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  • P.F. Wilson, Loyalty360 | Apr 17 2017
    “At the Expo I am planning to cover engagement loyalty and what engagement loyalty means to AARP,” states Nataki Edwards, senior vice president of digital strategy and operations for AARP, “which is all about trying to get people to be loyal to our brand really outside of a purchase.”
    Edwards will present “Transition from Transactions: How AARP Leverages Engagement-Based Loyalty to Form Stronger Consumer Relationships” at the 2017 Loyalty Expo which will be held May 2nd through the 4th at the Caribe Royale Hotel & Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
    For the last three years AARP has been running Rewards for Good that is not the typical spend-and-get program. “Instead of rewarding people for purchasing things in the market place,” Edwards explains, “we are rewarding them for engaging with the brand. This is a new type of loyalty that is usually seen as an add-on in other companies and it’s been an exciting three years. There are lots of things to look out for and I’m looking forward to sharing what we have learned so far.”
    “I think anyone who is looking to start a new loyalty program from scratch, would benefit from this session,” she continues, “or is thinking about how to balance engagement loyalty with a purchase loyalty program. Updating to engagement or non-purchase loyalty activity can present a bit of a learning curve, but anyone can replicate what we have done. In fact, lots of people have reached out to AARP and asked about how we have done this. Particularly, how to afford and run a program that is not about how much someone buys with you.”
    Focusing on engagement isn’t all that dissimilar from centering on purchase. “Even though you’re not asking someone to purchase it can still feel transactional,” Edwards notes. “Having someone take a quiz, for example, can still be transactional.”
    Engagement and purchase also are related in terms of value. “We’ve built functions around people’s time,” Edwards says, “and time is money. Things don’t come from thin air and people definitely value their time.” Simply put, a member’s time is worth a lot of money to them.
    Edwards also recommends evolving the loyalty program by continually listening to members. “We put a tremendous amount of effort behind listening, sentiment, and feedback of our members and that has really helped shape our road map and our vision for the future.”

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