The Right Focus at Loyalty Expo

We just returned from a very successful three days in Orlando at this year’s Loyalty Expo – and would like to send a special thanks to Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants and Citi Retail Services for participating in great presentations with us at the beginning and end of the conference.

While the conference covered a wide range of loyalty topics, a common theme for us at rDialogue, in our presentations and discussions between sessions was… Do all the new technologies, big data and other loyalty innovations actually make for better customer loyalty? With tools in hand, why aren’t marketers using them more aggressively to address unique, customer-specific needs?  Are we so distracted by the tools we have that we’re missing the opportunity to actually use them to deliver real customer value?

In our keynote presentation with Kimpton Hotels, we addressed these questions head on, tackling the idea that Big Data can be too big when it prevents companies from nimbly responding to customer needs. Maggie Lang, our client and co-presenter from Kimpton, underscored that empowering your employees to leverage “little data” - profile data, first transaction data, last stay data - can do more to connect with customers quickly and emotionally than a big investment in big data analysis and marketing automation. (For more on the Kimpton / rDialogue presentation, seehttp://loyalty360.org/resources/article/surprise-and-delight-your-customers.)

Our breakout panel discussion with Citi Retail Services and their partners from Macy’sOffice Max and The Home Depot, echoed similar themes as we talked about loyalty and payments convergence. As card marketers, our panelists work every day to maximize a combined card payment vehicle and value proposition to create loyal customers. They see the opportunity inherent in  the new technologies, fresh form factors, and data sources available to engage customers like never before. But, the panel also recognized that these tools aren’t valuable until you put them to work for your specific customers and how they interact with your specific brand in your specific business model – whether through the customer experience, customer communications or in new card features and benefits.

Conferences always provide fertile ground for new perspectives, new ideas and fresh ways to solve traditional problems. Loyalty Expo was no different, driven as much by our clients and conversations outside the Loyalty Expo sessions as the sessions themselves. Many thanks to Kimpton and Citi Retail Services for joining us in these conversations, and teaching us a few things along the way.