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What are the Benefits of Being a Member?

  Paul Clement

We have all probably become accustomed to being asked if we would like to join various clubs or sign up for a membership card from every store or outlet that you have shopped at recently. This trend amongst retailers and organizations becomes apparent during the holiday season as we shop at a range of stores but what value is there really in signing up? Loyalty programs and email subscriptions have truly become common place and sometimes it feels like the minimal effort it takes to sign up for these programs is not worth the bombardment that comes from the constant email flyers, spam mail or wallet that has become stuffed with membership cards.

Between personal and business related memberships our email in-boxes are usually in need of cleaning out every morning or evening, which becomes a drain on our time and takes us away from dealing with the emails that are really important. Notifications such as saving 10% on your next round of golf first thing in the morning in the middle of December can actually be quite frustrating. All of this being said, however, isn’t that what we signed up for in the first place? Didn’t we want to receive notifications of available sales or promotions? Didn’t we want to be rewarded for our purchasing loyalty? I think the answer is yes but there should also be some sort of balance.

There are many proven marketing strategies but sending advertisements one after the other is probably not one of them. As a customer I normally feel like I made a mistake in handing over my email address when I receive one too many emails from a company. This sort of constant advertising can negatively affect a company’s brand and customer loyalty which can be difficult to repair or regain. As marketers we may need to take this into account and trust our customers to remember our deals and brand the first time rather than after the third notification about the same Christmas sale. If they had an interest in a deal they probably have already decided what action they will take and no amount of emails will change their mind.

I do not think it necessarily falls on the marketing teams of these companies either because as I mentioned before, didn’t we know what we were signing up for? There requires some sense of balance on our end as customers as well and really thinking about whether we are really going to benefit from a rewards or subscription program or not. How frequently do we really shop there and do we need another temptation to buy every time there is a deal? We at ISB keep this in mind and do our best to walk that fine line of creating brand awareness when new products or services come out. In summary, I believe that both sides could learn a little about moderation and if you really do not like the stream of emails there is always the unsubscribe button.

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