THE ULTIMATE THANK YOU
HARVEST PARTNERS PROGRAM CREATES DEMAND FOR PRODUCTS, REWARDS CUSTOMERS
by Bekah Reddick, Assistant Editor
Have you ever wanted a Polaris® Indy 700 RMK Snowmobile, a Craftsman® 17" drill press, or a KitchenAid® Ultra Power® stand mixer?
These are just a few items that can be redeemed through the HARVEST PARTNERS® preferred customer program with only 770,000; 44,000; and 31,500 HARVEST POINTS® award credits, respectively.
HARVEST PARTNERS was created in 1993 by American Cyanamid and is a customer loyalty program that rewards members for choosing products and services. Members can earn HARVEST POINTS award credits by purchasing BASF, Syngenta and Aventis CropScience crop-protection products, as well as products or services from other participants, such as long-distance service, legal and financial services, and new this year, a HARVEST PARTNERS Platinum MasterCard.
In its nearly 10 years of operation, HARVEST PARTNERS has enrolled more than one million members and includes over 400 products.
In 2001, the HARVEST PARTNERS Web site was launched at www.harvestpartners.com allowing members to access their accounts online and browse the catalog for redeemable items, such as art prints, tools, clothing, savings bonds, vacation packages and more.
The 2002 Rewards catalog boasts 400 items including a Ford F-250 XLT Lariat truck, the ultimate reward for growers or retailers, which is redeemable for 2,699,900 points. Jeff Klock, BASF HARVEST PARTNERS program manager, says the new catalog expands on some of the more popular categories, such as the tool selection, Carhartt® clothing line, collectible tractors and toys.
In addition, approximately 70 members have chosen to redeem their award credits in beautiful Puerta Vallarta, Mexico this February. Wendy Smith, BASF manager of HARVEST PARTNERS, says growers really enjoy such trips.
"(The trips) are a way for growers to get together with others from all over the country and take a vacation at the same time," she says.
The variety of products is one reason for the success of the program. Jeff Springsteen, business manager, customer strategies at Aventis Cropscience for HARVEST PARTNERS, says the program is better than traditional rebates because the member receives something tangible in return for purchasing needed products and services. "Cash is great, but now the member has something to show for the purchase," says Springsteen.
It may seem unusual that BASF, Aventis CropScience and Syngenta - three crop protection competitors - are working together to provide benefits to customers.
"You might ask, 'why would you let a competitor in?'" says Smith. "But, you have to look at what brings value to the customer. More products mean more points and value for the member."
According to Smith, the partnership creates the best opportunity for customers to receive value and the manufacturer to create demand for its products. "It's a 'thank you' for buying our products."
Springsteen says the partners' benefit from the program is more than just product sales. Aventis has found additional value in the informaton that is gathered from the sale. "We are able to gather information about growers that we have never had before," he says. "The information enables Aventis to target products and programs directly to the grower."
Springsteen says Aventis can gather information on growers who purchase Balance®. Then, the company will send them communications material that includes Balance offers or offers on products that match up well with Balance.
"With more and more consolidation, it is really important to know the growers and produce targeted communication to your audience," says Springsteen. AM