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The Truth About Subscription and Premium Loyalty

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By: Bill Hanifin, CLMP™ |

Posted on November 2, 2023

Clarifying the intricacies of Paid Loyalty with ebbo’s Carlos Dunlap-Beard

Subscription loyalty programs were brought into focus for marketers as Amazon built its Prime program into a core driver of its business. Since that time, most brands have considered incorporating a Subscription element into their loyalty and customer engagement strategies.

As the fever around subscription-based loyalty intensified, the body of nomenclature used to describe the tactic has grown, and it is easy to become confused by the plethora of buzzwords. Premium loyalty, subscription loyalty, paid loyalty, membership loyalty, tiered loyalty – are we in fact talking about distinct concepts or nuanced options of one core concept?

I have a passion for breaking through the clutter of information that passes through our hands each day and wanted to gain clarity about this topic of Subscription and paid loyalty. I sought out just the right person to help me dissect this important topic. Carlos Dunlap-Beard, CLMP™ & VP, Business Development & Loyalty Strategy with ebbo is that person. Carlos is a veteran of the loyalty business and I have worked with him in multiple roles across many years.

ebbo is the newly branded company that many of you know as Clarus Commerce and Prize Logic. Clarus Commerce pioneered premium loyalty and paid enrollment offers where consumers pay a membership fee for enhanced loyalty benefits. The company’s history makes it perfectly positioned to capitalize on the current high interest in this topic.

I convinced Carlos to spend a brief time with me to do some “buzzword-busting.” My goal was to compare and contrast the “body of nomenclature” used to describe this area of customer loyalty and we covered a lot of ground in this short interview. If you want to “speed listen” to this conversation, we’ve provided time stamps below.

This is the first of a multi-part series with Carlos and we plan to continue the conversation next with a discussion of how to complete the analysis of different forms of subscription-based loyalty to decide how best to implement it in your business.

For the speed listeners, some key points of the conversation:

2:25 – Carlos’ background and current focus at ebbo.

6:21 - Where do Subscription loyalty programs and Tiers intersect?

11:30 - The low down on Premium loyalty.

15:55 - What’s the meaning of the new ebbo brand?

19:23 - How does Premium Loyalty become a money maker for the sponsoring brand?

22:05 – How ebbo works to turn loyalty programs into profit centers.

26:27 - How do customers engage and use their Premium Loyalty subscriptions?

30:00 - How have changes at retailers impacted the work you are doing?

33:45 - What is the one thing marketers should know about this topic?

35:26 – Wrapping it up, preview of Part 2.

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.