Let’s Move Past Transactional Relationships

Building Emotional Loyalty With Your Lottery Customers

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Steve Mason
by Steve Mason
EVP Group Account Director, Lottery

Even though I have more than 30 years of experience growing and marketing customer loyalty programs, I haven’t stopped learning new ways to engage customers and increase repeat purchases. As the leader of our Lottery practice, I’m proud to drive the strategies that help our clients use the incredible potential of their loyalty programs more effectively.

It starts with a pretty basic concept: Reward the customer for repeat purchases/loyalty. There are two types of loyalty that industries try to develop: Behavioral Loyalty, which encourages customers to act in a way favorable to the brand, such as purchasing more frequently. And Emotional Loyalty, which creates a bond between the customer and the brand, driving brand preference and turning customers into ambassadors.

At their core, loyalty programs:

  • Increase frequency of purchase
  • Increase volume or magnitude of purchase
  • Enhance Lifetime Value (LTV) of the customer
  • Build a database of loyal customers
  • Engage and retain customers
  • Acquire new customers through referrals
  • Get access to valuable feedback

For lotteries, behavioral loyalty translates into increased lottery play, higher sales, increased sales per capita, and greater profit transfers for the benefits that lotteries provide to their communities. But in today’s marketplace, emotional loyalty is more important than ever. This can be a challenge for lotteries because the foundation of many customer relationships is transactional.

Our friends at the Maine Lottery offer the RewardME Club, a rewards-based loyalty program developed by Scientific Games. The system provides robust marketing data while engaging and maintaining relationships with players in an interactive environment. But the true genius of their system is that the “earn points for playing/redeem points for merchandise” program provides additional engagement and value, all while players are doing something they enjoy.

Scientific Games knows that quality rewards increase program membership and enhance positive brand experiences. They believe in what they call the three A’s: Rewards must be:

  • Achievable
  • Appropriate
  • Aspirational

The RewardME Club at Maine Lottery, like some others, is also used very effectively to support promotions. For example, the Maine Lottery has conducted a Secret Santa promotion through the RewardME Club for two years in a row, designed to lift lottery ticket sales, including Holiday themed instant tickets in the November-December time frame.

Supported with multi-platform, imaginative advertising from our team at Fuseideas, these promotions have been hugely successful with a combined total of more than 3 million ticket entries by Maine Lottery players. In addition, the lift in sales during November and December has contributed to going on seven consecutive year of record sales.

The RewardME Club is a major part of the Maine Lottery’s success. It gives members enhanced value and great experiences, for example: a warehouse dash for prizes, one of the top prizes from the Secret Santa promotions. For the Margaritaville Instant Ticket second chance event, winners received a fun-filled afternoon in a gorgeous venue, with catering, beverages and a program of games, entertainment, and extra lottery drawings. Guests said it was one of the best afternoons they had ever had, and everyone walked away a winner.

Now, Maine Lottery players are entering Mega Millions tickets for May into the RewardME Club for a chance to win a cash prize of $10,000 or a brand new camper van. Folks across Maine are incredibly excited.

It’s easy to forget that there’s a key word in our Lottery industry that sums it all up. PLAY! People play the Lottery. Playing is inherently emotional, and it’s vital that lottery brands embrace that spirit of fun and use it to build stronger relationships with customers. Reward programs create more reasons to play, more ways to win, and a stronger emotional connection with their audience. And that’s the top prize for any Lottery Commission.