At the recent American Advertising Awards (ADDYs), Kobie Marketing, a global leader in loyalty and rewards program design, management, and consulting, earned 12 ADDYs from the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Tampa Bay, including a GOLD for B2B National Integrated Campaign.

Spanning multiple projects, clients, and channels, Kobie also received SILVER ADDY awards in the following categories: National Integrated Branded Content Campaign; Consumer Website; Online/Interactive Campaign; Digital Interface & Navigation; Digital User Experience; Innovative Use of Interactive Technology; Microsite; Email; Advertising Industry Self-Promotion, Special Event; Art Direction; and a Tucker Award – a new AAF category for best creative never used.

Loyalty360 caught up with Adrienne Denaro, associate creative director at Kobie Marketing, to learn more about this significant recognition.

What does this recognition from The ADDYs mean for Kobie Marketing and its customer-centric, customer loyalty efforts?

Denaro: We were recognized for our innovation in creating successful loyalty strategies across channels, which speaks to the interdisciplinary strengths our team offers, from copywriting and art direction to web development, project management and consulting. This wide breadth of talent gives us the ability to concept, develop and create powerful omnichannel strategies and programs to drive customer-centric loyalty for our clients across a variety of industries. Each loyalty program is crafted as a seamless extension of the nationally-recognized brands we’re honored to call our clients−created in their voice, tone, look, and feel. It’s a capability not many companies offer in our industry, making our customer experience team a true Kobie Marketing differentiator.

What does this say, not only about the breadth of your offerings but the impact these offerings are having for the brands you work with?

Denaro: Our team of diverse and talented designers, consultants, program managers, and writers allows us to scale our strategies and programs to the unique needs of our clients across industries and with various program goals. We can design and implement loyalty strategies and programs from concept to execution and to partner with our analytics and decision science teams to assess and rework existing programs and campaigns for maximum effectiveness. Brands come to us at all different stages in their loyalty programs and with all different needs. It is only through our experienced, agile, and multi-talented team that we can craft our offerings to the unique needs of each client.

Can you talk about, in particular, the work you have done and are doing with Verizon and its successful loyalty program? How has this program evolved?

Denaro: Kobie has worked with Verizon since 2012 to engage their small business customers. We provide Verizon with the full suite of services, from managing their rewards site to handling customer service to providing outbound telemarketing and gift card fulfillment. We also manage partnerships, create and manage member communications, manage and leverage sweepstakes, implement web gamification, administer the Verizon-branded MasterCard, implement online surveys and more.

The program is highly analytics-based and has driven small business members to spend more and stay longer, and our data shows that members engaged in the program are less likely to leave Verizon than non-members. Our relationship with Verizon has allowed us to explore and experiment with different avenues for engaging small business owners and cultivating loyalty. We have executed targeted campaigns that help gain exposure for their small business, including our successful Small Business Saturday campaign we launched late last year to amplify Verizon’s small business owner customers and help them tell their stories.

The fact that we won so many creative awards in highly technical ADDY categories and took gold in the ‘Integrated Campaign’ category reinforces our confidence in our truly unique and robust cross-capability offering.

What are you seeing in the loyalty industry from a trends perspective for 2017 and beyond?

Denaro: We are currently seeing brands putting more emphasis on their mobile apps and digital experiences and tinkering with their rewards in ways that make them more useful to the consumer. Moving later into 2017 and beyond, I think we will see many brands following suit, adopting mobile payments, integrated mobile apps and multi-tender programs. Savvy brands are putting their resources behind social media and personalization. Millennials and Gen Z are setting the tone for this as they continue to adapt quickly to evolving technologies. And brands are beginning to make loyalty the center of their world – meaning their rewards programs are no longer looked at as a side dish but instead the core marketing initiative from which all their other branding efforts stem.

Where do you see customer loyalty headed?

Denaro: Personalization is where it’s heading. Brands will focus more on the emotional connections they have with their customers, doing their best to mirror their customers’ values and award their unique behaviors.
It’s all about giving customers choices and shaping experiences the way they want it to be, including a frictionless combo of payment, rewards, coupons and other services, such as check-in for hotels and mobile alerts that ping customers when their order has been delivered or their prescription is ready.

We can also expect to see companies teaming up to offer new technological innovations, such as retailers interfacing their mobile apps with shippers and hotels teaming up with airlines to offer integrated digital experiences. Loyalty will continue heading in a digital and omnichannel direction, with brands looking to build a truly emotional connection with customers across channels, from mobile to desktop to in-store.

By thinking of the customer first and sales second, adoption of loyalty programs will increase and, so too, will customer engagement. And that’s what the customer experience team at Kobie Marketing aims to do best. We’re excited about these awards and look forward to what our team will dream up next. 

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