Daily Dose of Loyalty

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May 09, 2005
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By John Hennessy


Wyeth Consumer Healthcare’s Centrum multi-vitamin brand has launched Centrum “Pledge for Life.” The program gets customers to enroll and pledge to take a Centrum a day.


Members get a Centrum Pledge Pack (while supplies last) for signing up. The Pledge Pack includes an introduction to the program, a booklet – the Essential Guide to Vitamins and Your Health, and a daily reminder magnet.


The customer benefits of the program include:


  • Exclusive vitamin and health news on a members-only Web site,

  • An opportunity to receive a daily email reminder to stay on track,

  • Quarterly email newsletters with timely articles about healthy living,

  • The ability to participate in sweepstakes, and

  • Instant downloadable coupons and special offers.

The program also rewards points to members for participating. Some of the ways participation earns points are:


  • Reading Centrum Daily Essentials articles,

  • Participating in Centrum Daily Essentials polls and surveys, and

  • Sending friends Centrum Daily Essentials pass-alongs.

Points can be used for sweepstakes’ entries.


Centrum Daily Essentials is one component of the “Pledge for Life” program. You can enroll in The Centrum Daily Essentials program without participating in the “Pledge for Life” part. However, some amenities are reserved for those who upgrade to become “Pledge for Life” members.


Moderator’s Comment: Why are manufacturers doing programs like this online, on their own, rather than through a retailer?


Encouraging the use of a product doesn’t just increase sales, it increases customer enjoyment.


Even though most toothbrushes have color strips that wear off over time to indicate the need for replacement, many shoppers continue to use those brushes
beyond their intended life. That failure to buy is not a good customer experience.


I also recall a study a few years back where the last razor blade of a five-pack was used the same amount as the accumulated use of the first four blades.
The need to replenish was not top of mind. Remind me that it’s time to buy new blades and I’ll appreciate your help lowering the pain of the morning ritual while increasing my
loyalty to your brand.


Wyeth’s approach misses a way to be even more helpful to customers. The current model requires more effort than necessary on the part of customers.


Wyeth should work with one or several retailers to make a program like this easier for shoppers to enjoy. Through in-store communications, Wyeth would gain
greater program awareness and higher participation levels.


Retailer purchase information could be used to make sure the right shoppers were informed of the program. The program could even be modified slightly (a
la Centrum Silver) to reflect those with healthy lifestyles, vitamin buyers and members of other target groups for personalized appeals.


This approach shifts some of the burden off the shoulders of customers and onto Wyeth and their retailer partner; a fair exchange for increased sales. Everyone,
including the shoppers, benefits from the increased sales of this need-satisfying product.

John Hennessy – Moderator

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8 Comments on "Daily Dose of Loyalty"


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W. Frank Dell II
Guest
15 years 9 months ago

Expect more CPG companies to dialog directly with consumers. The mass market is dead, but market segments are not. Over 300 television channels make it very difficult to create and/or re-enforce branding…so what to do? Retailers are concerned with their own image/brand, not that of CPG companies. It is only logical to see an explosion in CPG direct connection.

Don Delzell
Guest
Don Delzell
15 years 9 months ago
I agree with John concerning some drawbacks to Wyeth’s program. Neophyte marketers are always taught that when you make the consumer expend significant effort, there better be a disproportionate return coming down the pike. Looking at this program, I’m not sold on the effort-benefit trade off. Moving beyond specific program criticism, this type of marketing is essentially classic “pull” marketing. Centrum has wide distribution. Creating retail tie-ins to promotional programs with such wide distribution is extremely difficult. Look around the store. Retailers are interested in differentiation. They want exclusivity, and they want their interests to be served. I do not think shifting the burden to the retailer is an appropriate strategy. I do believe that well designed programs of this type grease the skids as much as is humanly possible. And, whenever possible, they try to create extraordinary perceived value around the benefits delivered. You can tell when a program is well designed. The participation rate is actually measurable. Advertising and promotional agencies, in moments of candor, will testify to the abysmally low participation rates… Read more »
Mark Boyer
Guest
Mark Boyer
15 years 9 months ago

Wyeth is going where the consumer is: to the Internet. Putting a well-conceived program online makes sense. It will be easier and also more cost-effective than trying to partner with multiple retailers for an in-store program.

