In its most recent issue, COLLOQUY magazine celebrates its 20th anniversary with a list saluting the leading loyalty innovations of the past two decades. Highlights from 1990 to 2010 tracing major milestones in the evolution of loyalty marketing include:
1990: The proliferation of the branded rewards credit card begins as AT&T introduces its AT&T Universal Card
1991: The first example of large-scale, Word of Mouth rewards marketing occurs with MCI’s Friends & Family Program, which encourages customers to recruit new members in return for awards
1992: The rise of two-tier pricing – a watershed moment for grocers– takes place when Vons supermarkets offer in-store savings to club card members
1994: Airline miles become profit centers as carriers discover their program miles can be used as promotional currency by hotels, restaurants, credit card and car rental companies
1997: The gaming industry fully embraces loyalty marketing as Harrah’s Total Gold debuts
2001: America’s first coalition program to gain national attention arrives through Upromise, which partners with corporate giants to help students plan, save and pay for college
2005: Big U.S. banks begin to embrace debit loyalty with Bank of America’s Keep the Change, a program that rounds up members’ debit purchases to the next dollar and deposits the difference
2006: Word of Mouth is harnessed by loyalty marketers in order to transform consumers into brand ambassadors after the broad acceptance of social platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and
2009: Smartphones promise loyalty marketers new ways to engage with on-the-go consumers and enable real-time options for mobile rewards, payments and commerce. “Prior to 1990, airline and hotel frequency programs dominated the loyalty industry. Credit card programs were a novelty and retailers were still sorting out their strategies. So, our 20-year timeline covers a fascinating period in the history of loyalty marketing,” said COLLOQUY Partner Kelly Hlavinka.
Download the full report here.