LeDroit card encourages purchasing

In August of 1992, LeDroit introduced its most ambitious marketing concept in recent history: Le Club Optimum LeDroit.Basically, the program aims to encourage LeDroit readers to buy from its advertisers. How?Discount cardBy issuing subscribers Le Club Optimum LeDroit cards that will...

In August of 1992, LeDroit introduced its most ambitious marketing concept in recent history: Le Club Optimum LeDroit.

Basically, the program aims to encourage LeDroit readers to buy from its advertisers. How?

Discount card

By issuing subscribers Le Club Optimum LeDroit cards that will allow them and their families to obtain a minimum of a 10% discount on regular-priced items or other bargains in-store.

To ensure the success of this strategy, LeDroit assumed the costs of all related literature and promotional articles (cards, directories of advertisers and premiums offered, stickers, posters, and so on) plus a large-scale advertising campaign.

Initially, we were searching for ways to increase the number of subscribers we serve and keep them for good.

In 1991, our examination of recent successful programs at daily newspapers in Canada and the u.s. helped us discover and adapt a promotional formula that would be beneficial to both of our audiences: advertisers and readers.

There were three main objectives.

The first was reduce subscriber turnover.

We decided the expiry date appearing on the membership card would correspond to the same expiry date as the subscription and would be renewable along with it.

Direct link

Second, we wanted to increase traffic and sales in all businesses that honor the card, therefore linking our subscribers to those businesses in a way that would allow merchants to see that LeDroit was directly bringing them customers.

(Merchants honoring the card did not have to be an advertiser with LeDroit before participating. Our ultimate goal, of course, was for them to become advertisers.)

Third, we wanted to offer exclusive privileges and advantages to our subscribers.

To subscribers, LeDroit was to become more than a valuable source of information, it was to become an indispensable source of savings as well.

Varied target group

Our target group was quite large because it involved many types of participants:

a) Services, the most successful types of businesses to promote our marketing concept (dry cleaners, restaurants, pet shops, video clubs, hardware stores, and so on); potential advertisers; and businesses located throughout our distribution area (both urban and rural.)

Our initial goal, to recruit 150 merchants, was reached before the official launch. Since then, the number of merchants has grown to 250.

Short-term subscribers

b) Current subscribers, specifically those subscribing for less than three months and those paying their carrier rather than paying the office directly.

To join Le Club Optimum LeDroit, a person had to subscribe for at least a three-month period.

We may eventually increase that requirement to six- and 12-month subscribers in order to reduce the number of multiple renewals.

(It is preferable to have a one-year subscriber than the same person subscribing in three-month intervals four times within the same year.)

In a market of 216,000 francophones, LeDroit reaches six out of 10 on a weekly basis.

Four categories

The 216,000 francophones could be divided into four categories: LeDroit’s subscribers, LeDroit single copy sales buyers, non-readers who read daily newspapers and those who simply do not read newspapers.

We targetted our subscribers through a direct mail campaign, single copy readers within LeDroit’s pages and all others by using other media such as radio, television, billboards, shopping centre booths and mail in flyers at all of our merchants’ locations.

The promotion within LeDroit’s pages state the advantages of being a club member and explain how easy it is to join.

On top of saving at least 10% on purchases made at participating merchants, club members can win prizes.

A special promotion is advertised in LeDroit three times within a specific week announcing the names of members drawn from random from our list of subscribers who won specific prizes (minimum retail value of $600, at $25 or more per prize.)

These prizes are provided by a participating merchant or from other sources such as cultural events, exhibitions, fairs, and so on.

Gift certificates

Another weekly promotion consists of giving away to club members $50 gift certificates provided by a major shopping centre in the area.

These gift certificates are redeemable for merchandise at any of the shopping centre’s 250 merchants.

Finally, the name of one person is drawn every month from ballots sent in by members for $500 in grocery shopping.

For that specific promotion, coupons are distributed by LeDroit to all its subscribers.

LeDroit advertisers were told about Le Club Optimum by mail and some were contacted or visited by one of LeDroit’s sales representatives. Some non-advertising merchants were also contacted.

Invited to participate

Merchants were invited to participate and informed of the promotion to increase LeDroit’s circulation and visibility within the entire area.

Because the list of participating merchants is published weekly in LeDroit, along with details of the merchants’ rebates, readers are invited to consult this list before planning their shopping trips.

The list changes constantly, so readers are advised to consult it regularly to find out about new rebates.

In the year since the introduction of Le Club Optimum, LeDroit’s subscription rate has increased slightly, this in a period of decreasing subscription rates within the industry.

Second year plans

We are satisfied with the results, but more is being done during the second year to encourage members to use their card even more often.

In addition to regular media advertising, contest boxes have been installed at all of our merchants’ locations, and members are invited to clip a coupon published in LeDroit every day.

When they make a purchase using their Le Club Optimum card, they can fill out the coupon, staple it to their proof of purchase and deposit it in the box.

Every month, a trip for two to Orlando, Fla. or Hawaii is drawn from all entries received, providing one more reason to use the card for everyday purchases.

Gilles Lamadeleine is director of advertising for LeDroit, a French-language newspaper in Ottawa.