I don’t know if the demographics of a multi-vitamin user rank higher in terms of education and income, but would guess they do. I would suspect the same group has a higher index of Internet usage, both for information gathering and purchases.

If a manufacturer can develop a one-to-one relationship with its consumer base, then the channel of distribution becomes much less important. The consumer will go to where they need to find the product.

Anna Murray
Guest
Anna Murray
15 years 9 months ago

Absolutely. CPG companies must make attempts at one-to-one marketing directly to consumers. And loyalty/lifestyle programs are one way to do it. I love it when 1-800 contacts tells me I’m about to run out of lenses. The first time it happened, I was like, “HOW do they know! That’s amazing!” Of course, they know when I last ordered. But I was still appreciative that they were keeping track of what was in my medicine cabinet even though I wasn’t.

This is, of course, the “permission marketing” that Seth Godin described lo these many years ago. Customers will choose which marketers to hear from based on which marketers are offering them valuable information to suit their needs. Those who win this game will be those who learn the most about their customers and give the most value back through the relationship.

Jerry Gelsomino
Guest
15 years 9 months ago

Connecting directly with the consumer, the manufacturer can learn how product should change and what new products or services are desired. With the continued acquisition activity in the retail world, this level of communication provides continuity between the customer and the manufacturer, which can also aid the retailer moving into a new marketplace or product category. I would encourage it enthusiastically.

Ben Ball
Guest
15 years 9 months ago
Involving the retailer as part of the overall marketing effort (“place marketing”) is increasingly important to all brand development efforts, loyalty driven or otherwise. But we must consider the dynamics of the multivitamin category and brand loyalty to understand the whole equation here. The heaviest users in most OTC categories are the “regimen” users. Think “the aspirin a day” stroke survivor or “the chronic snorer” who uses a BreatheRight strip every night. Creating a new regimen user is the best way to grow these categories. A brand loyal regimen user is the holy grail. The next key dynamic in this equation is manufacturer vs. retailer objectives. The manufacturer wants a brand loyal user because brand demand is their only source of power with retailers. Retailers are perfectly happy as long as that regimen user buys the category (regardless of brand) in their store — up to a point. The holy grail for the retailer is to convert that brand loyal regimen user to their own store brand, usually on the basis of better value. And… Read more »
M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
15 years 9 months ago

Manufacturers have been doing direct promotional programs for decades. In the 50s, my brother and I saved coupons from Skinner’s Raisin Bran boxes, mailed them in for a collection of magic tricks, and held a magic show in our backyard. Retailers were never involved, except for providing shelf space for the product. Today, read the packaging of most supermarket products and you’ll find this practice has persisted, grown, and added the sophistication of the Internet.

Coupons inserted in Sunday newspapers (Free-Standing Inserts, or FSIs) are another direct-to-consumer promotional effort by CPGs that has persisted for decades, along with network broadcast campaigns, print ads, and outdoor advertising.

Ben Ball asked a great question, “. . . as a manufacturer seeking to create brand loyal regimen users, do I partner with retailers?” As an ex-retailer, I ask, “How much will you pay me?” After years of wasting $millions working through retailers on expensive yet unproductive promotional programs, CPG Internet promotional programs are logical and smart.

Mark H. Goldstein
Guest
Mark H. Goldstein
15 years 9 months ago

John – the Internet enables folks to disintermediate and if I were a CPG or health care provider of an increasingly generic (or near generic product), I would go direct with continuity plans as often as possible knowing the merchant-branded private label product is just around the corner. Weight Watchers, M&Ms…all prove this is a no brainer.

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