The FiftyUp Club was created in 2013 to help those who are 50 and over gain access to discounts, special offers and information. The FiftyUp Club was built upon a simple belief that people 50+ are often the best customers a company can hope for. They are often lower risk, higher value, and stick with providers they like and respect. The FiftyUp Club model uses the combined buying power of over 490,000 members to work with providers of essential household goods and services to see if they can negotiate improved value for the members.
Joining the Program
The joining process is very simple and can be completed online or over the phone, by simply providing an email address or calling the number provided to register. There is also no requirement to show proof of age that you are over 50.
Once you have completed the sign-up process online, you are asked about the bill you would most like to save money on. This will either take you to a dedicated page on the specific providers discount or offer, or you can skip this step and go to the home page that has all the offers. You also receive a generic welcome email that highlights several of the offers that are hyperlinked to push you to the website home page.
I feel the FiftyUp Club has missed a great opportunity to better showcase the program and incentivise members to start them on their journey to explore and use the program.
According to Murphy, “The seeds of churn are planted early”1 and this further stresses that the early days of a relationship with a new member are critical for educating them about the program and convincing them that they will be able to access value ongoing, thereby reducing the likelihood they will disengage immediately or over the longer term. The process of onboarding emerges as a cornerstone strategy for amplifying the enduring value derived from member participation.
Best-practice program operators employ sophisticated onboarding procedures to not only educate but also ignite enthusiasm among members regarding the program. This approach encourages individuals to embark on a journey of self-discovery within the program’s offerings. By guiding members through their inaugural steps towards claiming their initial reward, motivating them to undertake subsequent transactions earlier in their purchasing journey, and inspiring them to share their positive encounters with acquaintances. These operators orchestrate a multifaceted onboarding experience.
Leading a new member towards attaining their first reward stands as a pivotal factor in fostering sustained engagement. Although this isn’t a traditional loyalty program where members can earn additional points or be moved up tiers, there is an opportunity for an initial surprise and delight, such as a one-off discount above and beyond the standard member discount to encourage repeat purchases and get members engaging with the program.
As a program, the FiftyUp Club is a very simple model that doesn’t include points or tiers. The model is a member benefits program that provides discounts and special offers on a range of essential household goods and services. The categories include energy, banking, telecommunications, and a range of insurances.
The FiftyUp Club uses its extensive member base to negotiate exclusive discounts with the partners that are part of the program. There is no fee to join the program and the FiftyUp Club makes its revenue from commission payments made by the partners when a member makes a transaction. Once a member clicks on an offer within the FiftyUp Club website, they are redirected to a unique URL within that partners website, so that any transactions can be attributed back to the FiftyUp Club.
An example of this is Noble Oak Life Insurance who provide a fifteen percent discount to all members and pay FiftyUp Club a commission of fifteen percent of the premium for each member who takes up the offer.
I really like this model, as it isn’t costing the member anything, and the partners obviously have plenty of margin if they are still able to pay these commissions and make a profit. I do believe however, there is so much more that the FiftyUp Club could be doing to improve this program and reward their members.
There are three key areas that I would focus on to start with to improve this program: partner offers, the joining process and personalisation.
1. Partner Offers – at present, there are eleven partner offers available to members and I haven’t noticed these changing much over the last few months. I appreciate the FiftyUp Club is focused on essential household goods and services that can help with the cost-of-living crisis, but there is still a great opportunity to include additional offers that those with disposable income may be interested in. This could include partners to support travel, such as caravan companies, car hire, hotels, tour companies or cruise liners. Even partners to support downsizing, such as real estate comparison sites, property appraisal support, lifestyle communities, removalists and so on.
The additional partners will provide more value to the members and provide a way for FiftyUp Club to stay engaged and bring members back to the site. It could also bring more revenue to the FiftyUp Club through additional commissions.
2. Joining Process – While it can be tempting for the loyalty program to ask for copious amounts of data as part of the join process, this can significantly reduce registration completion rates. Best-practice approaches utilise balance. Although the FiftyUp Club is adhering to this principal of only asking for an email address to join, there isn’t any further request or opportunities for the FiftyUp Club to gain additional information post registration. Flybuys is an industry leader in this space, as highlighted in the following case study:
Once the registration process is completed, flybuys loyalty program invites new members to fill in a profile section. This includes fields for home and work phone, residential and postage address, number of people living in the household, including number of people under 18 years old and any pets, number of cars, whether the member owns their own business, the month of the year when they intend to review their home insurance, car insurance and mobile phone contract, how often they take flights for personal travel, which loyalty programs they are a member of, mobile phone, pay TV and internet products they use, internet shopping habits, and alcohol purchase behaviour.
This is all highly valuable information for flybuys to build a comprehensive member profile, while for the member it is entirely voluntary.
I don’t expect the FiftyUp Club to measure up to Flybuys, but there is some great learning that can be taken from this to improve the program through a better understanding of what their members are interested in and the channels they want to be communicated through.
3. Personalisation – Personalisation is now a consumer expectation, making it a critical success factor for all companies. Research shows that:
- 71% of consumers expect personalisation
- 76% get frustrated when they don’t receive it
- 72% expect to be recognised as individuals
- 78% are more likely to make repeat purchases from companies that personalise
- 78% and more likely to refer companies that personalise to families and friends.3
Companies that personalise generally grow at faster rates and generate more revenue with some studies citing revenue increases of 5%–15% directly attributed to successful implementation of personalisation.
By integrating customer data from various channels, program operators can identify patterns and trends, which can be used to optimise marketing strategies and deliver highly personalised content. As highlighted in the Flybuys case study, this starts from the first interaction with a new member and continues with every touch point from that day foreword.
Since joining the program, I received a welcome email minutes after joining and was then included in the traditional eDM customer journey, which has been an email every other day for the month promoting the different partner offers. This equates to between fourteen to sixteen emails per month, every month, promoting eleven partner offers.
With only eleven offers to promote, this leads to a large number of emails promoting the same offers and reminding the member of any deals that may be coming to an end.
The FiftyUp Club could start with a very simple profile section within a members account. This can be used to ask a member their preferences on several areas, such as how they like being communicated too, what type of current offers they are interested in, how frequently they would like to be communicated too and what type of offers they would like to see included. Even these four simple questions go a long way to delivering a personalised experience.
I am impressed with the number of members they have been able to gain. However, I can’t help but think that there is an amazing opportunity to turn this into a program that could truly reward and change the lives of the over fifties.
As outlined earlier, by better understanding each individual member and their shopping and spending habits, this would allow the FiftyUp Club the ability to better personalise their communication and offers. This also allows you to better segment your members and to make sure that you are investing the right amount of time and energy based on the members value to the company.
I look forward to keeping an eye on this program over the coming years to see how this evolves.
- Murphy, L., 2013, ‘The Seeds of Churn are Planted Early’, Sixteen Ventures, https://sixteenventures.com/seeds-of-churn, accessed 18 February 2020.
- Flybuys, https://join.flybuys.com.au/desktop/fullname, accessed 29 June 2020.
- McKinsey, Nov 2021, ‘The value of getting personalization right – or wrong – is multiplying’, accessed 11 April 2023
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