EVENING STANDARD'S LAUNCH OF EROS CARD COULD PROVE TO BE VERY REWARDING - Andy Wood, Managing director, GI Insight
The Evening Standard is potentially making a shrewd move by introducing the Eros card.
If well implemented, this could improve the fortunes of this iconic media brand.
Loyalty practitioners do not reward customers out of the goodness of their hearts.
The purpose of a loyalty programme is, ultimately, to deliver incremental value back to the organisation and the Evening Standard will be looking for a substantial return on investment in the long term.
That is not simply a matter of reader retention, however. The more you know about customers, the more you can introduce new product lines.
Newspaper readership is falling year on year and that means more needs to be done with fewer customers.
That is why loyalty schemes are essential to gather information on readers' tastes and preferences, so they can then be offered additional services - whether that is premium content in their areas of interest, or special interest forums where they can interact with other members, or clubs built around their hobbies, where affinity partners are brought in with exclusive offers, and advertisers can be introduced to people likely to be interested in their products.
That's what a real loyalty programme can do. Let's hope the Eros card is set accordingly.
CUSTOMER MAGAZINES ARE PRINT MEDIA'S DRIVING FORCE - Julia Hutchison, Chief operating officer, Association of Publishing Agencies
The launch of Blockbuster's new monthly magazine Preview (Blockbuster title to debut on Monday, 25 September, page 4) highlights the deep-seated innovation that is alive in today's customer publishing industry.
Preview will become one of the most consumer-aware magazines monitoring reader behaviour through the online offering, resulting in truly targeted content.
Being able to tailor the editorial means Blockbuster customers will have genuinely relevant articles pushed towards them, adding value to the relationship.
As we all know, mass marketing is finding it increasingly harder to cut the mustard as consumers progressively expect to be communicated with in a more personal and engaging manner.
This is where customer magazines fit in. One of their core strengths is that they implicitly understand and know their target audience, which means the entire magazine is built around this group of individuals.
Moreover, with developments such as Preview, the market continues to cater to the appetite for one- to-one customer experiences, building relationships and stimulating brand loyalty.
With such dynamism, it comes as no surprise to me that, in the past six months, there has been a new customer magazine for each working day and we are the second-fastest growing medium, only behind online.
WHAT TO DO WHEN GOOGLE'S FUNDING SCHEME FINISHES - Colin Telford, Affiliate director, R.O.EYE
As reported in Media Week, Google has finally announced the planned withdrawal of its Best Practice Funding payment model (Google to end kicker payment scheme, 25 September, page 12). This will cause big changes in search marketing and has been getting mixed reactions across the industry.
Where search agencies have been - and primarily still are - funded by Best Practice Funding for their online ad placements, they will soon need to look elsewhere to fill this revenue gap.
I see three options going forward: pay search agencies a management fee; bring search in-house; or try a new approach - pay-per-click affiliates.
PPC affiliates have been managing search campaigns for their clients for quite some time.
Their fee structure doesn't rely on Best Practice Funding and they are well positioned to step up and take search away from agencies.
No matter what happens, brands are not going to cut down on search marketing, and they're still going to need someone to manage their search programmes. Various options exist, but you need to make sure you have done your research to find out which works best for you.
BRITISH POLITICIANS NEED AN EFFECTIVE SEARCH STRATEGY - Nick Burcher, Board buying director, Zed Media
With WebCameron, binge-drinking virals and The Sun using search to promote its campaign for an EU referendum, the internet is fast becoming an important campaigning tool in UK politics. However, when compared to recent election campaigns in other countries, the UK seems to be lagging.
The French election saw widespread use of the internet, from supporters clashing outside virtual Second Life headquarters through to extensive use of blogs and websites. The US is also seeing heavy use of online (particularly Web 2.0) properties in the presidential race. While it's hard to imagine Gordon Brown using Twitter, UK political parties should be emulating aspects of US campaigning strategy, especially in search.
Just look at Mitt Romney's extensive search activity, from achieving top ranking against the phrase "War In Iraq" to image optimising - you'll never see a bad photo of him on Google Images.
John McCain has bought various issue-related keywords and Barack Obama, the most technologically advanced Democrat, has run a variety of keyword campaigns to push potential voters to his website.
Search in the UK though remains vastly underutilised as a political campaigning tool, yet it could lead to some very strong voter engagement, enabling party leaders to keep their campaigns continually up-to-date and enhance their association with particular causes.
For example, "hospital" generates more than one million UK impressions a month, yet no party advertises against it.
A political search campaign could effectively enable targeted policy pledges to appear against a wide variety of terms, from education to the environment.
With the traditional restrictions on TV and radio campaigns still in place, it is natural that UK parties will see outdoor as their main broadcast medium.
However, the internet should be an integral part of their strategies too, and although most politicians understand the capacity for the web to create hype, they will be missing a major trick if they don't have an effective search strategy.