Woolworths Rewards: The Verdict

So the new Woolworths Rewards program has been active for almost two months now and I must say I think Woolworths may have got it right. There are product categories that give shoppers the opportunity to earn bonus points and including BWS and Woolworths petrol stores in the mix has helped shoppers earn a substantial amount of points.

There are also promotions that enable customers to earn additional points by spending specified amounts of money each week for a certain amount of time if they wish. But even at 1 point per dollar spent, I think Woolworths has gone a long way to try and win back some of the customers they lost to Flybuys.

I personally think that it is now one of the better loyalty schemes out there at the moment. What are your thoughts?


Where Does Your Loyalty Lie?

Loyalty programs can play a big part in our behaviour as shoppers. They are also a valuable tool for retailers when it comes to collecting market research data. A good loyalty program can determine whether or not we shop with a particular retailer. Recently the Woolworths Rewards program has come under fire by shoppers and media.

I have to wonder what the Woolworths marketing department were thinking when they developed this program. In theory they had a good idea but when executed it fell short. If you’re not familiar with the program Woolworths offer a dollar amount cash back on products displaying their reward dollar ticket. Once you’ve accumulated $10, this comes off your next shop. 

There were a couple of problems with this. Firstly, they had a good loyalty program whereby you earned Qantas Frequent Flyer points when you spent over $30 in one transaction. This proved valuable to a lot of shoppers. When they introduced the reward dollars program they abolished their affiliation with Qantas. The other issue is there aren’t many products that are relevant to most shoppers that carry a reward, so to achieve a $10 cash back is no easy feat.

For months now social media has been inundated with shoppers complaining about the lack of reward products on offer therefore resulting in thousands of dollars being spent with no reward. A lot of these customers mentioned they no longer scan their card when they shop there, meaning that Woolworths doesn't get the valuable market research data. Quite a few customers mentioned going back to Coles for their Flybuys program.

While the Woolies marketing department may have got it wrong when it came to the new rewards program, they are at least listening. At the end of the month they will launch their new loyalty program.

They have once again reinstated their affiliation with Qantas and now shoppers will earn 1 point for every dollar they spend in Woolworths, BWS and Caltex. Once a total of 2,000 points has been accumulated, shoppers will get $10 off their shop. My question is: how long will it take to accumulate 2,000 points? It seems they’ve been paying attention to Coles and their Flybuys program. You can redeem 2,000 Flybuys points for $10 off your shop but its not at all hard to get to 2,000 points if you shop at all the Flybuys partners and take advantage of their bonus points offers. 

If Woolworths will be offering bonus points at any given time it may not take long at all to hit 2,000 points but if you base it on an average of $100 - $120 a week between groceries and fuel it will take approximately four to five months to get a reward. Will this be enough for shoppers? Time will tell.

Speak Our Language

Often we forget that we are not the target audience when it comes to what we communicate. While our target audience may require our services, we need to remember that we may be providing them with a service because they do not have the expertise to carry out the function that they hire us to provide. 

When we correspond with our clients we need to remember that we are possibly talking to a lay person when it comes to our field. I am guilty of making marketing and consumer behaviour references that my clients don’t understand. It’s great we know what we are talking about but if your client doesn't know A from B then we need to be mindful and give them the main points in easy to understand terms.

Don’t ever treat your client like an idiot but keep in mind that they may not know what an AB demographic is or what a HDMI cable is. They just need to know that you are developing a campaign targeted at white collar, high income earners or that there is a cable that will give you a great quality image on your TV.

Using easy to understand language can eliminate a multitude of problems down the track. How many times have you thought you were getting one thing but ended up with another simply because you didn’t understand what you were being told. 

So before talking to a client think about what you need to tell them and whether you are using technical terms or if you using terminology that is easy to understand.

Ultra Tune or Ultra Fail?

I recently saw the new ad for Ultra Tune. I must say I’m a little surprised there haven’t been enough complaints to have the ad taken off the air. If you haven’t seen the ad, it depicts two girls driving their car when they break down on train tracks. A train is coming and hits the car yet the girls walk away unscathed. 

