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Tasti D-Lite Gets Social with Loyalty

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Tasti D-Lite Gets Social with Loyalty
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I’ve been in way too many meetings lately where I have been asked the question “Is Social Media just a fad that will soon blow away?”

Fortunately, I’m well schooled in responding to skeptics since, for the past dozen years, I’ve been answering the classic question in my core business, “Does this Loyalty stuff really work?”

I have a well-practiced response to the second question, but at times when asked about the staying power of social media, I feel like the kid who was just caught by his parents looking at a magazine not on his school reading list – as if I should feel guilty because I’m making a case for understanding how to incorporate social media into the traditional world of data-driven communication strategies.

Convictions aside, it is fortifying when we see offline businesses wading deeper into the social media pond. We’ve seen plenty of our favorite brands open a Twitter account and establish a public Facebook page. But really linking these venues with their mainline customer acquisition and retention efforts? Well, we are just beginning to see examples in the market.

A great one that I came across, courtesy of @ragythomas is the TastiRewards loyalty program, where customers can not only earn points for enjoying tasty ice cream treats, but can also earn extra rewards by connecting their accounts to  Twitter and Foursquare.

The program is really simple and has adopted what I consider a QSR chain best practice by offering a dual-function gift and loyalty card. In this case, the card can be used across participating locations first to facilitate purchase, but with the added value of registering at MyTasti.com to qualify for extra points through social media updates.

TastiRewards members earn 1 point for each pre-tax dollar spent on qualified Tasti D-Lite products. Members become eligible for rewards once 50 points are accumulated and are eligible to receive a free medium Tasti cup or cone.   Extra points can be earned for registering the card online and checking points balances.  Providing a date of birth qualifies you to receive a free medium Tasti cup or cone on the big day.

The success of the TastiRewards program won’t hinge on its linkage to Twitter and Foursquare but, like most programs, will be judged by consumers on its overall value proposition. Points don’t expire, but earning is only possible when the physical card is presented at time of purchase. And there are questions of just how Tasti D-Lite will protect itself against members who try to use the social media option to game the system. As far as value is concerned, the social media point-accelerator seems to boost the perceived value of the program to 8-10% back, above average among today’s loyalty programs.

Tasti D-Lite has taken the important step of doing something with social media instead of just talking about social media. If their treats are as tasty as their innovative TastiRewards, good things should be in store for the chain. I found a store nearby and plan to visit soon.

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