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Download ReportLoyalty Programs Dole Out Rewards but Fail to Fully Connect with Consumers Says New CMO Council Study
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CMO Council releases
first benchmark of the Customer Experience Board:
Competitive crunch and convergence in communications marketplace is fueling increased customer churn, and testing customer loyalty.
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Loyalty Dogs Blog
The experts from Loyalty Labs offer musings on best practices in customer management.
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Expert Insights

 “The notion of having a loyalty program which gives you a strategic reserve of loyal guests who you can grow and learn with and interact with gives you a much stronger platform from a business model to draw upon in terms of understanding your guests and then having a mechanism from which you can increase your market share.”

--Thatcher Brown, Director of Sales & Marketing, Jumeirah

I don't think a cookie-cutter rewards program is going to do a lot of good for anybody.  You really need to start at the beginning. What do you want to actually accomplish with it?  Then, think about who you want to get or who you want to keep and design it around that.

--Belinda Lang, Former VP, Consumer Marketing Strategy, American Express

“I think people are much more mobile now, in all the senses of the word.  And you have to make the benefits of the reward program accessible on all channels. You need to allow the guest to decide how he wants to stay in touch.”

--Barry Green, Head of CRM and Loyalty, Etihad Airways

A lot of folks think that any customer’s got to be a good customer.  And I think most of the seasoned executives who have had loyalty programs have realized that that’s not really the case.  We all want all the business that we can get.  And do we have the biggest number of members in lodging?   We do not.  And that’s by choice – because it gets very expensive to serve customers who frankly are not that active, and not really sending us much business over a period of years.” 

--George Corbin, VP, eCommerce Strategy and eMarketing, Marriott International

The relative strength of our loyalty members in the recession is an even stronger impact than in non-recessionary periods.  So it’s extremely valuable.  I can’t imagine where we’d be in the absence of our loyalty program because it really has established those long-term, ongoing relationships with those customers, and they’ve stuck by us.”

--Larry Wadford, Senior Marketing Director, Office Depot

There’s a reasonable amount of churn in the credit card industry, and the more people feel that they are wedded to a card that delivers them a lot of value and that they’re invested in that rewards program, the more they stick with us.

--Peter Horst, Senior Vice President, Brand Marketing, Capital One

“To make the program as effective as possible we make sure that people that don’t have really an ROI don’t stay in the program because there’s a cost to recruit them.  There’s a cost at the hotel to manage them.  We make sure the people that have a very positive ROI stay in the program, get upgraded, etc.”

--Peter Gorla, VP Marketing, Hotel Marketing Concepts; Vice President of Program Strategy & E-Commerce, VOILA

I think sometimes just relatively minor tweaks in strategy can move the needle, and then you can kind of prove concepts, prove ROI, and that can open up the appetite and the budgets to do a little bit more.  I’ve found that as painful as it can be, sometimes managing through these tough economic times just proves to make us a little more scrappy and more effective, and more efficient than we were before. 

--Jill Noblett, Former SVP, Loyalty and Direct Marketing, Wyndham Hotel Group

“In terms of how we leverage the loyalty program to grow volume for us, we segment our customer base, and a lot of it is around segmentation by usage.  So we would know what the average fill-up is at Shell and we would know which of the customers are filling up less than that optimal fill.  We’ve got our CRM program where we give them incentives to upgrade, and once they’re able to hit back to the optimal level, they’re rewarded the extra points. It’s about ensuring that people continue to be active in the program.”

--Vivek Kumar, Retail Marketing Manager, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Brunei, Shell

“At the risk of giving you the equivalent of a Sports Illustrated cover jinx, I would tell you that loyalty is about as recession-proof an industry as I’ve seen.

--Bill Hanifin, Founder & Managing Director, Hanifin Loyalty LLC

Loyalty is not the magic bullet.  It’s a piece of the pie, and if you don’t have great customer service from the front end to the back end, and it’s not enriched in the culture, then it may not succeed.

--Brian Kryzanski, Director Customer Loyalty and Retention, Charter Communications

“Good companies on Twitter and then social media in general provide value.  They don’t just shield products.  That’s the sort of monotone brand that does nothing but talk about what’s on their home page.  Good ones send links.  They point people to exclusive information.  They participate in their community.  And incredibly importantly, we see their face, not their logo.”

--Stephen Denny, Founder, Denny Marketing

This is a very easy arena in which you can get yourself very complicated and very tangled up.  I’m a big believer in the power of simplicity and clarity.

--Peter Horst, SVP, Brand Marketing, Capital One

There’s a shift from the mass marketing model to delight each individual consumer at each individual touch point and develop an individual dialogue with them. And that transition is causing people to look harder at loyalty programs, to do a better job with their call centers, to have marketing where you deliver experiences online. And people start participating and having a two way dialogue with their marketer that they opt into. It’s a huge change for the whole marketing world.   

--Jim Schroer, Founder, EngageNextGen LLC

“And to us, during these times, the program needs to be more robust than ever, more active than ever and more sensitive to the needs of the members than ever because these are the people who got us to where we are today and we need to take care of them.”

--Natasha de Bodt, Director of Loyalty Marketing, Jumeirah

“Make the experience easy for the consumer.  In the past I think loyalty programs and promotions were built around the consumer having to really not only give up their information but do a lot more following that. They're giving you something valuable.  And I think they'll give you even more details about what it is they do and build that loyalty if you make it easy for them to be compensated and rewarded.”

--Michelle Moran, Editor-in-Chief, The Gourmet Retailer Magazine