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Colloquy, the consulting and market research company, has issued a new report suggesting that the loyalty marketing business has reached new heights in the US.

According to the study, “Membership in U.S. loyalty rewards programs has reached 1.3 billion, more than four times the national population.”

Four business sectors - airlines, financial services, grocery and specialty retail – reportedly account for 57 percent of the total loyalty program membership. In predicting where the food industry might turn to further develop its model, the study says that “grocers who are fighting a perception of loyalty-program ubiquity and sameness will adopt loyalty models that allow for richer customer segmentation funded largely by packaged goods manufacturers.”
KC's View:
While not all the loyalty cards in circulation are from the same industry, one has to ask if the plethora of such cards – four times the US population! – means that people just keep them for convenience and the possibility of a random discount, and that they don’t really measure anything close to real loyalty.

We also continue to be convinced that many of these programs aren’t loyalty marketing programs at all, but rather electronic discount programs that simply distribute coupons and offer information in a new way. A real loyalty program proves constantly and consistently that the retailer is loyal to the consumer…and this demands a far greater relevance than a simple discount can generate.