Seinfeld on Marketing: Loyalty programs

Let’s face it; your loyalty program may not be fostering loyalty. In fact, if done incorrectly, your punch card or exclusive discounts and offers may be actually hurting you. Take for example this Seinfeld episode where Elaine it trying to earn a free submarine sandwich at Atomic Sub:

(Elaine is digging into her purse)
ELAINE: Oh, I can’t believe it! I’ve lost my “Atomic Sub” card!
JERRY: So?
ELAINE: I’ve eaten 23 bad subs, I just need 1 more! It’s like a long, bad movie, but you want to see the end of it!
JERRY: No, you walk out.
ELAINE: Alright, then, it’s like a boring book, but you gotta finish it.
JERRY: No, you wait for the movie!
ELAINE: (Irritated, and through clinched teeth) I want that free sub.

Loyalty is earned overtime by consistently providing your customers with memorable customer experiences. If your customer experience is faulty (for example, “bad subs”), then the increase in negative word of mouth from your loyalty program can actually propel your business into inexistence faster. Remember this formula:

Bad customer experience + loyalty program = accelerated extinction

Before you start any loyalty program, make sure your customer experience is rock solid.

Happy Friday everyone!