Verizon launches digital-only experiential rewards program
- Verizon announced the launch of its new rewards program, Verizon Up, in a press release.
- The program was created based on conversations with its customers who expressed frustration with existing rewards programs requiring participants to track points for trivial rewards. In response, Verizon Up is digital only and rewards are promised to be relevant and centered around experiences such as VIP tickets to events, free subscriptions to Apple Music or HBO NOW and discounts and miles for Jet Blue flights.
- Program participants get one credit for every $300 spent on their Verizon Wireless bill. One credit equals one reward and can be used instantly. The program includes four types of rewards: “everyday rewards” which include free services and discounts from a variety of brands like Amazon, Electronic Arts and Boxed; “Verizon rewards” offering discounts on Verizon products and services; “super tickets” for sports, music and entertainment; and “dream tickets” for special events like the 2018 NFL Pro Bowl and Super Bowl. Part of the launch of Verizon Up is a partnership with Lady Gaga to offer seats during her sold out U.S. tour.
Loyalty and reward programs have been around as a marketing tool for a long time, but digital channels and branded apps have changed the way brands are approaching the tactic. Brands with long-running programs, such as Coca-Cola, have been revamping the experience to make it more digital. The Verizon news, as well as last week's announcement of a new points-based loyalty program from Pizza Hut, suggest brands continue to seek out the best approach of holding onto existing customers. A survey of 234 digital marketers last year found that 57% planned to increase their investment in loyalty programs in 2017.
The Verizon program points to how some marketers are looking beyond gift cards and free merchandise to build relationships with consumers. Expectations around loyalty programs are increasing, with experiential rewards one way of making an emotional connection with consumers.
Verizon reports that it spoke with its customers to learn what they wanted out of a loyalty program. The result is a program that promises to be simple and requires nothing more than paying a monthly bill to earn rewards and a slate of rewards that are either immediately useful or just fun. The need for programs that are easy to use is backed up by research from Colloquy and reported on by eMarketer showing 81% of those who joined a loyalty program continue to participate because it is easy to understand.