Loyalty Means Never Having to Say, “Eat that Second Doughnut”

Smart marketers know that the key to winning customer loyalty is through using personal data in a way that benefits both the company and the consumer.

And sometimes, well, that may mean telling them they have to eat their peas.

This may be the case in the United Kingdom, anyway. British government officials are mulling over a program that would have supermarkets use their loyalty card data to detect customer diet habits and then offer advice on to improve them. The reason? It turns out consumers share more personal information with their grocery stores than their doctors. So, officials surmise, the data might as well be used to promote healthier eating.

We’ll see how it goes. The program would focus on consumers who buy a lot of junk food, alcohol and generally unhealthy products. Telling someone to eat an apple instead of a doughnut can be a hard sell – unless the offer is presented in a way that strikes a cord.

Fortunately, the data can help shape that message, but you have to deliver it in a way that is not too prescriptive. “Apples are full of fiber,” isn’t exactly an engagement starter. And, “We see you buy laxatives, so here’s a coupon for apples,” is invasive.

But if the data shows the consumer also buys diapers and hair ribbons, the message will hit the relevant mark: “Eat an apple today, and spend one more tomorrow with your daughter.”

Now that could win some healthy hearts.

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