Just prior to posting that story, jbox and I met for lunch at DZ Akins (a fine jewish deli with the best chopped liver on rye and matzo ball soup). After he told me the story of how his old Compadres card of 10+ years was worthless, and how the Padres tried to sign him up for their new rewards club for $10, I just about spit up my brisket and pickle all over Ted Leitner's likeness.
Is it just me, or is this new program insulting on so many levels? After carefully reading through the new program rules, I quickly realized that the Padres have eliminated an excellent socialist-esque program for one that promotes a capitalist system of rewarding the fans that spend the most money on tickets with the Padres, and not necessarily those that attend the most games... there is a difference in these two demographics, so let's explore that idea. Considering the general economic sentiment in this country is growing more negative, you would think that a multi-million dollar organization would be sensitive to the fact that the "average fan" is stretching their dollar even further to enjoy a baseball game.
It is good news for all fans and the best part is that each program is tailored to its specific audience, said Overton (Padres Executive Vice President for Business Operations).
Season Ticket Holders are the lifeblood of the Padres and we’re rewarding them for their investment. Similarly, the Frequent Friar Rewards Club rewards Friar Faithful for their ticket purchases.
I understand why the Padres would value season ticket holders above the rest, and offering them a free exclusive Compadres Program for those that commit their money in advance. What I don't understand is why you would not offer a similar free program for those that purchase single-game seats. I get the rationale for differentiating the spending levels of fans, but I don't get why we must eliminate a program that recognized the attendance frequency of fans.
Under the new Frequent Friar Rewards Club, I could attend a single game this season and spend $250 to sit behind home plate in order to receive an award to watch batting practice on the field. But, in order for jbox to get the same reward, he would need to attend ~25 games if he typically spends $10/ticket. You're probably thinking that both kev and jbox spend $250 in tickets, so the reward is equal. What this program doesn't take into account is the other part of one's spending habits while in attendance (i.e. food, drinks, souvenirs, programs, etc). Maybe someone can confirm this for us at GLB, but it seems that one of the main goals of this new program is to tap into the spending habits of their fans. If this is true, and they want to truly reward the amount us fans spend at a game, then why not expand the program to include everything we purchase while in attendance and not just the tickets? And what about fans that attend because they were given free tickets from a friend or company? Are they not considered to be Friar Faithful just because they didn't pay for their tickets?
The other part of this program that is disappointing is that the points are only cumulative over a season, and do not carry over from year to year. In other words, to all of you Compadre members of 10+ years ( we mean you, jbox)... sorry. The entire program reminds me so much of frequent flyer programs. Except that most frequent flyer programs are free to join and are based on how frequently you fly and not how much money you spend. There is a difference there, and not necessarily a direct correlation. In other words, the Frequent Friar Rewards Club is a scam. Unless I'm missing something, this program places less value on frequency, and has everything to do with incentivizing fans to spend more per ticket.
I certainly don't claim to be an expert on the subject of customer loyalty programs and which criteria are most important. There are tons of marketing reports out there on this very topic. I'm also guessing it's a complex process for a business to leverage the buying power of all their customers through incentive-based rewards without discriminating certain groups of customers. To me, the idea of loyalty is not only an economic connection, but an emotional connection with a business or product.
The Padres organization really missed the mark on the launch of the Frequent Friar Rewards Club. Not only is their timing bad, but the program itself is flawed. They have devalued and insulted the fans, and I intend to respond accordingly by letting every Padres employee that I meet aware of my extreme discontent. I have requested an emergency meeting for the GLB Board of Directors to address this issue, and we will inform this community of our decision to take the appropriate actions.