What Men Want in a Loyalty Program

October 6, 2016
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Everyone see themselves as an individual, but are we truly individualistic? Men are usually portrayed as more individualistic (lone wolves), but in reality they are more loyal to large groups than women. Brands/companies can be classified as these “large groups” making brand loyalty in men more common than you would think.

Creating loyalty in men is simple, yet complicated at the same time. We are simple in the fact that once we establish our loyalty we stick to it. Basically, once we find something we like we tend to stick with it until they give us a reason to stop. The more complicated part is establishing that initial loyalty.

men want in a loyalty program positive experience

The way to start this cycle of loyalty is to establish a positive experience with your company or brand. LoyaltyOne reports that men are 81.7% more likely to continue shopping at a store after a positive experience.

This positive experience can be created by building a loyalty program designed specifically for men. Below we will go over the defining characteristics of establishing loyalty in a male audience.

 

Defining Characteristics

Last week Kirsten went over the defining characteristics of what women want in a loyalty program, and this week we contrast that with what defines a male loyalty program.

men want in a loyalty program loyalty honor

One of the biggest differences between the genders is how we define our loyalty. Men tend to think of loyalty as honor. It is something that we hold in high regard and do not give it out easily. Men want loyalty rewards to align with initial promises and to provide fair value for what is asked of us.

Here are a few things that define what men are looking for in order to give a brand their loyalty:

1. Mission-Oriented

I personally HATE going shopping. Regardless of whether it is for groceries, electronics, or something else I just don’t like it. The main reason I don’t like it is that it takes too long. Apparently I am not alone in thinking this.

Men are mission-oriented which means that we look for ways to resolve things in the quickest and most painless way possible. Basically, we want you to cut all the extra crap and just give us what we need. Time is valuable and we want to maximize our results while minimizing our time allotment, especially when it comes to shopping.

men want in a loyalty program mission oriented

You can capitalize on this mission orientation in a loyalty program very easily. Just remember the acronym KISS, which stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. When men are shopping with you they are on a mission for something. Don’t make your loyalty program a barrier to what they want!

Keep the number of ways to earn points to a minimum to avoid confusion and make sure you have an easy to understand and visual page explaining your program. Quickly show men why and how to join your program without a ton of words because our mission does not allow for time to be wasted reading.

2. Utilitarian

“Utilitarian” is defined as being useful or practical rather than attractive. I can attest to this, as I prefer things to just work over having a ton of bells and whistles. It seems that the majority of guys use this approach when shopping, and you can create a loyalty program that takes advantage.

men want in a loyalty program utilitarian

The best way to incorporate this characteristic into your loyalty program is to showcase why your program is beneficial rather than explaining all the different parts of it. In other words, you want to tell men why they should enroll in your program. This goes hand-in-hand with their desire to save time, and you can easily incorporate this into marketing campaigns: “Join our loyalty program because you will earn free stuff fast!”

3. Status-Driven

In general, men like to show off a bit. We can get a little cocky and it influences our shopping and purchase behaviours. We want to be able to assert our independence or dominance over others. Why do you think luxury sports cars are so sought after?

Men like to show that they belong. One study gave men and women the option to print t-shirts or towels with their name or gym membership status on it. Men prefer to print their status on a tshirt for everyone to see. Men like to be the best, and we like to tell people about it.

men want in a loyalty program status driven

Because men love to show off their status, you can add tiers into a loyalty program that targets them. Men tend to prefer a two tier program that has a VIP class rather than more complex tiered programs with three or more tiers. This is due to our desire to achieve and display our status in simple, to-the-point ways.

4. Visibility

Relating back to characteristic one, men prefer things to be blatantly obvious and visible. We do not mess around when we are shopping. If you want us to be aware of something you need to get it directly in our face. If it is not there we will ignore it… sorry!

men want in a loyalty program visibility

When designing a loyalty program for men be sure to make it visible everywhere. You can do this with a tab that is visible on every page, or by adding loyalty program mentions to high traffic areas such as before the fold on your website’s homepage.

