Can loyalty help a monopoly? Quebec says yes

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By: RickFerguson |

Posted on January 21, 2016

Why would a government-run monopoly need a loyalty programme? That�s the question Qubcois were asking when the Socit des Alcools du Qubec (SAQ), the provincial crown corporation responsible for administering the sale of alcoholic beverages in the Canadian province of Quebec, launched its Inspire loyalty programme this fall. The answer is one well understood by wise marketers everywhere: even absent consumer choice, a data-driven customer strategy improves marketing efficiency.

That�s the gist of a recent Montreal Gazette report on the SAQ Inspire programme, which has exceeded expectations by signing up 1.2 million members in just a few months. The programme value proposition isn�t exactly rich�members earn $1 in discounts for every $200 in spend, accelerated with periodic bonus offers�but it does offer a nice slate of experiential benefits such as tastings and exclusive invitations. Money quote from SAQ chief executive Alain Brunet:

Before, we used to invest in mass-marketing, newspapers, flyers. Now, we�re taking the same money and reinvesting it in a targeted way. This will allow us to optimize our marketing over the next few years,� [Brunet] said, as consumers� preferences are tracked and as they receive personalised promotions to suit their tastes� The Inspire card �will allow us to speak to our customers, know our customers better and adapt to their needs,� [Brunet] said. �It�s not a question of loyalty. People were waiting for something like this. It�s the future.

By building a marketing engine based on personalisation, relevance, and deep customer understanding, SAQ will deliver higher returns to the Qubec government and make more efficient use of taxpayer dollars. That�s something that every Qubcois can get behind.

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