Sunday, January 15, 2006

Step up to the plate?

Pity poor ConAgra whose earnings fell 32% and has now made a bad investement in a proprietary loyalty program for K-12 Schools.

While I'm not pleased by the direct shot they take at Foodservice Rewards (see image) I am pleased with the program's flaws:
  1. Their data collection method is distributor velocity reports - but as Evan Carlson of Schwan's Foodservice points out "how many distributors are happy to supply velocity reports by individual customer every month just for this program and just for those participating?"
  2. And as they themselves point out,"it’s understandable that some distributors just don’t have the capability to duplicate velocity/purchasing reports. So, in that case, all you need to do is copy your monthly records verifying your purchases and forward them to Step Up to the Plate".
  3. Furthermore, how many schools are purchasing from just one distributor? So how many reports does one need to gather? As Theresa Harrell of the Conroe ISD points out "I like the peel-off reward codes and being able to enter them at my leisure. Unlike invoice copies, they don't get lost while we wait to send them in."
  4. Unlike Foodservice Rewards, whose points never expire, their points expire each school year. Nice for ConAgra, bad for the participant.
  5. Only 14 merchandise awards? vs. over 2,000 awards + an awards auction?
  6. "You will receive awards between 6-8 weeks from the date you’ve redeemed points" vs. 96% which ship within 48 hours from FSR.
  7. By pulling out of Cool School Cafe as that program's largest sponsor, they weaken a good program and create a third competitor in the K-12 school segment.
  8. Misleadingly, they try to make SUTTP look like a multi-manufacturer program, when the 6 brands participating are ConAgra's (vs. 65+ and thousands of products for FSR.) But "there are more sponsors and brands coming every day." We'll see.

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