For Bryan Baecker, Director of Loyalty and Marketing at dunnhumbyUSA, working onsite at Raley’s Family of Fine Stores for the past three years has afforded him the inside view of its Something Extra customer loyalty program that garnered three platinum honors at the inaugural Loyalty360 Awards held Monday at the 7th Annual Loyalty Expo, presented by Loyalty360 – The Loyalty Marketer’s Association.

Raley’s took home top honors in the following three categories:

Best Reward Program, Platinum Winner

Best Customer Experience & Engagement, Platinum Winner

Best Technology in Loyalty Marketing, Platinum Winner

“The voice of the customer drives everything that we do,” Baecker explained to Loyalty360. “We feel that if we do right by our best customers, we will earn more of their business and they will actually help bring new shoppers to Raley’s by advocating on our behalf. We know we have significant opportunities to serve our loyal customers even better than we do today and that continues to be our primary focus.”

Baecker pointed to the company’s commitment to a customer-first strategy as the over-arching reason for the loyalty program’s success.

“Often retail strategies change from year to year, which make it hard for your customers to know what to expect from you,” he said. “We have a consistent focus on making our customers’ lives easier and better, which includes using data to bring them relevant content and improve their shopping experience.” 

The Something Extra loyalty program celebrated its first anniversary in September 2013.

“It seems like every retailer today has a loyalty card and we knew launching a loyalty program in our competitive environment would not be easy,” Baecker explained. “We concentrated on two things that demonstrate our commitment to our customers: externally, we created a simple value proposition that rewarded and thanked our best customers while, internally, we put the customer at the center of all of our decision-making. Our commitment to that strategy is unwavering.”

Today, every new initiative starts with the measurement in mind first, Baecker stated.

“Our philosophy is that if you cannot measure it, you should not do it at all,” he said. “Our capabilities allow us to decompose the sales line, which means we can understand what is driving changes in performance. We concentrate on generating actionable insights and, even when we don’t get it right the first time, we always learn something. Our ‘test and learn’ approach ensures we are always in a cycle of continuous improvement.” 

Baecker said the Raley’s 1-to-1 approach to marketing is more complex when compared to more traditional loyalty programs because almost all regular communications are unique to each Something Extra member.

“Our key stakeholders require that we balance our customer objectives with our business objectives as we grow the program and increase our capabilities,” he said. “Senior leadership ensures that everyone is aligned to our customer-first strategy, which greatly reduces our need to ‘sell’ internally.” 

Personalization is one of the hottest buzzwords in retail right now, but few retailers are actually doing it well, Baecker said.

“Personalization is at the heart of the Something Extra program because we know share of wallet is a privilege and not a right,” he said. “We want to earn our customers’ trust and, subsequently, their business by engaging them in a relevant 1-to-1 dialogue just like Tom Raley did over 79 years ago.”

A total of 187 entries was submitted across seven categories by a total of 58 brands for the Loyalty360 Awards.

Loyalty360 called on a group of 24 industry experts to apply their extensive knowledge of loyalty marketing to identify the brands that are true Loyalty leaders. Judges were asked to evaluate each entry by applying a score of 1-10 based on how well the brand performed against a number of quantitative and qualitative criteria. The result was an objective and unbiased ranking of loyalty leaders.

Loyalty Expo is being held March 17-19, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Florida.

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