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Hallmark is an American classic, a nearly 100-year-old, third-generation family-owned company with deep roots in Kansas City, Missouri. But even long-standing, venerable companies sometimes must shake things up. When Hallmark realized it needed to freshen up its Gold Crown Card loyalty program—the first of its kind in the greeting card industry—which serves Hallmark Gold Crown retail stores, it knew that finding out what customers, retailers and corporate really wanted from the program was key to its revamp.
According to Andy Rieger, Marketing Strategy Leader, Hallmark Cards, the loyalty program was one of the most significant and successful marketing programs in the company’s history. However, by 2006 his team was concerned that the program was becoming less top-of-mind for these three groups—and knew it could be better.
“From consumers, we heard that the program lacked immediacy in-store, and the point-earning-to-certificate-delivery transition took time,” says Rieger. “While the Gold Crown Card was motivational in terms of buying greeting cards, it was less so for the total store, so we wanted to expand its overall appeal.”
From retailers, Rieger’s team also discovered concerns that the program was viewed as an expense as opposed to an investment, and that it lacked “freshness” to drive consumer and sales associate engagement.
And Hallmark corporate representatives believed the program was motivational for fewer program participants than it had been early on in its tenure. “The appeal of the program narrowed to a relatively small group of consumers,” he says.
Taking advantage of the loyalty program’s database as well as company research, the revitalized program, Crown Rewards, was born in 2007. Today, it features better targeting and new tactics—including a tiered format that delineates consumers based on their card and total store purchases.
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