Data-driven Personalization Can Reap Major Dividends for Loyalty Marketers

Jennifer Metz is vice president of business development at LoyaltyEdge.

Leveraging 20 years of American Express’ expertise and thought leadership in the rewards program business from the award-winning Membership Rewards program to its cobrand cards, LoyaltyEdge’s white-labeled loyalty solution helps companies design, implement, and manage customized points-based loyalty programs to engage and retain their customers regardless of payment type.

LoyaltyEdge’s one-stop shop solution delivers companies a full range of loyalty services, from designing the optimal loyalty program structure to delivering a robust technology platform with diverse rewards offering to analyze customer spend and redemption patterns that help design marketing strategies.

Loyalty360 spoke with Metz about a myriad of topics related to customer loyalty.
What are the biggest opportunities/challenges for brands and marketers today? If you could recommend one thing to a client (or prospective client), what would it be? 
Metz: Invest in data-driven personalization. Figure out the right level of data to collect on your customers that give you a good picture of their individual needs. Create an experience that is tailored to their needs in terms of the journey, offers, and communications–and do so in a manner that is seamless to the customer. 

We continue to hear about brands that are looking to create alignment between their customer loyalty efforts and the brand promise. Should all brands try to become the next “Apple” or “Amazon?” Or is it more realistic and/or beneficial for brands to understand their own unique brand identity, and then define objectives, process, and programs that align with that unique identity?
Metz: It’s important for a brand to know what it stands for, align to its brand promise, and deliver that promise to its customer. All elements of your customer experience, including your loyalty/rewards program, should ladder to support that brand promise.

There is so much focus on customer data and around creating actionable insight now. So how should brands be managing data in a way that is less complex, easier to understand, and more impactful?
Metz: Big data has been a focus from all of our partners over the past few years. We recommend first understanding what insights you are looking for and what decisions you will use the data to drive to. Then collect the right data for those actions. It’s easy to fall into the practice of over-collecting data and then not having a system in place to generate true learnings from it.

Can you define what the phrase “customer journey” means to you?
Metz: To me, “customer journey” involves all touch points that a customer has with a brand, both directly and indirectly. The more touch points the end customer has, the more complex it is becoming to manage the voice of the brand throughout the journey. Going forward, as more media and touch points are added, I see it becoming more and more complex to manage a consistent journey.   

How does your technology address any of the previous questions? How could you see your platform evolving to address them / what does your roadmap look like?
Metz: The entire team at LoyaltyEdge keeps a close watch on advancements within the loyalty space and we are constantly evaluating how we change our offering to meet market needs. There are three key areas that we’re focused on in our road map.

First is fraud. Fraud within loyalty has been growing over the past few years and is a key concern of loyalty program providers. Second is data-driven personalization–specifically helping our clients determine how we jointly collect the right data on each customer and use that data in the right way to create personalized experiences. The third is cracking the Pay with Points (PwP) nut. There are a lot of companies playing in this space, but I don’t know that anyone has really solved the problem for a customer-friendly, real-time redemption at the point-of-sale, across multiple merchants, with little or no involvement from the POS terminals. 

What is the biggest challenge that your clients face today in creating measurable experiences to drive customer loyalty? How do you recommend they measure efficacy?
Metz: The increasing number of touch points that customers have to brands makes it hard to create ROI for a customer loyalty program. With so many direct and indirect channels to each customer, it’s hard to track each of those interactions to identify which one was instrumental in driving the behavior that we’re trying to drive.  

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