Royal Canin debuts new loyalty program with e-mail

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Pet food manufacturer Royal Canin is ramping up to launch a new loyalty program in mid July that it will be promoting via e-mail and direct mail.

The new Milestones program is a customer engagement and loyalty program that lets consumers interact with the brand around their pet's life.

“The goal of the campaign is to encourage trial and loyalty to the brand,” said Matt Gordon, Internet marketing specialist at Royal Canin. “We feel that we can't go wrong by educating the consumer about what is affecting their dog or cat nutritionally.”

The new program is being promoted through the manufacturer's e-mail and direct mail programs, both of which direct recipients back to a landing page where they can sign up. The landing page asks for information about their dog or cat such as birthday and breed.

By signing up, these customers are opting in to receive e-mails about their pet's health development, and they will get e-mails at key “milestones.”

“They will receive e-mail updates to walk through puppy hood,” Gordon added.

The e-mails include what stage the animal is at physiologically and what kind of nutritional needs they have while introducing the appropriate level of kitten or dog formula. The e-mails also include a refer-a-friend to promote the program virally.

“Different dogs mature at different rates and there is no one size fits all, so we have different products based on a dog's classification of size, age and weight. Some breeds even have their own tailor made formula,” said Gordon.

This comes after the manufacturer redesigned its site back in January, and created a social networking component back in March. The new loyalty program e-mails will promote this social component, the My Pets, My Page, which lets consumers create profiles and post photos and stories about their pets.

The site is purely informational, no e-commerce, but the site does direct consumers to different retailers based on their ZIP code.

These e-mails are running on top of the manufacturer's regular e-mail marketing program, which is powered by e-mail services firm Silverpop. Royal Canin runs three different programs to three different audiences: consumers, veterinarians and breeders.

Breeders tend to get the most e-mails, receiving at least one a month, but with the launch of this new program, consumers will be getting about this many as well. This week the breeders are getting a new e-mail program based about content and articles that link back to the Royal Canin site. The e-mails will include a monthly set up articles, this month about genetics, link back to articles on the site.

Royal Canin is also in the process of developing a new veterinarian component to its site, which may result in more e-mail.

The company is also using Lyris' Web analytics tool, ClickTracks. The firm uses this tool to segment by the behavior of visitors to its site, including measuring responses of visitors that saw certain products or came in through a certain campaigns, as well as who came in from which links in e-mails. Since the pet food maker began using this behavioral measurement tool in March 2007, Royal Canin saw a 74% increase in time on site and a113% lift in average page views per visitor.

“We're really trying to engage our customers at the brand level, so we look a lot at engagement,” remarked Gordon.

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