by Yuping Liu-Thompkins, Loyalty Science Lab
Based partly on Jonas’ doctoral dissertation, this paper explores how marketing messages can be adapted to consumer mindset differences created by loyalty program tier level and distance. They investigate the idea of multidimensional construal level and how tier level and distance can jointly affect consumers’ preference for thinking-oriented vs. feeling-oriented messages.
For practitioners looking for a few quick take-aways, they recommend you scroll to p.18 of the document for summary recommendations to loyalty program managers.
Loyalty programs offer unique opportunities for firms to personalize their marketing communications to consumers. However, limited attention has been paid to how consumers’ actions within a loyalty program can be leveraged to design effective personalized messages. Addressing this gap, the current research investigates how tier level and goal distance in hierarchical loyalty programs can dictate varying responses to cognitive vs. affective message designs. Through two lab experiments and one field study involving real email campaigns from an international frequent flyer program, we show that the two components work jointly through a Boolean-like mechanism to determine a consumer’s mental construal level. A lower construal level results from simultaneous low tier and distance, which leads to a more favorable response to affective message appeals. In comparison, when either or both of tier level and goal distance are of high magnitude, the resulting higher construal level favors more cognitive message appeals.