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Silver, Gold, or Platinum Customers?
By: Janet Kalandranis
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CRM, or customer relationship management, is not what it used to be. Now it’s an exciting world of customer actions that brands can really customize based on individual needs. And within this CRM world is the idea of customer tiers or levels and the famous “status” labeling. Most famously known to use this is of course MasterCard. With fancy privileges and different-colored cards, the brand has literally created different products off essentially one age-old credit card. And it works. Like. A Charm. Because customers like to know who they are, where they stand, and which group they are connected with — and for brands this means more loyalty and essentially better marketing for each group. It’s like status-level heaven for both the brand and the customer.

Yesterday’s conversation around gaming plays right into today’s topic of status level. It seems silly, almost ridiculous, that customers would even care. But the data proves they do. They want to be associated with certain brands and certain other customers that are of a certain status. In theory it would seem that customers wouldn’t care, that they wouldn’t have the time to think about how important they are to a brand, but in fact it’s quite the opposite. A certain set of customers wants to reap benefits and rewards from doing business with a brand. And they want something to prove their worth. The most common example is of course credit cards. Think about it; even in the simplest form of clothing store credit cards. With a gold membership and the ever-defining platinum, customers are always striving to get to the next level.

And what does that provide the brand? More data, more refined marketing, and of course increased purchasing. Because if customers are able to receive some sort of benefit from doing additional business with a brand in return for a privilege or a treat, many times they’ll push to get to that next level. It’s sometimes as simple as free shipping or even secret sale days. The underlying need is for customers to feel like they are getting access to something that not every customer can have. It’s like getting the extra sprinkles for free when all the other kids have to pay. Sounds over-simplified, but sometimes that’s just how things work.

Not all brands can achieve success from tiered levels, because it might not make sense. (Note: never do anything that doesn’t make sense). If there is no benefit to being on a certain tier then a brand really doesn’t need to spend time creating different customer levels that are outward facing. And it’s true that not all customers care or want to take part. Some just want to purchase products and go on their merry way — please let them do just that. But when tiered levels make sense and provide a benefit to the business and the customer, then by all means create a silver, gold, and of course platinum.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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