The following are excerpts from a live interview recorded in December 2015.


What will be the biggest challenge for marketers over the next 3-5 years?

The biggest challenges marketers will face in the coming years is definitely the speed of change. This speed is caused by the rapid pace of new technology. Economic models are also changing at rapid speeds. New business models that offer the sharing economy proposition, such as Uber, Airbnb are two examples of companies that are fundamentally changing sectors of the economy.

What CMOs need to do is focus on their core customers, their best customers - knowing them well, retaining their trust and treating them as the prime asset they truly are. These core customers are crucial and need to be protected. If your company is successful and effective at retaining those customers, and do so better than their competitors, companies can introduce new propositions - new products and services to those customers - that will ultimately drive growth in their business.


What is Aimia’s business approach and how does it work for customers?

Our philosophy is to make business personal. What that means is we help our clients better understand their customers and their needs, and we help clients make their business more personal to customers, improving the quality of their brand experience. We do that with customer data we collect from transactions and interactions taken from their customers. In general terms, we focus on the 10-20% of customers who deliver 80-90% of profits. We use that information to help our clients gain a deeper understanding of what they need and want, and to help them build longer term relationships with the brand. The key to this is to make it easy to do business. Keep it simple, relevant and deliver value.


How do customer retention efforts compare to customer acquisition?

There is a lot of evidence that says it is much more cost effective to retain existing customers than to obtain new ones. Lots of companies want new customers. The important thing to remember is customer acquisition should never be pursued at the expense of retention. A strong focus on core customers is critical to success. As an example, at Aimia, we work with a number of successful grocery partners around the world, helping them use transaction and interaction data to better understand and serve customers, which gives these partners an edge over their competition.


For more information on how we can help you engage and retail your best customers, contact us at [email protected] or visit


About the Interviewee

Gerard Whelan is President of Aimia’s Global Loyalty Solutions business in the U.S., where he is responsible for leading and developing the company’s Proprietary Loyalty Services business. This business helps companies to better understand and build more valuable relationships with their consumers, by providing market leading loyalty expertise, platforms and analytical services.

Gerard has more than 25 years of international experience working in Loyalty, CRM and Marketing Services. During this time he has acquired extensive P&L and General Management experience, as well as developing a deep knowledge of the Customer Loyalty industry.

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