Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About usNews and EventsNews articles

Prof. Tammo H.A. Bijmolt: ‘Long-term effects of AH football campaign are unclear’

10 February 2009
Thanks to the football card campaign, Albert Heijn’s turnover has increased in the short term. The image of the chain has also been given a boost. However, the long-term effects of the campaign are unclear, is the opinion of University of Groningen professor of Marketing Tammo Bijmolt.
While several branches of Albert Heijn have had to install crowd barriers to control card-collecting children, the head office of the chain is keeping a close eye on the turnover figures. Short-term saving campaigns can definitely increase the turnover of retail chains, research has revealed. However, the long-term effects are very uncertain, according to University of Groningen professor of Marketing Tammo Bijmolt. ‘The people at Albert Heijn know perfectly well from experience and through market research that a football card campaign can increase the turnover by a few percentage points. However, no-one has any real idea of the effects. The supermarket world is a hands-on business, a world of doers rather than researchers’.

New phenomenon

The fact that we still know so little about the effects of short-term campaigns is partly because it’s a relatively new phenomenon. Bijmolt: ‘Long-term campaigns that never actually end are old hat with retail chains. About forty percent of the retail chains in the Netherlands use customer cards to stimulate the loyalty of their customers. The effect of such loyalty programmes is clearly demonstrable and charted in detail. Short-term savings campaigns have only been around for ten years or so. That is, there were short-term campaigns in the past, but it wasn’t the retail chains who conducted them; they were individual products, for example Verkade with its sticker albums’.

Non-elitist image

Although the exact consequences of the football cards campaign are as yet unclear, we can already say that it’s been a success, thinks Bijmolt. The extra income generated by the campaign will be welcomed with open arms by Albert Heijn, as even this supergrocer is not able to borrow money so easily from the banks for new investments at the moment. In addition, the campaign is doing no harm at all to the chain’s image. ‘Albert Heijn wants to be a typical Dutch shop. By associating itself with a popular sport like football, it’s generating an image transfer – the chain acquires a less elitist image. In that sense this campaign is much more effective for Albert Heijn that the jolly wuppies, which contributed less to the chain’s image.’

More men

The campaign may have even more positive aspects for Albert Heijn, thinks Bijmolt. ‘The smurfs or wuppies may appeal to a larger proportion of your potential customers, but I can imagine that Albert Heijn actually wants to stimulate the loyalty of its male customers.’ The advantage for the chain is that it takes a relatively long period of time before customers have completed their collection. ‘The smurf campaign raised the turnover for a shorter period of time because people were able to complete their collections faster.’

Price war

Has Albert Heijn turned its back on the price war among the supermarkets with its football cards? Bijmolt: ‘No, I don’t think that the price war is over yet. But merely competing on price is not the best strategy for Albert Heijn. They will never beat Aldi, Jumbo or the other cheap chains. The margins in the supermarket world are low. Lowering the price of beer is probably much more expensive than this relatively cheap campaign’.

External parties

Although short-term actions may be very attractive to retail chains, they are logistically complicated and carry major risks. That’s why many chains outsource the organization of campaigns to external parties. Bijmolt: ‘If the campaign doesn’t catch on, you could end up with a warehouse full of football cards, dolls or saucepan sets. That risk is often carried by an external party.’

More research

Together with Brand Loyalty International, a bureau that organizes short-term campaigns for retail chains, and market research bureau GfK, Bijmolt’s department is going to spend the next few years researching the effects of short-term campaigns. Bijmolt: ‘Do the new customers generated by a campaign remain loyal to a retail chain? How often does the chain have to have a short-term campaign to keep its turnover up? And what kind of campaign is the most successful? That’s just a few of the issues we are going to be investigating.’

Curriculum vitae

T.H.A. Bijmolt (Drachten, 1967) studied Economics at the University of Groningen and gained his PhD with distinction from the same institution in 1996. After graduating he worked as a university lecturer and Professor of Marketing Research at Tilburg University. He joined the Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) of the University of Groningen in 2004 as Professor of Marketing Research. On 1 March 2009 he will become the research director of the SOM research institute and graduate school.

Last modified:15 September 2017 3.10 p.m.
printView this page in: Nederlands

More news

  • 13 December 2019

    HR Top 100 scientific award for Floor Rink

    Floor Rink has won the Dutch HR Top100 scientific award.

  • 11 December 2019

    ‘A good university is an international university’

    The core business of Dutch universities is to prepare students for their future: a career in our open, internationally oriented society and knowledge economy. To this end, all Dutch universities have an international perspective firmly entrenched in...

  • 10 December 2019

    ERC grants help two UG scientists to aim for the top

    Two University of Groningen researchers have been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant. The recipients are Geert van den Bogaart and Marleen Kamperman. The European Research Council (ERC) awards these personal grants, each worth € 2 million, to outstanding...