Audio Transcript

Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m your host, Paula Thomas. And if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas from loyalty specialists around the world.

 

This episode is sponsored by Epsilon. Today, I’m delighted to announce a unique opportunity for one lucky listener of Let’s Talk Loyalty to enjoy a complimentary workshop with the loyalty experts at Epsilon one brand every month will have the chance for a unique, independent loyalty lab. A review of your loyalty program where Epsilon will share their expert ideas, how to drive your program’s performance to a whole new level. This workshop is a powerful way for you to measure and then increase the return on your investment in your loyalty program. So to apply head over to letstalkloyalty.com/epsilon and enter your details.

 

Hello, and welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty and a conversation with Collin Larijani Epsilon, Senior Director of Solution Consulting for Asia Pacific now based in Australia. With over 12 years of experience within Epsilon, building solutions across all marketing domains, Collin joined me today to reflect on some of the top trending topics that are emerging from the Loyalty Labs that Epsilon is running across the Asia Pacific right now. 

 

His key insights include the power of both zero-party data, and first-party data for organizations, far beyond simply the loyalty team using the information to plan the next best offer or ways to personalize their communications with members. Collin also shares the incredible value that loyalty programs are driving indirectly for brands, building them in ways that are less obvious than we typically measure when we’re calculating the return on investment for our initiatives. But these indirect benefits of loyalty programs can be extremely valuable in the way they impact the buying decisions that our customers make. Most importantly, Collin does believe that loyalty professionals are perfectly positioned to increasingly lead within their organizations, using the power of their data, customer focus, and insights to really become more visible and more helpful as the heart and mind of the business.

 

I hope you enjoy listening to my conversation with Collin Larijani from Epsilon.

 

So, first of all, Collin, I know you’re an avid listener. So welcome for the first time as a guest on Let’s Talk Loyalty. 

 

Thanks for having me. 

 

Great. Great. It’s super exciting Collin. I know you have a, a long and illustrious career, uh, in Epsilon and various parts of the world. So I’ll be dying to get into exactly what you’re doing now in the Asia Pacific region based in Sydney. So to kick us off as usual as you know, I always love to know from people, you know, coming on the show, what is their favorite loyalty program? So kick us off with your answer.  

 

Absolutely. And I, I, I, I was prepared for that. Right. And it’s funny when I was thinking through it, the first thing that came to my mind was Amazon Prime, because they have dramatically changed how I’ve purchased, and how I’ve returned. Yeah. And how I was engaged with e-commerce yet I was, as I was thinking of that, I looked around, I have my iPhone sitting here. I’m on my MacBook pro yeah. I have an Apple TV in the next room, a couple of iPads and, and, and watch I have the whole, I have the whole thing and I realized, you know what, I’m actually, loyal to apple, believe it or not. And I probably lost a few friends of that statement. Yeah. But somehow they got me and I love the ecosystem. I love how things work together. Yeah. And I’m just watching the news in, in their world, trying to understand what’s going on in that apple world. 

 

For sure. Yeah. Well, I am totally with you on this one, Collin. Um, I’m sitting here on my Mac with my iPhone right beside me. So, totally preaching to the converted, but I think it’s a very good, uh, point, I suppose, to make Collin because, you know, as loyalty professionals, I guess we, we have to often justify suppose the role of loyalty in the business.

And I think what we do need to say as experts is the first thing is actually to get the basic product. Right? So no matter what it is that, uh, a loyalty program is capable of, and that’s what we’re here to talk about today. I think what you’re saying is you’ve gotta get the basic core product, right. And that drives, you know, immediate loyalty because the customer just loves the basics. And then of course we build from there with our, with our initiatives. 

 

That’s absolutely right. I, I couldn’t agree more, Paula. It is about having that basic understanding, building that value from your brown upwards, which a customer would resonate with. Right? What is gonna interest them from their head, heart, and wallet? What makes them tick and why would they want to come back to you? Yeah. As a brand. 

 

Wonderful. Wonderful. So listen, um, as I alluded to you have some incredible experience in the US market. You’ve also done some great work in the UK, but for me, the most exciting thing is we certainly haven’t done enough conversations about, you know, what’s going on in the Australian loyalty market. You’ve relocated to Sydney there. I think about a year ago. Collin, am I right? 

