Personalizing Loyalty Programs By Age

happy senior woman shopping with credit card
Stephanie Schwenn Sebring Photo
Contributing Writer
Fab Prose & Professional Writing

2 minutes

Rewards are key to member engagement, but one size doesn’t fit all.

“An effective loyalty program is a key to keeping members engaged with the credit union, but one size doesn’t fit all,” says Mansel Guerry, SVP of the credit union community division at FIS, Jacksonville, Florida.

“These days, a good card (credit or debit) with a good interest rate is not enough. Younger, savvy service users are more demanding and less loyal, and they’re not opposed to carrying multiple credit cards and managing transactions based on the cash back or points each one earns in different locations or situations. As millennials surpass baby boomers in earned income, traditional loyalty engagement models are shifting to cater to more technologically savvy consumers.”

Cash back is popular for obvious reasons and easily measured. He notes that baby boomers prefer to engage in traditional, predictable loyalty programs that feature consistency, while millennials and Gen Z are more interested in loyalty offerings that have elements of change, surprise or gamification, such as different earnings promotions pushed in real time.

Members of different generations also have different reward and redemption preferences:

  • Boomers aren’t gamers and understand easily measurable things like cash back. They tend to redeem their points for such options as merchandise, travel and gift cards. 
  • Millennials and Gen Z are more inclined to redeem loyalty currency or points for digital downloads, real-time point-of-sale discounts and such low point-redemption options as sweepstakes entries, auctions and the ability to play online games. Younger users also like to see their names on the scoreboard that they can then feed to social media sites. 

Guerry notes that younger consumers won’t do business with a CU just because their parents do. Providers must deliver value—as defined by these young consumers—to win their loyalty. Notably, this loyalty may be short-lived. As the next “great deal” comes along, younger users may move on.cues icon

Stephanie Schwenn Sebring established and managed marketing departments for three CUs before launching her business. As owner of Fab Prose & Professional Writing, she assists CUs, suppliers, and any company wanting great content and a clear brand voice. Follow her on Twitter @fabprose.

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