Harlequin has been a household name since 1949 – now published in 34 languages across 110 international markets.  The brand instantly conjures up images of romance.  Naturally Valentine’s Day is a special season for the global publisher, and in February, you can visit its site to buy special Valentine’s titles, download Valentine’s cards, and even discover ways to celebrate “Gal-entine’s” with your single girlfriends.   How does Harlequin know their readers are interested in “Gal-entine’s celebrations” you ask?  Because Harlequin has invested in learning about their readers and showing them love all year round in ways that recognize and reward their loyal customers.

Today on Valentine’s Day, we thought it worth revisiting the Harlequin My Rewards  loyalty program and take a few pages from this award-winning strategy.   It started with the simple premise of asking “how can Harlequin be more loyal to its customers?” as opposed to “how does it get customers to be more loyal to the brand?”

Putting the Customer at the Center:  A customer-centric approach sounds so obvious, but it bears repeating.  Harlequin already knew its readers were largely women with traditional values, focused on family, faith and community, who believe in happy endings.  So the publisher took measures to ensure the right elements were considered throughout the development of its loyalty program, enabling the company to design customer journey maps that followed the preferences and behaviors of its readers.

Rewarding Loyal Users: Using the Stellar Loyalty consumer relationship platform, Harlequin My Rewards rewards its consumers wherever and however they choose to purchase Harlequin books, either from Harlequin retail partners such as Amazon, Walmart, Barnes & Noble or directly from Harlequin.com.  This purchasing behavior is key to learning about its readers, so the Harlequin My Rewards program offers members points to scan their receipts anytime using their mobile devices. By making it easy and fast, Harlequin can encourage its readers to share this information, which in turn allows the publisher to better tailor offers and content to its readers, and collaborate more effectively with its retail partners.

Most importantly, the program providers its readers with rewards they care about, such as free print books or eBooks, autographed books or copies of upcoming books not yet available, or sweepstakes entries for prizes such as lunch with your favorite Harlequin author.  Earning and redeeming is easy and fun.  Who wouldn’t love that?  In fact, 8 out of 10 members are satisfied with the program and rate the program a very high 4.4 out of 5.

Keeping it Social: Harlequin My Rewards members can earn bonus points for watching a Facebook video, answering a survey, visiting a page or tweeting. All of the data gathered from the Harlequin My Rewards program enables Harlequin to successfully segment readers based on known profile preferences and purchasing information and, in turn, the publisher can use that data to build stronger 1:1 relationships by delivering personalized recommendations, offers and communications.

Overall, some of the performance metrics from the Harlequin My Rewards program results are enough to make any loyalty marketer swoon and prove that the love is spreading!

  • 35% of members engage with the program monthly and engagement levels continue to increase
  • Nine out of 10 members are most likely to recommend the program to a friend
  • Harlequin My Rewards members spend 1.5 to 1.9x more than non-members

Based on the success of the Harlequin My Rewards program, Harlequin’s Lucy Scinocca, director of loyalty and customer insight, accepted two silver awards at Loyalty360’s latest Engagement & Experience Expo (December 2016) for the categories of Design and Experience Innovation and Return on CX.   Hear directly from Lucy on both the program innovation and the results achieved to date here.

Today, Harlequin continues to spread the love through the Harlequin My Rewards program and Stellar Loyalty is proud to be the brand’s technology partner.  We think it’s a match made in heaven.