 

That’s right. We’re coming right up on a year.

 

My goodness. Wow. And as we know, obviously, we’ve got a wonderful Epsilon lady here in Dubai as well, so great expansion and focus on this part of the world coming from a legacy of over 50 years, of course, that Epsilon has globally, but I guess the most exciting thing for me, Collin, um, to talk today about is. You’ve been running these Epsilon Loyalty Labs, uh, there in Sydney. I know they’ve also been running in Singapore. We had one here in Dubai and actually, it really resonates with me. And if you think about actually even the title of the show, Let’s Talk Loyalty, actually, that’s exactly what you’ve been doing with a wonderful cohort of brands at all of these parts of the world, talking about what’s on their mind, I suppose, peer to peer. Um, and I think we’re in a very lucky position Collin is to be able to hear what is it you are hearing from brands in terms of the key themes as we call ’em, I suppose, to the middle of 2022.  

 

Yeah, it’s been, it’s been a great set of conversations we had and we had a few of the, my peers fly out here. We did a little road show. We had some great conversations, but really in Australia, it’s been interesting to hear how brands are trying to tackle and make sure that everybody within the organization understands the value that this loyalty program is getting. And while that is something that is global, everybody needs it. It’s just interesting to hear how the brands here are doing that and how they’re trying to tackle some of the fundamentals of direct value coming from the loyalty program and then also the indirect value, which is really interesting to hear in some of our conversation, these labs about the things that are more difficult to measure or not direct to measure and the value those can bring to the loyalty program to the brand and onwards.

 

Yeah. Yeah, no. And you’d sent me, um, a lovely idea, I suppose, Collin in advance of today. And I really loved the positioning piece because I think you’re absolutelly right. And of course, on this show, what we tend to do is to talk about the direct value of loyalty. And we talk about, you know, driving profitable behavior change and that’s critical. So we all know the CFO needs to know the back basket spend the increased frequency. All of those direct benefits, but you used a lovely term. And actually, I think I’m going to be, uh, referring to it a lot more, but you were just talking about this idea, Collin of loyalty being the heart of the organization. And you know, it’s, it’s connecting, it’s, it’s driving, it’s pumping, I suppose, both information and dare it say inspiration around the organization because essentially, I guess what we do is we have that opportunity to cross between all the different departments. So, so tell me more about this idea of loyalty being the heart of an organization. 

 

Yeah. So it, it comes in a number of different flavors, I think. And if I had to put three pillars behind it, it’d be loyalty making sure that from an organizational standpoint, that it’s building a level of trust with your customers and with your members and alongside trust I think credibility goes hand in hand with that, that it’s a, a cycle of building the trust and making sure you’re credible towards those values that your brand is putting out. I think kind of a, another pillar be around that engagement and you’re engaging your customers to ensure that you’re building those advocates and those advocates are then turning into, uh, and providing you conversions and reaching out further beyond that what a brand could do themselves, but with user generated content, things like that to build out, uh, various other areas, if you will on what a brand could be doing, putting on out there. And then last thing I think is the most interesting one. We think about the heart it’s data and it’s making sure that your loyalty program really is. There to support the rest of that organization. Mm. That being a, let’s say the tip of the spear for a lot of the engagement that a member a customer would have with you. Yeah. You have that opportunity yeah. To collect that first party, collect that zero party data. Yeah. To make sure that that is disseminating throughout the organization in an appropriate way, so that everybody benefits from it from the paid media side to the data analytics, to the CRM, etc, they’re all leveraging the value you’re getting out of that. 

