Recommended Reads Day 25: Scoring Points

Adrian Rowe 2 mins

The final business book we are recommending is Scoring Points, the story behind the world’s most successful loyalty scheme – the Tesco Clubcard. You could win your own copy of this excellent book by sharing this post.

Scoring Points

Authors: Clive Humby, Terry Hunt, Tim Phillips

Published: 2003

I guarantee that the subject of this book, the Tesco Clubcard, is somewhere on or near your person as you read this – in your wallet, your purse or on your keyfob. And if you’re involved in marketing, I am certain that, at some time or other, you will have taken part in conversations about how you can make customers loyal to your brand or store. If so, you could most definitely profit from reading this book!

Launched in February 1995, the Tesco Clubcard scheme was an extraordinary innovation in supermarket retailing, one that built on the foundations of previous schemes like Green Shield stamps and the Co-op Dividend, but with an overwhelming advantage – virtually real-time shopper data. Working with the data agency dunnhumby, ad agency Evans Hunt Scott and an energetic internal team led by Terry Leahy, Tim Mason and Grant Harrison, trials of the fledgling concept at three stores – code-named the Omega Project – proved highly successful.

The book reveals much about how the key decisions around the trial helped to ensure the success of the roll-out. For example, Tesco decided early on that they wanted a ‘democratic’ scheme that would benefit all customers, not just the high-spenders of a typical department store VIP programme.

Of course, almost 25 years later, we know just how exceptionally successful the Tesco Clubcard turned out. The programme was instrumental in taking the supermarket to market share dominance, the data was key in enabling the company to launch its financial services division, and to counter competitive activity.  The early chapters on the development and testing that preceded the full-scaled launch are fascinating, and include Sir Ian MacLaurin’s famous quote at a Tesco board meeting, on being presented with the results of the Clubcard trials:

“What scares me about this is that you know more about my customers in three months than I know in 30 years”

There are literally thousands of intricate insights in this book for any marketer involved in or considering launching a loyalty scheme. And it is a riveting read about one of the most ambitious, large scale marketing programmes ever undertaken. I wholeheartedly recommend that this should be on every marketer’s bookshelf.

The last of twenty-five of the best business books we’ve ever read. Our recommended reading for your Christmas break. And to celebrate our 25th Anniversary, we’re giving you the chance to win these coveted, sought-after reads, just by sharing and re-posting one of our daily recommendations.


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