Get a Free Drink
Just register your Starbucks gift card to join the My Starbucks Rewards™ loyalty program by February 7 and you'll get a free drink. New accounts only.
Let’s say you have been a good customer in a neighborhood restaurant for several years. They recognize you, treat you well and all is good. Then you receive a postcard, as part of a mass mailing from them. It offers 20% off the cost of a meal, or a free bottle of wine, or something. Sounds good, till you notice that it is offered to new customers only. So basically, they are rewarding non-customers, and giving no gift to their loyal clientele.
You certainly understand why; they already “have” you, and are trying to expand their customer base with an incentive. But you still feel that something is wrong about this. You have spent tons of money there, have helped make them successful, and they are taking your loyalty for granted, while giving inducements to people who have never stepped foot in their door.
It all boils down to the question of whether or not you should reward your current customers or reach out to prospective customers you hope will become regulars. (This is different from the occasional complimentary dessert or beverage you can often expect.)
I guess the best solution is to offer rewards equally to both new and current customers, but this might end up exceeding your budget.
This all came to mind when I saw a Starbucks ad for their loyalty card. They want all those who might have received a Starbucks gift card over the holidays to convert it to a loyalty card. And they are offering a free beverage as an inducement.
But hey, what about me? I have been a dependable customer for several years, and have enjoyed the loyalty card perks. But I don’t like not being included in this offer.
So the question is, should I actually feel slighted? Should I hold a grudge? Should I understand and move on? More important, from a marketing perspective, is this a good idea? Do the risks outweigh the possible benefits? Is there a different, better way to entice new customers?