Live from Las Vegas: Loyalty Leaders Share Best Practices for Big Data Use

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Retailers and loyalty experts gather at Loyalty World USA to network, learn from each other, and discuss the latest loyalty industry developments.

The following is a blog written by Caitlin Whitehurst, a Colloquy Staff Writer attending Loyalty World USA.

The loyalty industry is drifting toward “offer anarchy,” Martin Hayward, Aimia's vice president of global digital strategy, told attendees of Loyalty World Las Vegas on Oct. 28.

"Loyalty is a strategy," Hayward said. "But we are in danger of seeing loyalty becoming synonymous with promotions."

The industry should be entering a golden age of marketing fueled by the troves of data and tools marketers have at their disposal, Hayward said. Instead, the industry is falling victim to what Hayward calls interception marketing – a game of tit for tat in which companies compete for customers and pressure them to switch at all stages of the purchase journey.

"We must ensure we do things for and with customers – not to them," Hayward said.

It was a sentiment echoed by the day's next speaker, Vinay Bhatia, customer care associate and senior vice president at Shoppers Stop Limited.

Bhatia told the crowd of about 250 loyalty marketers about the Indian retailer's innovative data use through its segmentation approach. Three years ago, the company created a pilot program that measures purchasing behavior based on factors ranging from ethnic background to zodiac signs.

The data is used to send targeted and relevant offers to various audience segments through mobile messaging, email and social media, Bhatia said.

Data was also the focus of the third keynote of the day – Bryan Pearson, president and CEO of LoyaltyOne, spoke about how customer information could be used to create emotionally engaging experiences.

Pearson spoke about the company's AIR MILES Reward Program and how the company creates relevant messaging. So much so, that only 1 in 1,000 members will opt-out of its loyalty content.

"Relevance is really a company's thinking about the curated customer experience," Pearson said.

Companies can achieve relevance in their loyalty programs through personalization, contextual messaging and real-time communications, Pearson said.

Pearson also shared how companies can use their data to create meaningful customer experiences – a process he outlines in his bestselling book The Loyalty Leap: Turning Customer Information into Customer Intimacy.

To make the loyalty leap, companies need to invest in understanding best customers and share and leverage data across the organization. They must also create value by improving their customer relevance in addition to being transparent and reasonable, Pearson said.

Like Hayward, Pearson acknowledged that it is indeed an exciting time to be a marketer. He also posed a question:

Are loyalty marketers acting on the right call to action?

"The world is changing and we need to be having the right discussions," Pearson said.

[Image: Wayne Hsieh – Flickr]

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