Too Many Members Force Stonyfield to End Loyalty Program

Posted on by Patricia Odell

It’s an interesting turn of events when a brand gets so many reward members that it can no longer sustain the program.

Last month, the marketers at Stonyfield Yogurt sent emails to its loyalty rewards members letting them know that the program was coming to an end because the small troop that ran it could no longer sustain backend operations like fulfillment to keep the program running at top speed for the 500,000 members who had joined since it began in 2009.

The email read in part: “As the program grew, we tried to grow with it. Unfortunately, it’s now at a point where it’s no longer sustainable to continue to run in a way where you will truly feel rewarded." The five members of the myStonyfield Rewards team signed the email.

“It’s outgrown the small little team that we have,” Kristina Drociak, communication specialists at Stonyfield, said.

What began as a short term promotion—extended over and over to accommodate the number of people who wanted to join and continue to participate—grew into the mass of loyalists earning points through purchases that they could redeem for a variety of products and branded merchandise, and the very popular coupons for free yogurt. My Stonyfield Rewards officially ends April 12.

But don't think the fun is ending. Stonyfield has captured an enormous pool of people who enjoy the brand and it plans to keep those people happy with a full slate of promotions running throughout the rest of the year. In the email, members were encouraged to stay connected through the brand’s newsletters and Facebook page, where any promotions will be advertised. And while upcoming marketing and promotions will not replace the rewards program, programs have been crafted based on what the internal rewards’ team learned over the years about the types of promotions its members truly enjoy.

Now 30 years in business, Stonyfield is tying those three decades to its new “Taste the Love” promotion on its Facebook page. By liking the page and registering, two fans each month get the chance to win one year of free yogurt. Three hundred coupons are also being given away for a free yogurt or smoothie. At the end of the year when the promotion ends, six more fans will be chosen from the pool for a second chance to win.

Another promotion that will also run through the end of the year is the YoBaby yogurt “Baby of the Month” photo contest. Players enter for a chance for their child to be Stonyfield’s YoBaby of the month and be featured on its website, in its newsletter and on its Facebook page. Eleven winners will be randomly selected, each winning a year's worth of free YoBaby or YoToddler yogurt.

The marketers also plan surprise and delight tactics throughout the year including distributing coupons on a random basis to Twitter followers.

“What started as a quick way to thank our loyal customers ended up lasting far beyond our expectations,” Amy Peterson, assistant social media manager at Stonyfield, said.

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