European Loyalty Association Hosts First UK HUB Member Meeting

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By: Bill Hanfin, Wise Marketer |

Posted on March 8, 2024

Conference Provided Networking and Education in a Collaborative Setting

The European Loyalty Association held its UK Hub Member Meeting earlier this week in London. This Hub Member meeting was the first of 2024 and signals the beginning of a new chapter in professional development opportunities for Loyalty Marketers. A second Hub event will be held in Berlin on 6 June with the possibility of an additional event leading up to The BIG Handshake Loyalty in Amsterdam on 15-16 October.

The event was hosted at South Place Hotel, a chic location in London’s East End. It was strongly supported by multiple sponsors including Annex Cloud, Cardlytics, Comarch, Marigold and NeoDay. The Wise Marketer was on site as the educational partner for the event.

The format was a solid afternoon of content bracketed by a quality lunch and networking event to start and an additional gathering for cocktails and networking at the conclusion. In all, there were over 50 people in attendance from notable brands across several countries in Western Europe.

Hadie Perkas, Co-Founder and CEO ELA introduced the day and then transitioned to Kim van der Zande of NeoDay who moderated a panel on the topic of how to manage the complexities of running loyalty programs across diverse regions or countries. The topic is one that our North American friends don’t encounter very often unless they happen to work with a brand in a cross-border situation. Outside of the US however, the challenges of creating an effective loyalty structure at the enterprise level and versioning aspects to adjust to accommodate nuances presented by cultural and language differences is a regular challenge.

Highly experienced marketer and ELA HUB leader Helen Thomson, Vivo Energy joined with Sara Matarrubia who is responsible for customer loyalty at Melia Hotels International (15 million members) and others for a fascinating conversation that illustrated several practical approaches to customizing loyalty by region and culture.

The day embraced an educational focus as Bill Hanifin, CEO Wise Marketer Group led a session “Building a Next-Gen Customer Value Proposition”. Bill shared the foundations of loyalty based on some of the core curriculum from WMG’s Loyalty Academy and the entire group participated in an exercise for some inter-brand sharing and candid discussion.

The afternoon continued with three sessions:

  • Are Loyalty Programs obsolete in a hyper-personalized world? – Nick Watson and John Tsaousidis, both from Marigold, challenged the value of loyalty programs in a world where brands have many options to leverage data for engagement and behavior change. Fortunately, the group landed on some optimistic predictions from the discussion, though it was clear that the way loyalty programs will be structured and executed in the future must change.
  • Isobel Finlayson, Mando-Connect lit up the room with her moderation of how brands need to think about Rewarding customers with social and eco-credentials in mind. Nohelia Gambal, Goodfind.IO and Tom Stancliffe, TRIBE shared valuable insights making clear the importance of connecting with customers at an emotional level through value-based initiatives. The panel noted that while this is an important focus for brands, it's important to balance the investment in cause-related loyalty with other aspects of the program. Execution can be a challenge and all of it must be carefully managed to authentically connect with customers as intended.
  • The day wrapped up with a very interesting talk “Quantifying the role of empathy in customer experience”, presented by Peter Dorrington of Anthrolytics. Peter has made a career of measuring customer sentiment, empathy, and satisfaction and was involved in the early days of the Net Promoter Score movement. He shared proprietary approaches to measuring empathy across any customer base and made recommendations for building strategy in response to findings. His material tied nicely to the Loyalty Academy coverage of human behavior theory as a key driver for loyalty strategy for the future.

The UK Hub Member Meeting was unique as it allowed brands of all types to engage meaningful discussions, compare notes, and collaborate on practical exercises with other brands to “sharpen the saw”. This was an enjoyable event that afforded great networking among brands and providers in a learning environment.