For many unknowing customers, MasterCard represents a credit card – nothing more, nothing less.

But according to Dennis Reardon, Head of Loyalty Solutions at MasterCard North America, MasterCard represents something much more. In his division, it is a “one-stop-shop” of various offerings – from proprietary SaaS technologies, industry expertise, and a rich-partner network full of verticalized insights to their clientele. 

Reardon sat down with Loyalty360 Mark Johnson in the latest edition of “Loyalty Live” to discuss Reardon’s presentation at the recent Loyalty Expo, Mastercard’s Loyalty Solution division’s successful loyalty program launches, and what he views as the next big thing in the loyalty industry.

MasterCard Finds Success at Loyalty Expo
In the plethora of memorable and insightful customer loyalty presentations at the recent Loyalty Expo, one of the standout demonstrations was from Dennis Reardon. 

In his presentation, “Intersection of Loyalty, CRM, and Transactional Insights,” Reardon focused on the dilemma of creating “winning” loyalty programs. How does one do this?

“By leveraging the vast amount of customer data that may be available in-house for most customers and partners,” explains Reardon to the clearly engaged and curious attendees.

Reardon established early on that there is a high percentage of brands with loyalty programs, but too low of a percentage of the programs deliver on their intended level of satisfaction. He explains how using customer data and understanding the customers helps MasterCard formulate excellent and valuable programs. 

Masters of Loyalty
Reardon likes to take a realistic approach when helping clientele launch an impactful program.

“Our philosophy in the first step towards excellence is a reality check,” the head of Loyalty Solutions says. “It’s figuring out where you are from an organizational readiness perspective.”

Applying this step to a real-life example, Reardon delves into the process of MasterCard’s launch of a well-known fashion retailer’s loyalty program. The retailer, according to Reardon, has four or five logos under their umbrella, showing their worth in the retail industry. Their siloed approach to loyalty started to show age, and they needed help from a top-level loyalty provider: Enter MasterCard.

“We began to map it out – we did a loyalty program diagnostic and diagnosed the state of their current loyalty programs across the different brands, and in parallel, they were in the process of evaluating a CDP as well as a loyalty program,” Reardon explains. “We happen to have an alliance with that particular CDP, so we were quickly able to create a reference architecture for how the tech could look.”

Fast forward to today, and MasterCard has radically shifted two of the four brands’ loyalty programs in the last three months and has assisted with other facets of the launch, like outsourcing campaign management and loyalty program performance management. 

What’s Next?
It’s the golden question that would make all loyalty easy. 

“I wish there was only one thing!” Reardon exclaims. 

He soon explains that while he was having a “great time” at the Loyalty Expo, his peers were at Money 20/20 – a convention centered on the global money ecosystem – and told him about the many ideas surrounding crypto or slices of a brand’s stock as a loyalty currency. 

“Diversity of loyalty currency is one thing, and in certain verticals, the notion of points fungibility is becoming more of a hot topic, specifically in travel,” Reardon says, showing the validity of these ideas. “We’re seeing it as we expand across multiple verticals.”

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