Two topics covered lately that have caught passion of savvy Seneca students: 1. Ecosystems; and 2. Loyalty Programs.
How many Ecosystem partners does a typical consumer need?
Just ONE! imo it’s critical for Ecosystem players to be present in ALL ‘related’ categories of use, or risk being abandoned for a truly full-service tech partner.
Amazon, fb, Google & Apple all ‘play in’ several of these: file storage & sharing, photo storage & sharing, social media sharing, home security & home device monitoring, interactive voice recognition queries & trivia, home audio speakers, mobile shopping, customer reviews, personal banking, mobile payments, chat apps, mobile phone, film viewing, amateur video production & sharing, facilitating communities for ‘sharing’ resources, skills & time, etc, etc, etc…
Also catching students’ interest: Macro (multi-channel) loyalty programs: eg Aeroplan, AirMiles, PC Optimum. Loyalty players, in contrast to Ecosystem players, need not be present in every category, but typically tether to 2 anchors:
- a partner providing ‘dreamer you’ an aspirational, indulgent big incentive (a vacation); and
- a low value (frequent-use) anchor motivating ‘rational you’ to keep that loyalty tag/card on hand day to day.
Case in Point: Aeroplan lost both its Dreamer anchor – Air Canada- and its Rational anchor- Esso- but quickly regrouped, securing an Amazon partnership to fill both roles! (ie use Amazon for daily shopping, or buy yourself a holiday!).
However, the ‘anchor principles’ of critical relevance, don’t constitute the full list of success criteria for Ecosystem players, or for Loyalty programs.
What made this more evident lately? Evidence of their need to AVOID something- Leaks. And evidence they need to SHOW something- Respect.
iCloud leaks, fb leaks, Equifax leaks, etc make some consumers leery of ever joining a loyalty program. And undoubtedly cause others, to drop out.
Loblaws’ ‘transitioning’ of trusting SDM Optimum & PC Plus loyalty members to a newly consolidated [ ahem- more efficient(!)] program has been awkward for the very customers they should respect & value. A few years ago, AirMiles not only accelerated point expiry; they also imposed a needlessly complex, restrictive new 2-tier- award redemption structure. The 407 de-certifies members who spend ‘merely’ $3,000/year on their service via a rude letter (“You no longer qualify….”). I received such a letter; its inept wording prompted a few laughs (a ‘Hall Of Shame’ candidate, says a nearby CRM expert).
Loblaws, AirMiles and the 407 violate a basic principle of Loyalty programs: treat longstanding customers with some respect.
If you soon encounter press releases or Investor explanations about how tough the Loyalty industry has it, or how consumers are being more difficult, etc, feel free to join me in a laugh or two at their deserved expense.
Of course I could be wrong.
I’d welcome any comments!