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Data leads the way in modern marketing, serving as the foundation for informed decisions at every turn. Today's customer loyalty strategies rely on an intricate network of gathered and analyzed data points. These insights are then harnessed to craft personalized communications, offers, rewards, and experiences for a brand’s loyal customers.
The science of data is a passion of Michael Snyder, Senior Solution Consultant for Loyalty and Experience at Comarch. Loyalty360 recently had the opportunity to sit down with Snyder and gain insights into how Comarch is embracing data-driven customer loyalty techniques to create meaningful customer interactions and generate measurable results for clients.
For those who might not be familiar with Comarch, how do you serve clients in the loyalty industry?
Snyder: I think of Comarch as a tech company. Our essential duty is to develop and implement technologies across a wide spectrum of clients and industries. We have a dedicated Loyalty Division that provides end-to-end tech solutions for companies, from the pre-go-live phase to transferring existing programs to our platform. We can host the data, engineer the platform, manage the program, and provide reward fulfillment.
How Does your platform integrate with e-commerce platforms?
Snyder: Our philosophy has been to innovate from within and build our own systems to maintain full functionality and flexibility. But we also recognize that our clients are using many different e-commerce platforms that work well for them, like Shopify and Magento. Over the past year, we’ve adapted to that market reality. We’ve built some sophisticated pre-connectors between our system and e-commerce platforms. These pre-connectors allow our system to maintain as much functionality as possible, and they also speed up launch and implementation for the client. We can add functionality on the customer-facing end while retaining much of the e-commerce platform’s backend, so there’s less training involved for employees. Clients also avoid the expense of transitioning off their legacy platform.
What tactics do you use to drive customer loyalty and retention for clients?
Snyder: Personalization is key for us. We’re always looking to take it to the next level. There are so many loyalty programs out here now, from big brands like Amazon and Walmart to direct competitors in your sector, that can encroach on your loyalty territory. You need to make the customer experience as personalized as it can be to meet your customers’ needs before they even know them.
We help clients do this by offering robust data science. We analyze different customer data points, like lifetime customer value and return rate, so we can target customers at their best time of need.
Let me give you an example. One of our clients, JetBlue, just rolled out a refresh of their program with a new tier structure with some cool gamification elements. Once you hit a tier level, you’re able to choose your own benefits instead of whatever fixed benefits are assigned to that tier. This represents a huge increase in personalization, and data science led the way.
Are you seeing a lot of creativity with gamification these days?
Snyder: Yes! It’s one of the bigger trends right now. Companies are trying to find that next-level edge to inspire. Some of the most profitable companies in the world are gaming companies — they’re eclipsing Hollywood and the music industry. Tiers and badges are integral to gaming, and people eat it up. The loyalty industry is trying to follow suit and provide experiences that consumers truly enjoy.
Regarding customer data collection, are the brands you work with revising their practices in response to current and expected privacy legislation?
Snyder: Privacy is a huge issue for us because we’re headquartered in the E.U. and are governed by its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We’ve been heavily focused on privacy for a few years now. California has already adopted many of the E.U. regulations, and national legislation is pending.
Going forward, our clients won’t be able to rely on third-party data as much as they once did. Besides the legislation limiting its use, third-party data is becoming less relevant as brands seek a higher level of personalization. Our clients are now implementing first-party data collection tools like surveys and adding data points to customer profiles. We see brands offering bonus points to customers for providing certain data. This approach enhances personalization and also complies with current or expected legislation.
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