The problem with the ad is that it negates everything we are constantly reminded about in the media about the dangers of stopping on train tracks while driving. I think this Ultra Tune ad is irresponsible and I’d be very surprised if there isn’t more of a fuss made about it. What message is it sending to young drivers?

I believe a brand has a responsibility to it's customers to advertise facts. The facts are: if you are stuck in your car on train tracks when a train is coming, you are not going to walk away looking glamourous and Ultra Tune most definitely won't make it in time to save you!

Ultra Tune has come under attack for another ad which objectifies women and allegedly misleads viewers into believing they can win a trip to Wimbledon (the tennis tournament, not the English town). It will interesting to see whether Ultra Tune pulls their ads voluntarily or wait to be told by the ACCC or the advertising standards board.

It makes me wonder, who is designing and executing Ultra Tune's ads?

Too Much Information?

There has been such an evolution when it comes to the creation of ads, especially in print. I was recently researching ads to see what was happening out in the market place and was amazed by the contrast between ads of various companies. Thinking about my own experience in advertising, I realised that the variation in advertising often comes down to the person signing off on the ad before it goes to market.

In my experience, there are two types of print advertising: informational and graphic. A lot of ads are high in written content often communicating all the attributes of a product or company in a single ad. The graphic ads usually have an amazing graphic that tells the story. These I find are the ads that usually stand out in my mind. There are so many avenues that consumers can explore to get more information on a product that it hardly seems worth writing an essay of copy for an ad that may gain 5 seconds of attention. 

Don’t get me wrong, copywriting is important but we just need to know where to draw the line. Consumers can often visit a website or call customer service for more information on a product that its often not necessary to add all that information in an ad. I believe that valuable time should be spent on developing a great tagline and graphic representation to tell the story. 

A great example of this is an ad I found for Burger King. Their ad was a whopper sitting in a too small Big Mac box with the tagline: ‘Silly Whopper, that’s a Big Mac box.’ It was simple but it got the message across in a few words. There was no need to explain the size comparison between the two burgers. The graphic and the simple tagline did it all.

Quite often its not just about whether to have all that information but whether there is space for it. A few years ago I worked on an ad for a product that came in 10 colours. While working with the graphic designers we decided that it made more sense to have a graphic of the product in each colour rather than have each colour listed in the ad. It made the ad more visually appealing as well as less text heavy. 

If you’re fortunate enough to work in an organisation that has in-house designers you often have the luxury of being able to come up with a couple of variations of an ad to see what is more visually appealing. 

So next time you're working on an ad ask yourself: 'Would I stop to look at this ad?'

Knowledge is Power!

People are often surprised when I come out with a tidbit of information that seems so obscure or unlike me. They give a strange look and ask how on earth I knew that. The age old saying ‘know a little about a lot rather that a lot about a little’ is so true. I swear by this saying, not just personally but also professionally. 

When you work in an organisation it is so important to know what your competitors are doing or what current trends are. Especially if you are in marketing. Can you imagine if all your competitors had a Facebook presence and you were still trying to figure out what Facebook was? That’s an extreme example but a valid one I think. 

It is so important to be on top of current trends. This is especially true if you run your own service based business. Just because you’ve held a client for 10 years doesn’t mean they won’t call you tomorrow and say they’re leaving you for the new agency down the street that’s more edgy and on top of current trends. 

It’s not just the mechanics of your business that you should be on top of, it’s all aspects of life. It seems impossible to know absolutely everything and you don’t have to! What I’m saying is if your client is in the electronics industry be aware of what their competitors are developing, where they’re advertising, what sponsorships they’re currently working on. If they’re in the fashion industry know which celebrities are wearing their competitors brand or if there are opportunities for your clients brand to be worn on a red carpet event. Most of the time reading mainstream media will keep you in the know so it’s not really a chore and doesn’t have to take up precious work time. You’ll be surprised what you may discover just by reading a weekly gossip mag!

Just remember: Knowledge is Power!