16 August 2006

We are what we buy

Our loyalty to brands defines who we are. We are what we buy.

The more faithful we are to a loyalty programme, the greater the rewards we earn and enjoy. And now, with a wide range of participating partner companies, ready to woo us every step of the way, our urge to venture outside the loyalty circle is reduced substantially. It makes sense to limit our choices of purchase to a few brands and optimise our rewards. In fact, many of us do so, hungrily.

This makes us valuable prospects in the hands of those managing the loyalty programmes. Purchase transaction data is collected at points of purchase, then collated, sliced and diced, sorted and analysed to generate qualified leads for prospective brand purchases. Thus, allowing marketers and their brands to send personalised advertising messages and make customised offers to us, catering to our needs with more and more accuracy.

Moreover, with IT and telecommunications as the driving forces, many loyalty programmes are now online, helping their programme managers track and analyse our purchase data in real time. Every time we identify ourselves online (sometimes unknowingly through cookies) or in real life with our loyalty ID number, our entire purchase history and customer profile is available to the programme manager. In the future, with RFID (radio frequency identification) built into our loyalty cards, it becomes even better. Marketers and brand managers can make customised offers on-the-spot as we visit a point of purchase.

Don’t believe me? Well, here’s a look into the future of loyalty programmes: Remember the scene in the film 'Minority Report' when Tom Cruise, after replacing his eyes with another person’s to change his ID (the RFID chip was embedded in the eyes), enters a mall and is greeted with various offers as he moves past the counters? That’s what I’m talking about. That’s the future of customer loyalty. That future is almost here.

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