Welcome to 2021!
It certainly took a long and winding road to get here but the New Year has finally arrived. As we look forward with unbridled enthusiasm to the hopes, changes, progress, and prosperity associated with a pandemic free 2021 — whenever that may happen — we remain convinced that opportunities in the loyalty marketing industry have never been greater!
Despite the huge challenges associated with 2020, the Loyalty Academy managed to grow significantly on a global scale. Prevented by circumstance to conduct our usual in-person lineup of conferences, industry events and certification workshops, we still managed to double the number of global CLMPs from a year ago; host more free virtual events, webinars, video interviews, and podcasts with our Wise Marketer brothers; launch new courses as part of our ever expanding curriculum; issue six, 100% paid scholarships to earn the CLMP certification; eliminate annual membership dues in favor of a lifetime membership designation for the industry; collaborate with major brands on in-house loyalty education training programs in an on-line, on demand format; and publish more than 50 new pieces of loyalty research and white papers in the members only library (VAULT) of the Loyalty Academy website. Not bad for a bunch of working from home types who have not seen each other since last February!
While we missed the opportunities to teach in person in places like Dublin or Mumbai, Toronto, Auckland or Sao Paulo, Dubai or Ft. Lauderdale, those opportunities will hopefully return in 2021. And there will be other venues soon! More important, we will once again be able to meet and share our collective loyalty knowledge and experiences across the globe.
Regarding the certification program, we have reached a milestone of more than 180 CLMPs (as of this writing) in 22 countries around the world. We have built and continue to refine the only professional loyalty marketing credential in the industry, and we offer the opportunity for all to continue their learning and professional development with our groundbreaking loyalty education curriculum. Brands discovered many things in 2020. But one of the most important discoveries was that best customers who are rewarded and recognized for their patronage and advocacy can help you through a downpour. Many of the principles and best practices embedded in the Loyalty Academy curriculum came through in shining colors. At times, it felt like the entire loyalty marketing discipline had been re-discovered. Watch out for 2021!
A good friend of mine asked me the other day an important question. When will you consider the pandemic to be over? I thought it was a terrific question because of its potential for an infinite number of answers — highly personal, extremely relevant and individualized, yet applicable in every region of the world.
Recommended Read: The 4 Pillars of Loyalty Campaigns During COVID-19
I told him that I looked forward to returning to Gulfstream Park, one of the most exciting thoroughbred horse racing venues in the world. I told him I looked forward to sitting in the Florida sun, eating stone crabs and drinking wine, watching the colts and fillies parade around Gulfstream’s open-air paddock, and betting a few dollars on a potential winner. I told him that when I could do that safely, the pandemic would be over. To each his own.
Thanks for your tremendous support the past five years. Drop me a line anytime and tell me how we can collaborate further to drive the loyalty marketing education industry forward.
Mike Capizzi, CLMP, is the Dean of The Loyalty Academy and a Partner in the Wise Marketer Group.