A patent is an exclusive right given to a person by the state for an invention and it grants the holder the right to exclude others from making or using the invention without the patent owner‘s consent( World Intellectual Property Organization). For an innovation to be patented, it must meet relevant requirements such as novelty, non-obviousness and usefulness. This essay shall discuss on patent number 6070147 named Customer Identification and Marketing Analysis Systems. It was invented by Brent Harms and Kurt Johnson and was patented on May 30th 2000 (United States Patent and Trademark Office).
This invention relates to frequent-buyer marketing programs through the capture of buyer information from national identification cards and connecting it with marketing applications. It tracks the buying habits of the customers at a given retail store. It involves introduction of identification terminal in the retail store, such as programmable electronic devices with computing and data storage capabilities (United States Patent and Trademark Office).
This terminal will read the identification card and hence retain the buyer‘s information, such as types of commodities bought, the date of visit and the amount purchased. It will hence make it easy to know when this customer comes again. The loyalty marketing requirement is stored in the database and this criterion must be met in order to be awarded. An example of such criteria is through earning of points (United States Patent and Trademark Office). This terminal will award points to the buyer every time he returns and when they reach a certain number, the buyer may be able to redeem them for some form of promotion, such as purchase discounts, vouchers or even gifts. This will encourage the buyer to come again and also enhances loyalty marketing, which is usually the aim of many firms.
This patent aims at bringing businesses to light through introduction of a cost-effective administration of regular buyer incentive programs. Earlier before, such a program would have been administered through creation of database from manually created forms about the customers. It would also need extra personnel to keep and update these records. This made business owners reluctant to practice loyal marketing programs due to high expenses, wastage of time (United States Patent and Trademark Office). Since formulation of the database was done manually, it would provide inaccurate information. This patent therefore will bring a system, which improves efficiency in administration of frequency marketing programs without having to incur very high costs.
In conclusion, this patent will help many businesses to implement successful frequent-buyer programs, which will boost sales, create a competitive advantage and also attract new customers. It will also assist in cutting down expenses especially those associated with advertising. Past customers are usually the most responsive market segment because they already have information concerning the advertiser in terms of location, service levels, and price and product quality (United States Patent and Trademark Office). Therefore, retaining this type of customers is very important for survival of the business.
The use of governmental-issued identification cards will help to identify the exact location of customer. This will be very helpful in determining where the firm has many or fewer customers, thereby helping in identifying the right marketing strategy the firm needs to adopt. Identification of consumer location can also help to solve security issues in case of theft. However, one major challenge would be the fact that the consumers often ignore the need of carrying the identification card when going shopping, and it is a major requirement for effectiveness of this system. The customer purchases will therefore not be consistently recorded. Despite that challenge, this patent remains a masterpiece, which can greatly contribute to the success of any business (United States Patent and Trademark Office).
United States Patent and Trademark Office. Patent 607147: Customer Identification and Marketing Analysis Systems. 30th May, 2000. Web. 21st April, 2015.
World Intellectual Property Organization. What is a Patent? 2014. Web. 21st April, 2015.