Loyalty can make a difference in wellness and social change, but programs have to keep focused on the fundamentals, and carefully define target segments, if they are to engage users and change behavior.
I spent the weekend cycling in the mountains of Charlottesville, VA. This wasn't a relaxing few days, maybe not even what I would call “fun.” It was hard training with the dozen other women on my cycling team. Most of us logged a total of about eight hours climbing and descending on our bikes and came home with aching legs and saddle sores.
Thanks to new trends in the loyalty industry, I have several options for logging my cycling time this weekend: I can earn a discount on my health insurance by entering the time in our company's Cigna-sponsored wellness program. I could earn points by logging it at DailyFeats.com (also partnered with Cigna), a website that tracks and rewards for health and wellness activities. I could also earn by posting my rides to venturepax.com, a website that tracks and rewards for outdoor activities.
Loyalty in the wellness and social cause space is an exciting new trend, but here's my question – how much are these wellness and social cause loyalty programs changing behavior? Are they pulling those magic levers of lift, shift and retention? Or just rewarding for what members are already doing?
For example, I would have done this crazy ride weekend with or without the pertinent loyalty programs. The only change that Cigna, DailyFeats and Venturepax are making in my behavior is that I now log my time to earn the points. Are social cause and wellness programs able to drive lift, shift or retention for dedicated members like me? Let's look at wellness behavior as an example:
Lift – If I weren't already a cycling-obsessed overachiever, loyalty programs might have some hope, but at four to five hard workouts a week, I'm already at my max. A wellness program will attract a fit person like me, but it has a better chance of “lift” with a segment that isn't already exercising.
Shift – I used to do triathlons, so I would be open to adding swim or run workouts to my activities if I had time. Cross training is healthier than single-sport activities, so wellness programs do have a chance to improve behavior for both healthy and “working on it” members there.
Retention – This is probably where wellness programs have the best power at the moment, for both healthy and striving members. For example, when a diabetic person finds a pharmacy that dispenses guidance, health tracking and rewards as well as medications, that's a compelling reason to return. Also when a competitive cyclist finds a website that offers points for a weekend of mountain riding.
Loyalty can make a difference in wellness and social change. But programs have to keep focused on the fundamentals, and carefully define target segments, if they are to engage users and change behavior. Now I just need to find out if Cigna will reward me for “rest and recovery,” a critical part of this week's training plan.
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