CRM for the Masses
Check out the Portland Mercury's story on Supportland, a "rewards card" program that promotes buying locally in Portland. The really interesting thing to me is how Supportland makes CRM-based marketing* accessible to small stores. That is SO COOL!
Supportland will offer its participating businesses access to software that allows them to create incentive programs. For example, if someone is a repeat customer, they get a free cookie. I am intrigued by the possibilities. For starters, will marketing data from multiple businesses be co-mingled? This could create a powerful treasure trove of behavioral and demographic data.
It sounds like Supportland is sensitive to privacy concerns, and will not be sharing customer names and addresses with businesses. This means incentives need to be offered in point-of-sale situations, a constraint that could give rise to considerable creativity. I will definitely be getting my hands on a card. I can't wait to see how it works in the real world. I hope to see businesses really putting this software into action for themselves.
*(CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. In the non-profit world it is often referred to as Constituent Relationship Management. The idea is to track a particular individual's preferences, activities and demographic data, and to use that data to actively manage your relationship with them. Unfortunately many organizations collect a lot of data, but then don't do a great job of actually using it to analyze and create differentiated relationships with discrete constituent groups.)