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With a plethora of technology available and emerging in the loyalty marketing space, brands and marketers need to be on the forefront of how they best utilize it. Consumers are being asked to share more and more of their personal data, while at the same time expecting more from their favorite brands and the loyalty programs they participate in. In the Q&A below, Phil McKoy provides his thoughts on what challenges are present today and what technology can do to help address these challenges.
Q: What new or trending technology do you believe has the best ability to evoke the senses to shape and steer meaningful and desired experiences for brands?
A: I see two technology trends that best do this. The first is personalization. How do we get to a place to create value for me? That value is going to be different from the way value is created for someone else. The brand needs to know enough about me to build a program unique to me. This will require frameworks of redemption or engagement that are very different within the same program. There is a technology cost and effort associated with this, but it is a worthwhile focus. Brands should create programs that can flex to adapt – they cannot be monolithic in today’s landscape.
The second is location. Brands need to figure out a way for consumers to want to opt-in, because you provide value that is significant to them. As we move toward coalition loyalty especially, the ability to incorporate location & location prompting into programs is going to be a key way to cut through the noise and remind people what they have in their wallet, and on their phones, to drive that “moment-in-time” engagement, that without location based technology, you wouldn’t have.
Q: How can one create loyalty when so many technologies are focused on mass acquisition of customers, which may or not be aligned effectively with the product offering?
A: It is one of value. Brands need to get to the root of the challenge – there is so much noise in this space. Aimia helps our clients understand what is THE offer/reward/engagement that drives the response? Our emphasis in Analytics helps brands understand what drives a change in behavior. We guide our clients to build and implement programs while using analytics, so that they understand what is driving the responses from their customers. They can use the program to their advantage to design to what is working to drive a change in behavior.
Q: What emerging technology do you believe will have the greatest impact in helping drive more effective engagement?
A: I believe wearables are going to make the biggest difference. They are going to play a huge part in loyalty going forward. Participation in a program will no longer require any extra action on the part of customers. Location- and activity-triggered action via wearables will help increase membership. Make it easy! Brands can reduce the level of action or decision by a consumer to participate in their program, and make it more worth their while to have participated. Phones right now are a given – wearable technology, and the speed in which it is expanding – is going to be a game changer for loyalty.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you see facing the industry or clients?
A: The biggest challenge facing loyalty is that there is so much of it. People are inundated with requests for their information, for programs to participate in, and it’s hard to separate one from another. The biggest challenge that we face as a loyalty marketing company is how do we create incremental value for consumers to want to participate in these programs? Everyone has something. Consumers have 50 cards in their wallets and several apps on their phones. How do you break through the noise and confusion of it all?
Technology will always be a big part of the loyalty marketing landscape. There will always be something bigger and better on the horizon. Marketers should be able to trust their providers to be educated on emerging technologies and to advise them on how to make the most out of technology to give the customer the best customer experience possible. In this ever-changing world of loyalty and technology, it is crucial to incorporate analytics within a program, so that the program can be continually evolved to maximize value for both the customer and the business.
About the author:
Phil oversees technology and product delivery for the Global Loyalty Solutions division of Aimia. He joined Aimia in 2014 to support critical initiatives for the U.S. Region and most specifically the client migrations to configurable products. Phil has over 18 years of experience in large-scale and global technology programs, digital commerce application delivery for companies such as Target and Accenture.
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