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From the Editor: $200 Billion is a Lot of Loyalty

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By: Mike Giambattista, CLMP |

Posted on February 7, 2019

Even among the larger players in this industry, $200 Billion is enough capital to move a moderately sized mountain.  And it’s enough to keep the smartest customer loyalty practitioners busy evolving, iterating and reiterating, adjusting and disrupting. 

It’s that process of adjusting & disrupting that formed the basis for this year’s Loyalty Academy Conference theme, “Winning with Customers by Making Changes that Matter”.

Note: Several of the principals here at The Wise Marketer were part of the team tasked with placing a valuation on the size and scope of the loyalty market a few years ago and that number ($200 Billion) emerged as credible, if not (let’s just say it), huge.

A lot has happened in and to the customer loyalty industry since the first frequent flyer miles made their appearance several decades ago.  And its not just the pace of the changes that are astonishing – it’s the always-on revolution of systemic, technological, regulatory, sentiment & expectation changes that just keep happening.  It seems that everything in loyalty is changing all the time.

It seems that everything in loyalty is changing all the time.

We smile now at the notion of a Chief Innovation Officer.  By the time the dust has settled on that person’s appointment, the entire playing field will have been turned upside several times and an entirely new set of market forces will have appeared to supplant everything that had been traditionally sacrosanct.  Does anyone remember RFM?  Evaluating customer segmentation on three simple axes’ is so last decade.

But there are companies – and people within those companies – who seemed to have found a bead on the important changes – the ones that really matter, the ones that will continue to matter through the next customer revolution. 

Companies such as Air Miles that had their entire working ecosystem plowed under but were somehow able to not only emerge from the ashes, but do so with a revitalized mission and commitment to their customers.  Note: two of Air Miles’ leadership team, Rachel MacQueen and Jane Moran, will be presenting at this year’s Loyalty Academy conference.

Companies like 8451 (the agency / think-tank behind Kroger’s dynamic approach) that are quite literally leading a revolution in grocery and that is having real ripple-effects in other spaces.  Note: Bob Welch, Senior Vice President of 8451’s Customer Communication and Loyalty practice will also be presenting at this year’s Loyalty Academy Conference.

And then there are people like Matthew Seagrim who is helming SCENE, the biggest entertainment loyalty program in Canada, and which has become a model for other segments within the entertainment space.  Matthew will also be presenting at this years’ Loyalty Academy Conference.

And there are the thinkers and masterminds – the oracles, if you will, of our industry, who have been responsible for identifying some of the most sweeping changes in loyalty well before they became mainstream news, and who continue to bring vision and critical perspective to this practice.  We’re pointing specifically to Barry Kirk, VP of Strategy for Maritz Loyalty, David Andreadakis, Chief Strategy Officer at Kobie Marketing, Bill Hanifin, CEO of Wise Marketer Group, and Mike Capizzi, Dean of the Loyalty Academy.  And yes, each of them will be presenting at the Loyalty Academy Conference on topics that will be shaping customer loyalty beyond the near term.

In their own right, each of the people mentioned above have been able to identify the changes that matter, and they have been able to effect them to create greater customer engagement and customer loyalty. 

The Loyalty Academy Conference is unique within loyalty and broader customer loyalty marketing events for its very specific intent.  We’ve taken a couple of pages out of our own loyalty playbook to create a forum where real genuine engagement can happen.  In a context of learning, of conversation, of an industry collegiality that doesn’t really exist anywhere else, The Loyalty Academy Conference is where dialogue takes place and where business relationships take root.

I’m inviting you personally to come to this year’s event.  It happens on March 6 & 7 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  You can find more information about the speakers, the presentations, the agenda and registration here. There is also a Live Stream option if you can’t be there in person. And if you have more questions, feel free to contact me at The Wise Marketer.  I’m looking forward to meeting you there.

PS. You can still get Early Bird pricing if you register before February 15.

Mike Giambattista is Editor in Chief at The Wise Marketer and is a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional (CLMP).