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What is Frequency Marketing?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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Frequency marketing is a promotional strategy designed to reward regular customers as well as those who buy in large quantities. The rewards vary but may include discounts and merchandise prizes. The main goals of a frequency promotional program are repeat sales and customer loyalty. There are many ways companies use frequency marketing to prompt customers to buy more of their products.

Many airlines offer a frequent flier program (FFP) to encourage customer loyalty. Since many airline companies often service the same locales, airlines with good frequency marketing reward programs can often get a larger market share than their competition. A frequent flier reward program usually has a name such as OnePass for Colombia's AeroRepublica, or Punto, which means “point” in Spanish, and is the FFP of Spain's Vueling Airlines.

Most frequent flier programs give passengers points each time they fly with that airline. When saved up after several flights, the points can then be exchanged for free air travel or services. The services may include an upgrade to the first class section of the plane or free or discounted hotel accommodation. Many airlines work together on frequency marketing promotions with related travel businesses such as hotels, restaurants and rental car companies.

Retail stores as well as restaurants and department stores often give customers “scratch and win” cards as part of their repeat sales customer reward programs. The prizes are usually free products or a percentage saved off a future purchase. Since the cards are given on one visit and usually can't be used until another time, the frequency rate of customer purchases can rise as a result of this type of card program. Some types of frequency marketing promotional cards are stamped each time the customer makes a purchase. After a set number of purchases, the next one is free.

Grocery chains and other retailers often use a membership card system. Customers sign up for and receive a card they can use to receive discounts or points to apply to free merchandise. Point catalogs contain items that members may choose from if they save up the required points. Since many of the larger items may take either years to save up for or require large purchases, the company hopes to achieve customer loyalty through repeat business.

Loyalty programs are another name for frequency marketing promotions. The sales strategy is to keep customers buying more products to get the reward offered in the hopes they will become long-term buyers. Companies often have to use specific marketing strategies to help inspire customer loyalty if they have strong competitors. The more customers keep buying their product, the greater chance they will purchase less of the competitor's brand.

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