If you are looking for an example of how to promote your rewards program, take a lesson from 140,000-member South Carolina FCU. The company just launched an in-statement merchant-funded rewards program called Simple Perks (press release) for its 58,000 online banking customers.
The CU posted a great 2-minute video showing how the program works (see second screenshot). It also posted a quality supporting blog entry, "Are you a ‘clipper’ or ‘clicker’ (note 1).
The new rewards program is delivered through the CU’s PFM dashboard powered by Intuit’s Personal FinanceWorks (see third screenshot). The rewards program is powered by Cardlytics, an Atlanta-based startup we’ve written about several times (previous posts).
Bottom line: Regardless of whether you personally think rewards programs pollute the online banking experience, this is a genie that’s not going back in the bottle. Targeted advertising based on spending behavior is too lucrative to ignore.
It reminds me of the advent of keyword advertising on search engines. At the time, there was concern that the technique, based on actual user queries, was an invasion of privacy. It may have been, but it’s worked pretty well for Google, and most users benefit from the well-targeted ads as well.
We are pretty confident the same scenario will play out with debit and credit card statements (note 1). As long as offers are relevant, unobtrusive, and probably opt-in, the majority of customers will like them and the rest will tolerate them.
South Carolina FCU homepage with six mentions of rewards (10 March 2011)
Simple Perks landing page with great demo video (link)
Simple Perks rewards module is highly visible within online banking
1. Side note: This is how to blog about something new. Author Troy Hall doesn’t just repeat the press release, he tells a story to make it interesting and relevant. (I would lose the salesy…"life simplified" line at the end, but that’s just being picky).
2. For more info, see latest Online Banking Report on merchant-funded rewards.