Everywhere we turn these days we are constantly reminded about loyalty. Every business seems to have a rewards program or a loyalty program. Case in point, on a recent shopping trip to the mall I made transactions at four stores and bought lunch. Four out of the five stops asked me to sign up for their loyalty program including the pizza place! All of the locations were offering perks in exchange for my information. As sports teams evolve and start entering in to this very crowded “loyalty” area of the business, we must not lose sight of what makes our industry unique: We already have loyalty with our fans.
Loyalty and pride of our teams is what our customer base is built upon. The connection with our teams and the memories that come from it is the foundation of the wheel that drives us. Our great fans are with us through thick and thin. Realizing this and leveraging this is an important step as we develop our loyalty platforms.
With the LA Kings and LA Galaxy we have started to establish new loyalty programs, and we strive to drive these programs with two key principles.
#1 Be transparent and authentic with goals and message
There is no doubt that the goal of every loyalty program is to gather more information about customers. Learning their habits and info in order to allow us to reach our business goals is an important part of how we can have success. Our mission is to make sure we are open with our fans that our goal is to gather this information to help make their experience better. If we simply just tell them that they will be rewarded if they attend games or buy tickets, we may not see the results we are looking for in this busy “Loyalty” marketplace.
#2 Return the favor to the fans
Through thick and thin our fans are with us and they expect us to be loyal to them. So asking them for their “loyalty” is a slippery slope that can be insulting if framed in the wrong light.
We need to return the favor with great service and experiences. Our goal with our loyalty program is to build upon this fandom and become fans of our customers. We can’t forget where we come from and we need to celebrate and support our fans by giving them experiences that fit their needs. To some people this may just be free items or discounts, to others this may be experiences you can’t buy. Diversity in their choices is important while recognizing them for helping us and updating them on our progress of improving their experiences. As we establish and run our programs these are the key principles we are shooting for to break through the noise of the evolving and growing loyalty marketplace.