Mediaplanet: As the host of Canada’s No. 1 lifestyle series you have been able to make a connection with viewers all over Canada — how do you reward your loyal fan base?

Marilyn Denis: I think it is really important to thank our audience and viewers for their loyalty and support — they’re the reason we are Canada’s No. 1 daytime lifestyle series.  You want their experience with the show to be memorable — something that connects with them personally or something they can share with someone else.  Of course, we also have prizes for audience members during the show and for viewers at Marilyn.ca. Every year we hold our “Search for the Next MARILYN Expert” series — we just recently crowned our new cooking expert following a nation-wide search that gave six incredibly skilled cooks from across Canada a chance to showcase their skills and be part of our team. During the Christmas holidays, we hold our annual “10 Days of Giveaways” series.  Last December, we gave away close to a million dollars’ worth of prizing to audience members. Viewers can also join my BFF Network online at Marilyn.ca for exclusive access to contests, special offers, and more.

MP: You have interviewed fashion experts and shopping personalities that are experts in shopping smart. Are there any tips you can pass along to consumers that are looking to save money?

MD: We have a number of fashion experts who we feature regularly on the show including Peter Papapetrou, Joe Zee, Alexis Honce, Gretta Monahan, and Lilliana Vazquez — who all do a good job at providing viewers with ways to get high fashion looks at half the price. Peter Papapetrou recommends that we edit our wardrobe regularly to know what we have — suggesting we make a list of items before we go shopping to keep us on track. He also says online shopping sometimes has better promos and prices — along with free shipping! Another tip from Peter is to remember that the right accessory can update your classics! My personal stylist, Alexis Honce, who is also our lead wardrobe stylist and fashion expert, recently shared these money saving fashion tips:

Always look for bargains on trendy clothing that will keep your look updated each season, but invest in the basics that you plan on wearing for years to come.

“These programs become part of a routine and in a sense they build a relationship between retailer and consumer. I like a program that offers reward points or cash back.”

Purchase your clothing midway into the season when stores start their markdowns.

Make friends with your sales associate. They can keep you in the loop about upcoming sales and put aside pieces for you when they come in.

Don’t be afraid to check out new stores. We get used to shopping in the same stores over and over but there might be some great deals at the shop next door.

Shop online! Alexis also agrees that online stores usually offer massive markdowns that are not available in-stores.

MP: The average consumer participates in 7 loyalty
programs — do you participate in loyalty and rewards programs? 

MD: I do! I have a coffee card, a travel reward program, and loyalty cards from select retailers, but I keep the number very small. I believe you should get into a loyalty program, see if it works for you, figure out how it works and use it for a while instead of signing up for a multitude of programs that you don’t use well. Because if you know the ins and outs of a loyalty program, you can take great advantage and save yourself a lot of time and money. If you have too many of them, then it gets diluted and you are not using them to the best of their ability in terms of how they can work for you — because they really should be working for you! 

MP: How do you spend your reward points — have you ever been able to redeem something for free?
MD: Yes — in a couple of cases I have used my reward points for experiences rather than redeeming for a gift in a catalogue — that has served me well.  It’s about getting cash back and gaining experiences. But in most cases, I use loyalty programs to get reimbursed on a future purchase. For example, if I buy a number of items at a store I frequent, I will get a certain dollar amount off my next purchase — I like and prefer that. I also have a coffee card that offers one free coffee after buying a certain amount of cups. Now I just need the LCBO to provide a loyalty program, like buy nine bottles of Pinot Grigio and get the tenth one free — I would be very loyal to that program! 

MP: As a consumer, what impact do loyalty programs have on your daily shopping habits?

MD: The impact is that the programs I do participate in allow me to receive rewards on the items I buy often,  so I see myself becoming a loyal customer of certain brands or stores. But I only use what I use. I am not creative with my loyalty programs — perhaps I should be. I approach loyalty programs on a very simple level. There are certain retailers that I like to frequent and I therefore, by association, participate in their reward programs. 

MP: Describe the perfect loyalty program for you.

MD: Most people love routine and are loyal to certain businesses and items. Loyalty programs encourages regular repeat business, whether it’s daily at a coffee shop or weekly at a favourite retailer — these programs become part of a routine and in a sense they build a relationship between retailer and consumer. I like a program that offers reward points or cash back.  But seriously, the ultimate rewards program would be the one that served up a steaming hot latte the moment I wake up in the morning!

MP: What’s coming up on The Marilyn Denis Show? What can we look forward to? 

MD: We will continue to bring viewers entertainment and lifestyle segments, featuring Canadian and international celebrities and experts. Viewers will walk away having learned something new from our wide panel of experts, including real estate expert Scott McGillivray, who is co-hosting an episode with me (March 31st), fashion designer and Kleinfeld fashion director Randy Fenoli (Apr. 2) will be a part of an upcoming wedding themed episode, and we continue to showcase MASTERCHEF CANADA eliminated home cooks (Apr. 1) each week. More information about upcoming guest listings, including ticket information, can be found online at Marilyn.ca. 

editorial@mediaplanet.com