How marketers can build loyalty during a long purchase cycle

By Matthew Kates

A key element for loyalty programs, especially in industries like retail and restaurants, is product purchase frequency. Frequently purchased products enable members to earn more reward currency and keep the product and the program top of mind.

Does that mean that products without a high rate of purchase frequency can’t implement a successful loyalty program?

They actually can, it just requires a little creative thinking and a different approach.

Don’t make it about the purchase

The auto industry is perpetually challenged with solving the riddle of how to maximize engagement among consumers for a product that is purchased every three to five years. The typical answer to the traditional strategies of creating loyalty is by offering bonus incentives such as:

We value you as a loyal owner, so now we want to reward you for it too. With our Bonus Offer, get $2,000 towards the purchase of a new 2014 model.

Sustaining consistent engagement among consumers is about creating a stronger relationship so a brand doesn’t have to win on discount. In essence, this is all about adding brand value.

So how does a brand solve the purchase frequency dilemma? Simple: don’t make it about the purchase. Instead, make it about activities that occur outside the purchase.

The Jeep