Key CCG Services

A merchant-funded vendor had developed what seemed like the perfect loyalty trifecta: A debit/credit card rewards program that …

  • Gave up to 20% cash back to members when they used their registered cards to shop at participating merchants
  • Offered local businesses and financial institutions marketing support usually reserved for larger companies
  • Provided funding to support local charities

There was just one hitch: Most of the members were auto enrolled by their financial institution in the merchant-funded rewards program, known as Rainbow Rewards. Because of that, many members were unaware the loyalty program existed at all, much less that they could earn money and support charities by making purchases with their enrolled cards at participating merchants.

This lack of member engagement and participation was a substantial problem — since the merchant-funded reward vendor recruited and retained businesses and credit unions with the promise of increased transactions and card usage.

Building a Winning Team

The merchant-funded rewards vendor needed a strategy that would not only make members aware of the rewards program, but also get them engaged and excited about it — and actively participating.

Shortly after launching the Rainbow Rewards program, the CMO turned to CCG for help. “The key for us with CCG was the agency’s unique knowledge of both the financial and retail industries, which are our two core customer groups, and CCG’s ability to not just execute, but to lead,” says the CMO.

The merchant-funded rewards vendor also needed a proven methodology that would help retain and grow its member base. And CCG could provide that quickly.

“We were able to offer an established knowledge base of how to onboard a customer and speak to them as a customer, not a prospect,” explains Greg Sultan, SVP, Financial Strategist at CCG.

Putting the Pieces into Place

To their advantage, the merchant-funded rewards vendor already had a large database of credit union members and a detailed list of participating merchants.

“Our challenge was to leverage that data into an integrated communications stream that would make the program both engaging and relevant to members,” says Sultan. Specifically, our objectives were to leverage our data, analytics and creative marketing expertise to:

Strategically, Sultan explains, the first step was to identify trigger events that marked prime points early in the relationship when the financial institution should be communicating with their members. These behavior-based triggers included:

A member’s first transaction

Achieving a $2 and a $15 cash-back balance

Reaching the $25 mark, which is when a member can redeem cash rewards

A geo-location strategy — primarily listing participating merchants near a particular member’s home — was also critical to achieving a high level of engagement and relevancy.

Finally, creative design and messaging had to engage members by explaining their enrollment in the rewards program, make it clear what actions they had taken to achieve their current status and encourage future desired behavior. In addition, the creative had to support both the merchant’s brand and each member’s credit union brand.

Driving Awareness and Engagement

The data points and creative elements came together for the first time in a $2 trigger mailing.

Five steps were essential to leveraging the data and increasing the relevancy for each personalized letter:

The data points and creative elements came together for the first time in a $2 trigger mailing.

Five steps were essential to leveraging the data and increasing the relevancy for each personalized letter:

Turning Action into Results for a Winning Trifecta

Within six months of a member’s enrollment in the program, results showed:

Data and creative were combined in similar ways for other vendor direct mail projects. Together, the campaign components made a noticeable impact. “The data showed consistent and sustained increases in transactions,” says the CMO. “We’ve had consistent month-over-month transaction growth since we started.”

Increasing awareness, engagement and transactions. Now that’s what we call a win-win-win!

Key CCG Services

Strategic Customer Initiatives

Strategic CRM consulting
Account management
Cross-sell or upsell program development
ROI measurement
Loyalty program development, refinement & management
Traffic building program development
Retention program development
CRM/loyalty program support services

SectionData, Analytics & Research

Segmentation and cluster analysis

Content & Creative Services

Print & digital design
Direct mail & other print assets

Are you next?

Are you ready to take your data-driven marketing campaigns to the next level? Whether you’re launching a new product or want to improve an existing one, CCG’s financial marketing experts, data analysts and creative strategists can help you succeed with every step of your campaign. Complete the form below or call us at 303.986.3000 to schedule a free consultation and see how we can help you.