RESEARCH & INSIGHTS

Featured Insight

How next-generation capabilities are delivering winning results in the world of personalization

Today’s customers are dissatisfied with the relevance of communications, while retailers are still struggling to show demonstrably improved campaign performance. Is Big Data to blame? Sure, the increased information flow can improve marketing ROI, but it also presents the rather significant challenge of how to build the capabilities to make sense of all that data.

Fortunately, with the power of emerging technologies, neither customers nor marketers have to feel helplessly resigned to the current situation. Today, better analytical approaches and improved technologies are easing the strategic journey toward true one-to-one personalization, helping marketers move past obstacles and seize opportunities for generating sustainable growth and earning customer loyalty.

Download this whitepaper to learn more about an approach that’s more profitable than traditional campaign-based marketing. 

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Blog Posts see all

It may be hard to put a price on unwavering loyalty, but when that loyalty translates to sales, we marketers have gotten pretty good at it.

Smart marketers know, for instance, that quantifying the value of loyalty requires a balance of art and science. We have warehouses of highly detailed data that provide hard evidence of consumer behavior and preferences. Yet we need to rely on nuanced, human interpretations to conclude what that data might indicate when combined with outside variables.

The results can be brilliant. Some major brands have evolved their loyalty programs into sophisticated platforms from which they can manage a variety of simultaneous promotions and events. When done well, these efforts translate to emotional loyalty – when the consumer commits to one brand over all others regardless of price or convenience.

It is a topic I look forward to hashing out with my loyalty peers in September at the 12th Annual COLLOQUY Loyalty Summit.   I plan to discuss not only the tactical strategies behind the art and science of loyalty marketing, but also a preview of work we’re doing to quantify the impact of the drivers of customer value and the factors that influence customer experience.

And I won’t be alone. This year, COLLOQUY has lined up a cross-section of industry heavy hitters seldom seen under one roof, from Kellogg’s to MasterCard to JCPenny. To be held in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Summit is an exclusive event with limited attendance so guests can freely share ideas with others from across industries. I hope you are among them.

Among the featured sessions this year:

• Keynote presentations by retail expert Kevin Graff, who explores today’s most promising retail trends and how to use them to grow share of wallet and encourage repeat customers; and Mike Walsh, a consumer futurist and author of the book “Futuretainment” who will discuss the mindset change required in organizations today on how to use data across the enterprise.

• Award-winning marketing expert Joseph Pine, author of the books “The Experience Economy”and” Infinite Possibility,” will talk about today’s “experience economy” and how to generate demand with an experience so engaging & authentic that customers can’t help but pay attention.

• Sessions with key marketing executives from IKEA, Caesars, MasterCard, Orbitz.com, Sephora, Kellogg’s, Sears, JCPenney, and others, who will provide an insider’s view of their own challenges and achievements in loyalty and customer experience.

• A “Gamification of Loyalty” workshop headed by leading gamification expert Gabe Zichermann, author of “The Gamification Revolution”, and COLLOQUY research editor Jeff Berry.

And, there is also some fun to be had! A kick-off golf scramble on opening day, Sept. 29. (Count me in!), receptions, entertainment and more.

If you’d like more information about how the COLLOQUY Loyalty Summit can benefit you and your business, visit summit.colloquy.com and register today.

See you in Scottsdale!


Role models are tricky things. Pick the right one, and you have a way to benchmark progress and set goals. Pick the wrong one, and you set yourself up for disappointment and failure.

In the world of loyalty, we often look to the travel industry as the gold standard for program design because that’s where loyalty programs originated, and the programs are so ingrained into the workings of their respective companies. But retailers, in particular, are setting themselves up for failure by looking in this direction for inspiration. There are just too many differences between industries.

Travel and retail face different market forces. There has been increasing consolidation within the travel industry, with many small players being acquired. In contrast, the retail environment is becoming increasingly competitive as local retailers combat online shopping and an environment in which consumers can easily price compare and essentially buy anything from anywhere at any time. With differing market forces in play, the approach to how the industries treat their customers shouldn’t be the same, nor will consumer expectations be the same.

Travel value propositions are decreasing, while retailers’ are strengthening. In the travel industry, for instance, Marriott rearranged its reward portfolio and moved 36% of its hotels into a higher point category while making only 1% less expensive. Program changes to the Hilton HHonors program mean that it will take nearly twice as many points to earn a free night at some of the chain’s top-tier hotels. Both Delta Airlines and United Airlines are now rewarding for how much customers spend rather than how far they fly, and both programs have new higher mileage requirements for premium reward travel. In the retail industry, on the other hand, Nordstrom has reduced the number of points needed to be promoted to the next tier by half, while Sephora re-launched its Beauty Insider program and added a reward level for customers who spend $1,000 a year, offering free shipping, early access to new products, and VIP event invites. This difference between making rewards harder to get in travel and easier to access in retail are being driven by extremely different overall trends.

Aspirational customers have different motivations. Travel industry customers who are looking to move up to a higher tier tend to be more motivated by soft benefits than those in other industries. The 2014 COLLOQUY Research Study on Consumer Attitudes Toward Membership Status in Loyalty Programs found that upgrades to products and services (77%), higher level of service (72%) and sharing perks with friends (65%) were the most important soft rewards in the travel industry. Retail customers looking to advance a tier were less hungry for those benefits (each registered about 10% lower), and instead were more heavily drawn to monetary or cash rewards (84%).  

In sum, retailers need to consider what their customers find motivating rather than following the lead of another industry. Looking outside of an immediate competitor set for inspiration can help keep a program fresh and differentiated, but retailers have to make sure that their customers really will be motivated by what’s being offered. The best way to understand that is data — from your customers, not an entirely different industry. 

More on motivators that change customer behavior can be found here.

Upcoming Industry Events see all
Sep
10
Putting Employees First to Grow
Achievers Customer Experience 2014 (ACE), Toronto, ON
Bryan Pearson
Sep
23
The Big Deal About Big Data
Economic Club of Canada Panel, Toronto, ON
Bryan Pearson
Sep
30
The Art and Science of Loyalty Marketing
2014 COLLOQUY Loyalty Summit, Scottsdale, Arizona
Bryan Pearson