One of the most exciting sessions on the first day of Loyalty Expo 2019 was the general session with Jeff Sopko from Baesman. For the past 20 years, as the President of Insights & Marketing at Baesman, Sopko has led smart, skillful people who are passionate about turning clients’ problems into winning ideas. During his morning session, Sopko discussed how customer loyalty is transforming the top imperatives marketers need to pursue in the future.
Sopko believes that marketers now have easy access to multiple technology and loyalty platforms. However, there remains a great deal of opportunities yet to be pursued and many challenges marketers have to face when it comes to data analytics, technology platforms, customer trust, and internal and external knowledge sharing. “Many brands are swimming in data,” said Sopko.
In contrast to this, he emphasized how customer loyalty should not only be about CRM, tier rewards, and bonus points. Customers come to a brand because of its product or service but stay thanks to all the conversations and experiences they have with brands afterwards. Sopko made a point that each business must be able to integrate customer conversations into its systems but must also communicate in engaging ways.
According to research from Loyalty360 and SAP, 82.5 percent of marketers say that customers want personalization, which requires a huge amount of data, from demographics to behavioral and psychographic types. However, only 32 percent of those being surveyed have the right amount of data. Nevertheless, 45 percent of them stated that their process of acquiring data is hugely impacted by data privacy regulations in past few years.
With regard to this problem, Sopko said that brands need to gather the right amount of data. Marketers have access to multiple sources of data, but not everybody understands what the data they have. In terms of solutions, Jeff says that marketers and loyalty people must understand the basics and meanings behind both external and internal data before making any acquisition so that brands will only gather the amount of data they actually need.
Besides numerous challenges, Sopko believes brands have a huge opportunity to win customers’ hearts. He said that American customers are really sensitive to those loyalty moments where they are treated special, as individuals. Therefore, brands should pay attention to to create those small moments that can make huge and long-lasting impacts on how customers view companies.
Last but not least, Sopko emphasized the importance of leveraging data analytics to understand customers’ purchase behaviors and lifestyles. Thorough understanding of those perspectives leads to brands being able to offer customers living, personalized experiences as well as tailored subscriptions and loyalty memberships.

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