is not to simulate the same structure, but to understand the motivation and best practices apparent in these changes. Today, we’ll explore why the airlines made these changes, and... Read more

The Impact of "Brexit" on Developing and Operating Your Loyalty Program

by Arif Damji
June 30, 2016
The Impact of "Brexit" on Developing and Operating Your Loyalty Program

Last week’s announcement of the UK’s electorate decision to leave the EU was quickly followed by a number of humbling warnings for businesses based in the UK. UK consumers were told that their visits to the continent would be more cumbersome and expensive, businesses in the UK were warned of the riskier investment environments, and European talent was urged to look elsewhere. It is clear that the implications will be wide and significant, but for CIOs and CMOs with a significant investment in a loyalty initiative, there are clear and direct implications on their operational support and financing for programs. Here are a few thought starters... Read more

500friends, a Merkle Company Names Michael Hemsey President

by Julia Leyrer
June 16, 2016
500friends, a Merkle Company Names Michael Hemsey President

500friends, a Merkle Company announced the appointment of Michael Hemsey to President. Hemsey will lead the product strategy, market expansion, loyalty systems, and delivery for the organization as it continues to transcend the loyalty market. In addition, he will focus on the expansion of loyalty services into untapped industries and geographies. “500friends’s renowned reputation in the industry, combined with its powerful and innovative loyalty offering, make me excited to help enable brands in cultivating long, profitable relationships with their customers,” said Hemsey. “I look forward to building on these differentiators as part of an organization that offers an innovative platform, agile implementation, and cost-efficient loyalty solutions.” Read more

Striking the Right Balance with Loyalty Design

by Socheata Sam
May 31, 2016
Striking the Right Balance with Loyalty Design

With the proliferation of loyalty programs in the marketplace, wallets are becoming increasingly saturated with membership cards, mobile phones with retail program apps, and key chains with key fobs. In fact, the average American household is enrolled in 29 loyalty programs--the problem, however, is that they only actively engage with 12 programs on average. So, why are so many programs failing to engage members post-enrollment? For starters, loyalty program design can be challenging. One of the more foundational challenges--and perhaps one of the more obvious challenges--is balancing the interests of the customer with the priorities of the business. Striking the right balance here requires a deep understanding of what matters to your customers (deeper than what might be obvious), alongside clear and concise alignment across the entire business around loyalty objectives. The one-dimensional loyalty programs of the... Read more

Loyalty Marketing 2.0: The Search for Effective, Relevant, and Engaging Loyalty

by Zach Woith
May 19, 2016
Loyalty Marketing 2.0: The Search for Effective, Relevant, and Engaging Loyalty

Originally posted on The Huffington Post: To keep customers coming back, many companies have implemented customer loyalty programs based on transactions with promotions and discounts, and others have instituted programs based only on gamification and engagement. Although both structures have seen success in the past, they have been predicated and built on a brand-led choice, rather than from the customer perspective. Loyalty design was assumed to be a brand’s choice, and success was independent of that design. Today, a number of new programs have appeared with a clear idea of a customer-centric loyalty approach; one that combines customer excitement with a use of relevant transactional opportunities. This discovery of the right program structure has over time become based upon an understanding of relevancy to the customers and financial sense to the brand. In this article, I cover the... Read more

CPG Loyalty: How to Create an Effective Structure

by Arif Damji
April 19, 2016
CPG Loyalty: How to Create an Effective Structure

It is no secret that code-on-pack is on the decline. The approach of using product packaging as a method to allow registration of product purchases can be expensive to the brand and inconvenient for the customer. As a result, many CPG programs have been left with low enrollment and participation rates. However, this is certainly not a reason to overlook the power of a loyalty program for your CPG brand, and today we’ll discuss how CPG brands are utilizing new partnerships, structures, and technologies to create effective loyalty programs. So, why is CPG loyalty traditionally seen as ineffective? Our VP of Loyalty Strategy, Zach Woith, often says that “the purpose of a loyalty program is to change the behavior of a member segment to align them with the objectives of the brand.” This means that you want your members to increase spend, stay active, become brand advocates, and build further brand affinity. In order to be... Read more

Hello, New Office!

by Julia Leyrer
March 15, 2016
Hello, New Office!

Among the excitement of the rapid growth we have seen in recent years, our headquarters has outgrown its old space and has now moved to a new location within San Francisco, CA. The new address is: 405 Howard St, Suite 675, San Francisco, CA 94105. This new office is in an impressive green building with LEED Platinum certification, an Energy Star rating of 94, and the highest number LEED points awarded to any existing building in the nation. We're happy to maintain a central location and be close to downtown, public transportation, and many restaurants and bars... Read more

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