Conference summary and highlights from Day Two
The first ever Loyalty Summit CXM was held in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton November 14-16, 2023. There was so much good content presented that we are sharing the conference report in two parts. You can read Part One here.
Onwards with Part Two!
Matt Sutton, CMO The Black Tux, kicked off the day with his thoughts on how practical applications of revolutionary technology has propelled loyalty for Black Tux. He then engaged in a panel discussion with Shyam Shah, Founder Loyalty Juggernaut, Neil Spivak, CMO VMS and Christopher Sandstrom, Director of Strategy & Growth, Loyalty Marketing with Comarch.
The discussion of loyalty technology continued with a second panel featuring Jisun Hahn, Kognitiv, Brad Macdonald, Epsilon and Emil Sarkissian, Loyalty Methods. Honestly the content was so rich that we’ll tell you that “you should have been there”. There was debate about whether the market was ready to build on common business speak to describe objectives and campaign outcomes to create campaigns using Artificial Intelligence. Some were skeptical about the availability of this in the market today, but Jisun Hahn punctuated the discussion by saying “the future is now for incorporating AI into campaign design.”
The content discussion shifted with Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor CBS News (you’ve listened to him on television and on his Eye on Travel podcast, right?) sharing perspectives from a lifetime of travel which includes around 500,000 miles of travel each year. Wise Marketer’s Bill Hanifin had the opportunity to interview Peter in a separate podcast session which will be published soon.
Peter firmly believes (as does Wise Marketer) that loyalty is a behavior and he mentioned that all the talk of reducing friction is well-intentioned, but one can’t reduce friction until there is a relationship in play. That’s where the major airlines are falling down, said Peter. He stated that “mortgaging common sense to an algorithm is suicide.”
He believes that the airlines need to switch up their attitude towards their flying customers. Today, the airlines seem to show loyalty “in the absence of any other option” and therefore should adopt the approach to show loyalty to the customers first, rather than complacently expect that customers will just keep coming back for more when the relationship they have developed is paper thin.
Peter then led a panel talking about the Frictionless Future with experts in retail loyalty including Anna Lorch, Global Head of Subscription Strategy, The Washington Post, Debbie Haag, Ascendant Marketing, and Shirley King, CLMP™ and Loyalty Program Manager, IHG Rewards.
Jeri Sheel, Senior Director, Digital Strategy Fiserv and Jonathan Silver, CEO Engage People had a fireside chat on the intersection of loyalty and payments, sharing seldom heard details about how effective the option for customers to pay at the point-of-sale or online with points can be. Across the significant portfolio the two firms collaborate on with their solution, there has been a 15 percent increase in average basket for cardholders using pay with points. The average redemption amounts of points at Amazon were mentioned to be in the 4,500-point range ($45 value) and 1,500 ($15 value) at convenience and fuel retailer BP. Consumers are clearly expressing their love of the ability to use their loyalty points at the point of purchase, enjoying the liquidity and flexibility the option unlocks.
In one of the most interesting sessions of day two, Anthony Wintheiser, Chief Product Officer Kognitiv, shared details of how we are in the midst of a generational opportunity to redefine how marketers build customer loyalty using generative AI.
The afternoon turned to how Kognitiv can take common business language and turn it into robust and effectively designed and executed campaigns. This AI-enabled interaction allows marketers to talk in their own terms about the KPIs and objectives that they want to achieve and allow the system to design and compile all the required components. This removes the limits of campaign design elements (i.e., the list is the list within a field, and you need to pick from a multiple set of field to develop your campaign). Effectively they are removing the field limitations and the need to go systematically through a set of attributes to self-create your campaign.
Mark Berman, CEO The Mallett Group, brought his experienced eye to the group, covering a brief history of cobranding in the loyalty industry and then soliciting the insights of a panel including Nancy Gordon (former Citi and Baakt executive), Aaron Glick and Janine Ramsey, Director Wondr Nation. Mark hosted a second panel with Steve Mathwig, Senior Manager Loyalty with Best Western Hotels & Resorts and John Coombe, Founder Credit One Bank.
In between these two panels was an interview of Robbie Sparno hosted by David Slavick. Robbie is a bright executive with years of experience at Salesforce and serving currently as Director Loyalty Sales, Mastercard. He covered the way Mastercard is quickly transforming its business to become a global loyalty solution provider. Among many interesting comments, he theorized that “Poor Ux can sink a good program, but good Ux can elevate a mediocre program”.
In sum, Loyalty Summit CXM felt like the perfect way to wrap up 2023, a year in which loyalty marketing made significant changes and advances. The conference filled a glaring gap on the customer loyalty industry calendar in the US. There hasn’t been a truly valuable conference with a sole focus on loyalty in the US for several years and the mix of attendees, presenters, content shared, and networking was sufficient in value to ensure that we will be back next year.
Customer Loyalty CXM will be back in Los Angeles in 2024 and we encourage you to consider this for your 2024 calendar.