The Sun has rolled out a loyalty reward programme, Sun Savers, intended to both reward loyal print readers with a cash back scheme while extracting data about the traditionally anonymous audience in order to build out a more cohesive data set.
The News UK-owned newspaper has been testing the print-based reward programme since October last year, when it quietly rolled out the programme in beta to its core reader base in order to iterate the product according to the preferences of its target audience.In March this year Savers was given its first launch in Scotland, the purpose of which was to test communications for the programme ahead of its national launch this month.
“We ran a campaign, launched that and asked for customer feedback to understand how they were responding to the offer and proposition,” said Kate Bird, chief marketing officer, The Sun.
The result is a “really clear proposition” that feeds into The Sun’s wider ambitions of building out value propositions for each subset of its audience, in the same way that its betting division Sun Bets serves the large proportion of the paper’s sporting audience that are regular betters.
Savers forms part of the paper’s ‘family values’ content pillar - the readers that come to The Sun for life hacks, bargains and deals. A branded Savers content section on The Sun site will pull in this kind of content while guiding readers to save money while cross-marketing the print-based promotion.
But in the same way that Sun Bets is a business proposition separate to the newspaper, Savers will become a dedicated division with its own app, website and team.
To become part of the Savers programme, readers are guided to collect 28 codes by scanning the paper on the Sun Savers app, or filling in a code on the Savers website, in order to get cash back.
Users can also collect and pay for The Sun’s £9.50 holidays promotion through the app, the first step in creating a “one-stop-shop” loyalty programme.
Cognisant that print is a declining medium, the aim of the scheme is not to grow The Sun’s print audience, but to reward the loyalists. The paper also hopes that by creating a transactional digital relationship with its print readers, these readers will sustain should print’s long-rumoured death knell ring true.
“We are aiming this at the print audience with an ambition to have a digital relationship with them,” said Bird. “We want to build this into a proposition that works digitally because we are creating a transactional digital relationship with our print readers that is much more long term.”
What’s more, Savers marries the paper’s content and commercial offerings in a brand extension that has revenue generation as part of it. The scheme will allow the paper to build out robust data sets on its predominantly 35 to 50-year old readers who are print loyalists and therefore have been historically harder to target on digital.
“The purpose of this is not only to reward fans of the Sun but to gather lots of transactional data from a traditionally anonymous audience because they are predominantly print readers,” said Bird.
This data will both inform the publisher’s marketing, and make its audience more attractive to advertisers who are increasingly looking to targeting audience sets rather than broad reach.
“The more we know on our customers the better our comms can be, our ambition is to be as targeted as possible,” Bird added.
Savers launched nationwide on Saturday (17 June) with all the bells and whistles it needed to guide readers to become part of the programme. The campaign, created by parent publisher News UK’s in-house agency Pulse Creative, was supported editorially, in TV, radio, digitally and in video.