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Taking Loyalty Lessons to the Summit

summitIf there were ever a reason to reconsider the effectiveness of your loyalty program, this is it: As an industry, our retention rate among customers is less than 50 percent.

That’s how it shakes out in the United States, anyway. Of the 21.9 loyalty programs in which each American household is enrolled, only 9.5 are active, according to COLLOQUY’s 2013 Loyalty Census. People sign up, often because of a one-time incentive, and then the card ends up in a drawer, glove box or trashcan.

All of which emphasizes how critical relevance is to fostering emotional loyalty among time-starved consumers. It is relatively easy to get people to sign up and join a program, but proving your value to them afterward takes more than a coupon or promotion. Securing your brand’s place in the consumer’s mind (and heart) is a hard-won and never-ending pursuit.

This is the key reason why I attend the COLLOQUY Loyalty Summit every September. Now in its 11th year, the Summit has evolved into one of the world’s most informative loyalty marketing events, attracting headliners, and innovations, from around the world.

The Summit this year will feature some of the industry’s most influential names in loyalty, including Melissa Studzinski, vice president of customer relationship management at CVS/pharmacy, Jeff Disken, executive vice president of commercial services at Hilton Worldwide, and Peter Lewis, who heads Loblaw’s PC Plus program.

The keynote speakers, meanwhile, promise to make for some thought-provoking, and fun, presentations. Sally Hogshead, author of the book Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation, will share her secrets to creating an emotionally engaging brand. Her presentation will include an interactive exercise during which attendees will write their own nine-second fascination statements.

The second keynote speaker, Avinash Kaushik, is known as Google’s “digital marketing evangelist.” Avinash will share some of his tips for building the most effective social media platforms, as well as the tools for properly measuring their success in generating loyalty.

I will be lucky enough to attend the Summit again this year, along with a few of my colleagues at LoyaltyOne. Like many of the other attendees, we are coming to learn from our industry peers, even while some of us will also be there to speak.

Because no matter how long you’ve been in the loyalty business – more than 20 years for me – that less-than-half retention rate can still get the best of us. To learn more about this year’s event, visit the COLLOQUY Loyalty Summit site.

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