Promotions offering customers a reward, such as price discounts and free products, for frequent purchasing or other activity are called loyalty programs. These promotions have been around for many years but expanded in popularity when introduced in the airline industry as part of frequent-filer programs. Today loyalty programs (also known as rewards programs) are used by marketers in nearly all retail markets. In many of these markets, these may be known as club card programs since members often must display a verification card or loyalty program app as evidence of enrollment in the program.
Many loyalty programs have become ingrained as part of the value offered by a marketer. That is, a retailer or marketing organization may offer loyalty programs as general business practice. Under this condition loyalty program does not qualify as a sales promotion since it does not fit the requirement of offering a short-term value (i.e., it is always offered). However, even within a loyalty program that is part of a general business practice, a sales promotion can be offered, such as special short-term offer that lowers the number of points needed to acquire a free product.
Experiential Marketing Events
While the idea of getting people to try something before they buy it is far from being new, the use of so-called experiential marketing methods, designed to immerse potential customers in a product prior to making a commitment, have increased. Unlike old-style product giveaways, experiential marketing is as much about the environment and the interaction as it is about the products being sampled. One of the most common experiential marketing approaches is to attract a large number of people to a specific location, where products are then consumed as part of a social event. To do this, brands may engage an experiential marketing specialist to coordinate one or many events held on the same day.