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Pardon the Education - How to Know When a Subscription Loyalty Model is Right for Your Brand

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By: Bill Hanifin, CLMP™ |

Posted on January 3, 2024

Executive interview with Carlos Dunlap-Beard, CLMP™, VP Business Development & Loyalty Strategy, ebbo

This is the second in a series covering everything you need to know about Subscription and Premium Loyalty. Subscription programs have been in the market for many years, with Best Buy launching the first recognized loyalty program with a membership fee in 2003. Barnes and Noble followed and then, of course, Amazon launched Prime in 2005.

A subscription loyalty model packages multiple benefits for customers into one program and charges a membership fee to enjoy those benefits. In case you are wondering, the key differentiator between a membership model and a subscription loyalty model is that in a membership model a customer must enroll and pay a fee to gain access to a retailer at all (Costco, Sam’s Club), whereas in the subscription model, customers must enroll and pay a fee to receive the special benefits of the program, but otherwise has access to the retailer’s good and services.

In Part One of this series, we interviewed Carlos Dunlap, VP Business Development & Loyalty Strategy, ebbo to get an understanding of the essential elements of the topic. Carlos is vastly experienced in this business and is entertaining as well as informative in describing the Truth of Subscription and Premium Loyalty.

In this interview, Carlos talks with Bill Hanifin, CEO Wise Marketer Group about how to determine if Subscription loyalty is right for your brand. In our Pardon the Education format, we handle five questions for three minutes each in rapid fire succession:

  1. When you sit down with a brand, what are the first three questions you would ask to understand if their business could benefit from premium loyalty?
  2. For the listeners, if they are trying to self-assess without talking with you, what are the starter questions they should be asking themselves? Are they different from the ones you just mentioned? Why?
  3. If you get the right answers, I assume you need to gather data to continue with your assessment. What information do you typically request from a brand to go further with your analysis?
  4. Let's say you have all signals pointing to a good opportunity for a brand to benefit from premium loyalty. And you've got your data. What kind of "loyalty math" are you doing at that point, and can you share the most important outputs from running your models?
  5. If the model shows potential for financial benefit for the brand, what do you do next? How do you assess the risk, if any, of taking a plan to trial and is there a way to forecast the future impact of premium loyalty on the business with high levels of certainty?

This interview is full of information you need to make a good decision about whether subscription loyalty is right for you. It’s fast-paced and fun, as you would expect in talking with Carlos. Enjoy.

Editor’s Note

Didn’t get enough from this interview? Want to ask some questions to help you make decisions? Carlos is available to help you bring clarity on how these concepts can help make your loyalty program a profit center. Connect with Carlos here.

Stay. Loyal. Always.