 

Real Examples of What Men Want in a Loyalty Program

Now that we have seen what characteristics define male shopping behaviour, we can look out into the real world for some great examples. These programs are using the loyalty techniques I described to create loyalty programs that men want to be a part of.

1. GONGSHOW’s Gonger Nation Rewards

men want in a loyalty program gongshow home

As a Canadian male, I obviously need to pick a hockey-related loyalty program as my first example. Regardless of what they sell, Gongshow does a fantastic job of creating a loyalty program that plays on a man’s mission-oriented characteristics.

They have built a fantastic page that explains the program to me in a few seconds with strong visuals rather than mountains of text and terms. The most effective graphic for me is the following one:

men want in a loyalty program gongshow simple

In two seconds you are show exactly how many points you will get for your purchases and what your reward will be. They have made this mission easy for every guy out there. I also love that they have built an easy to understand graphic on how to join the program.

men want in a loyalty program gongshow signup

They have made it so easy for shoppers to see the value in the program and join in just a few seconds and just a few clicks. Every man on a mission can take the time to get behind this expertly crafted loyalty program.

men want in a loyalty program gongshow characteristics

2. BottleKeeper’s BK Rewards

men want in a loyalty program bottlekeeper home

BottleKeeper screams utilitarian! The product keeps your beer cold, and that’s it – it’s that simple. They focus on providing utility without too many extra bells and whistles, and that is the way I like it. They have constructed a program and loyalty communication that also focuses on this male shopping characteristic.

If someone asked you if you wanted a FREE BottleKeeper I am sure you would say yes. That is why their loyalty program has this call to action on the bottom of select pages.

men want in a loyalty program bottlekeeper CTA

In order to get that BottleKeeper all you need to do is refer a friend. Yes, it is that simple. Refer a friend that buys a BottleKeeper and they will give you enough points to get a free one. The simplicity is exactly what most men are looking for in a loyalty program.

men want in a loyalty program bottle keeper characteristic

3. EB Games’ Edge Rewards

men want in a loyalty program edge homepage

Most people believe that VIP programs or loyalty tiers are reserved for luxury products or should only be used to target a female audience. This is simply not true. A well designed tiered program can be effective for many different demographics, including men.

Men strive to be the best and love to show off, which motivates them to pursue different levels in a loyalty program. That is why you should make their status within your program visible. The simple way to do that is to show what tier they are currently in, but there are also some more complex ways of doing it.  

men want in a loyalty program edge cards

In the Edge Rewards program, members are given different colored cards based on the level of the loyalty program they have achieved. This is a popular tactic amongst retail loyalty programs including Starbucks and other industry leaders. These cards essentially turn into trophies that men can use to showcase their status.

men want in a loyalty program edge characteristics

4. Canadian Tire’s Canadian Tire Money

men want in a loyalty program canadian tire home

I am sorry for putting so many Canadian examples in this post, but bear with me. For those of you who are not familiar with Canadian Tire, it is a department store for guys. They sell auto parts, sports equipment, outdoor gear, and more.

They have had a loyalty program for as long as I can remember known as Canadian Tire Money. The program has gone through some drastic changes but the one thing I applaud them for is making the program incredibly visible, easy to join, and even easier to understand.

men want in a loyalty program canadian tire communication

They display loyalty information directly on their homepage and provide more details in-store to ensure that every single person can find all the information they need, and lead them to the logical next step.

I really like how they have structured all of their loyalty communication, with many including videos for some of the more difficult or complicated program topics.

men want in a loyalty program canadian tire characteristics

 

Knowing What Men Want in a Loyalty Program

Based on psychology, my own preferences, and past experiences, it becomes clear that men are primarily influenced by convenience. Convenience can explain characteristics one, two, and four. But men also like to boast a little, which is why status and recognition are also important in a loyalty program.

men want in a loyalty program characteristic roundup

Like I said at the start, creating a loyalty program for men is both simple and complicated at the same time. If you make your program easy to join and understand, you’re more than halfway there and off to a great start. The only things missing are a high visibility of benefits and the promise of social status.

If you need more tips and tricks to build the perfect male focused loyalty program, I recommend checking out our free resource center.  You can also check out how to craft the perfect loyalty program for women if you’re wondering how the other half thinks.