KidZania's Customer Loyalty Program Gets Big Insights from its Pint-Size Participants

The role-playing theme park fuses insights with customized messages, reaching a 60 percent open rate.

Building a successful loyalty program is both an art and a science. Companies must provide the right amount of personalized messages and offers without bombarding customers. KidZania, an entertainment and education center for children with locations globally, offers a loyalty program that includes prizes for its young visitors. It recently needed help managing the growing program and strengthening its relationships with parents.

Founded in 1996 in Mexico, KidZania teaches children from ages 4 to 12 about the working world and personal financial responsibility with role-playing activities. Today there are 16 KidZania locations worldwide in cities like Dubai, Seoul, Lisbon, and Cairo. Children who visit earn kidZos (KidZania currency) by participating in sponsored activities such as making and bottling soda in a Coca-Cola plant or examining teeth in a Crest-sponsored dentist's office. The kids can then save their money in a KidZania bank or spend it in a shop.

The loyalty program, B-KidZanian, gives children a passport for collecting stamps that they receive when they explore a profession to earn extra kidZos and prizes. When parents give their consent for their children to join the loyalty program, the adults are also asked for permission to be contacted about information related to KidZania.

Nearly 400,000 children belong to the loyalty program, which gives the company insights into the children's specific activities and interests. KidZania uses that information to tailor its messages about discounts and special events to parents, says Sarah Marsh, vice president of customer loyalty and minister of citizenship.

"We have an interesting circumstance in which our primary customer is a child, but the person paying is a parent," Marsh notes. "And we wanted to have a campaign platform where we could do different kinds of tailored messages related to insights about the children at scale."

Two years ago, KidZania turned to Adobe Campaign for help. Adobe Campaign allows KidZania to segment its audience, identify optimal times to send emails, as well as link campaign activity to guest visits for targeting inactive visitors.

Within a few weeks after implementing the campaign platform and delivering targeted emails, KidZania reached a 60 percent open rate (the company declined to share its previous open rate). And while the company communicates with parents exclusively through email, it's looking into other channels such as SMS messages and push notifications in markets with a high mobile penetration.

More than 35 million guests have visited KidZania locations and the company is planning to open 10 more over the next few years, including a U.S. location. This means personalizing the company's messages to customers and scaling them across its many locations will be become even more important as KidZania continues to grow, Marsh notes. The campaign platform, she adds, "has put a lot of power into our hands as marketers so that we can be intelligent about what we're delivering to households."