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071228zLoyalty programs that only reward you when you keep increasing your spending feel pushy. For decades, the grocery industry sent us coupons based on what they wanted to push. But now with the help of dunnhumby, Kroger sends me and others coupons for the stuff we need to run our lives. They are more loyal to us so we can be more loyal to them.

Fortune: How Kroger uses a small British firm to target customers - Nov. 27, 2007. by Matthew Boyle

About three years ago, Thomas got something in the mail from Kroger, her longtime grocer outside of Cincinnati, which caught her eye. It was a pack of coupons, but not like coupons she had seen before. For starters, unlike the one-size-fits-all discounts in the newspaper, these coupons were for products that she actually bought often, like the veggie burgers her husband likes, while others were for items she might want, like those Kudos snack bars that she once shunned as too pricey and now buys regularly. It's gotten so that Thomas actually looks forward to those quarterly mailings from Kroger.