Who Doesn’t Want to be a “Regular?”

Story  Norris Krueger   Photos Kimberlee Miller

I’m looking at a pile of loyalty cards on my desk… over a dozen. (Including 4 from the same retailer!) Another store I frequent has initiated a fancy new loyalty program and card… that nobody seems to be using. And they spent a truckload to set it up. Great.

Loyalty programs that don’t work terribly well for the customer or the vendor? But loyalty programs can be awesome. I love it when Delta’s gate agent or flight attendant thanks me for being a million miler. Businesses love having regulars. Customers like being regulars. So why is it so dang hard to make this happen?

A detailed map of the world and…. Princess Leia? Recently, I had a delightful visit to a promising young venture called Sparkage ( Walked in and saw Princess Leia firing a blaster next to a ginormous world map. Good omen for a venture that wants to think beyond today and beyond Idaho, eh?

Sparkage’s mission is to make loyalty programs work, painlessly, seamlessly, and cost-effectively. From the ashes of a prior software venture, Sparkage provides battle-tested software that permits businesses and individuals to make loyalties programs work.

While I was deviously weaseling stories out of them, they let me set up an account. For me, it took 2-3 minutes. All while swapping stories about Dubai, forest fires, and the differences between Hollywood and Horseshoe Bend. For a business, it can take less than 10 minutes. Fancy bells and whistles might take longer and cost the business a bit more but that was so painless and easy.

Think about this: You want a great app for your loyalty program? With push notifications (which few have)? With “refer a friend” element (which few have)? To build one, the ante is $50,000. Maybe $500K+ total. Sparkage can do it for $99 per month.

The team is first-rate, brothers Ryan and Drew Lederman, who bring rich, diverse tech experience and marketing whiz, NIFC veteran, and global citizen Tyler Robertson. What stood out for me was the combo of an easy-going camaraderie with their avowed “obsession with perfection.” Exactly the recipe for building great apps!

Sometimes a venture’s best, most sustainable competitive advantage is to give their customers a sustainable competitive advantage, that’s what I like about Sparkage (besides Leia and that map!)
As I walked out of Sparkage’s Bown Crossing digs toward a well-earned visit to Bier Thirty, I kept wondering if I should set up a loyalty program for me. If I have no real reason to have one and I’m sold on doing it anyway? You want to grow ‘regulars’ for your biz, you should get to know these guys.