Day two of the 2018 Customer Expo commenced with presentations from award finalists. The 10am sessions featured representatives from a range of innovative brands: Overstock, Ulta Beauty, Wyndham Hotel Group, Adidas, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, AccorHotels, BB&T, Pepsi, Kellogg’s, and the National Lacrosse League. These brands presented on their efforts in driving Employee Impact, Awareness & Acquisition, and Customer Experience & Engagement.
Jimmy Budnick, Vice President of Customer Care at Overstock; Jeff Halverson, Vice President of Operations at Ulta Beauty; and Toyin Powell, Director of Member Acquisition and Early Engagement Strategy at Wyndham Hotel Group, discussed their companies’ strategies for improving employee engagement and impact. Budnick discussed how adoption of certain technology platforms have enabled his company’s support team to better meet customer needs. Halverson described his company’s strategies for employee onboarding and training, which differ from other companies’ efforts in a variety of ways. Powell addressed how providing Wyndham hotel owners access to elite benefits has improved revenue for her company.
In Nashville Ballroom F, speakers gathered in a breakout session to discuss awareness and acquisition. Fred Pratt, Director of Marketing for Best Western, noted the rise of “cord-cutters” and that businesses must be prepared to reach audiences that no longer view traditional TV broadcasts or cable. Best Western responded to these trends with diverse media ad campaigns and the use of YouTube ads that are based on users’ searches. Next, Scott Bryer, Director of Consumer Engagement for Adidas talked about Creator’s Club, the brand’s digital-first campaign that gives awards points based on customer interaction. The campaign is deliberately simple, as Bryer observed: “If you cannot explain your membership program in an elevator-style pitch, you aren’t going to win over the consumer.” Following Bryer, Ryan Hill, Director of Customer Experience for Caesars Entertainment, spoke of the need to adapt.  He noted that Las Vegas is becoming better known for entertainment than gaming, and that Caesars has had to tap into its history of “spectacular events,” such as a famous Evel Kneivel jump performed there. Finally, Siobhan Mitchell, Director of Loyalty Marketing for Le Club AccorHotels spoke.  She asked the audience to name Accor’s affiliated brands. Only one audience member could name one. Mitchell was not surprised, as gaining visibility for the Accor brand in North America is one of the company’s greatest challenges. Its latest campaign seeks to get to know what customers want before they do, and to that end the company has gathered data based on biometric responses. 
In Nashville Ballroom A, representatives gathered to discuss customer experience and engagement. David Overman, Rewards Manager from BB&T; Katherine McKinley, Senior Marketing Analyst of Pepsi; Mark Staples, Associate Director of Kellogg’s; and Stephanie McGinley, Digital Communications Manager at National Lacrosse League, provided informative presentations on this issue. Overman mentioned how a client-approach strategy has increased customer engagement with his company. McKinley touched on the Pepsi Stuff program and what rewards it has generated for customers. Staples shared that creating emotional loyalty and personalizing rewards are what drives excellent customer experiences in his company. Finally, McGinley said her company has invested in more studio set-ups to provide 24/7 service to customers and bring them together through sport spirits.

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