 

Yeah. Now for those of us, I always have to go and lock it up Collin, and I know I should know this off the top of my head, but zero-party data, and first-party data. And the reason actually I wanna get into maybe just even defining these again with your consulting expertise is these have really become top and center since, you know, the decision that cookies are going to disappear. And actually it was, um, it was a previous conversation with one of your colleagues in Epsilon UK, that I was first introduced to this idea that, oh my God. Cookies for real are going to disappear. Um, so we’ve really, I suppose, needed to focus on the implications of that for the whole business. Um, so will you just talk us through the difference between zero-party data Collin and first-party data? Just so we’re all crystal clear of, you know, what is the loyalty program actually able to do, or maybe different parts of the organization in terms of getting that data into the business

 

Sure. So I’ll give the definition. I’ll give an example that I’ve seen, that’s doing that first-party and that’s zero-party data capture really well. Cool. So when I look at the differences between zero first and even second and third party data. Okay. I like to think back to as a decade or so ago. Yeah. Uh, when I was about to propose my wife, when I was in the market for an engagement ring. Oh. So. If I were gonna go the first or the zero party way, what I would’ve done is I had a dialogue with her. I would’ve asked her what she wants, what she’s interested in, the metals, the stones, all those sorts of things. And we’ve had a dialogue and I would’ve used that information than to go by an ideal ring. Mm. I could have gone the first party route, which is to say, we go to the mall together. We go to the store together. And rather than dialoging with her, I’m just observing what she’s doing. She’s looking at different stones, looking at different. Nice. And it’s more of a first party. Right? I understand it. I saw it firsthand. However, wasn’t much of a dialogue there. Okay. And then I think it’s fun when we think second-party, which is maybe I don’t go and I just send her best friend with her. And I just, I just pull her side one day and I say, Hey, what was she looking at? And then of course we have the third party, which is that aggregated. Right. I’ll ask the store, associate shit. Here’s some information about my wife. What’s gonna work. What’s hot. What’s trending right now. And when I think about that though, only one of those really built a relationship. Only one of those is gonna be incredibly accurate. Yeah. And only one of those is gonna be relevant to what I’m trying to do, which is to get her to say yes. Yeah. And of course, I personally used a zero and a first-party example when I was trying to figure out what would be the ideal ring for her. 

 

Wow. Okay. So clearly that worked super well. Collin, I think that’s going, yeah.  yeah. Lucky lady and absolutely wonderful to have that level of, uh, involvement in such a big decision. So so with all of that happening, then, you know, the, the, the data piece, what I suppose, um, again, to, to link the idea of loyalty, being the heart, to the idea that we’re capturing all of this data. We are super clear as loyalty professionals on what we do with that data. So whether we’ve captured it in any one of those ways, we’re using it to personalize. We’re using it to, to create all of that, um, the opportunity to, to drive profitable behavior change. But tell me about the shift now, I suppose, to the other departments you mentioned, for example, the paid media people. And I think this is a really big opportunity, you know, if I was to go back now and sit in, you know, on the brand side as these, you know, people in, in the Loyalty Labs are doing and to be able to, um, showcase the depth of knowledge that you would have to somebody who’s actually spending an awful lot of money, I guess, to acquire like-minded people. Is that something that you see more and more happening coming through these conversations?  

 

Interesting. I’m seeing the conversations and I’m seeing the results of those conversations with brands, putting effort towards it. I think we all understand that it’s important. And like you said, it’s out there and with cookies going away, everybody will be focusing on that. Now one, one brand I’ve seen do this really well. And actually a couple brands is to make it resonate globally. Yeah. Is we think about Stitch Fix, who is a, a subscription box. One of those companies where it’s, uh, you, you fill out some surveys and you get a box in the mail with, you know, five pieces of clothing. You decide what you want, or even a, a HelloFresh, which is a food delivery. Similar concept. Okay. Now they’re using this zero-party data capture for the reason of making that engagement, that dialogue with the member resonate and work and be accurate, right? So the first thing you do, you fill out surveys, you ask questions, they ask questions, you get responses. And the beautiful thing is because they’ve made their platform into something that feels like a dialogue, I’m actually getting results right away. I want gluten-free, the screen changes. I get results tailored to that. Yeah. So it’s that level of personalization that trust that’s being built in through the conversation. Yeah. And then, Is is the essence of the accurate data that’s there. Now, when you have that data, yes. Paid media, you can be far more optimized than on who you’re trying to engage the personalization open web on platform, app, whatever the case might be. Yeah. But it does. Severely in a, in a good way, help out in that department to make sure that the right data is in the right place. Yeah. So no matter where you’re communicating on any channel yeah. That you can have that right. Message. 

 

Yeah. And you’re absolutely right. Collin, I think as consumers, we’ve all become so much more savvy, um, and so much more, um, I suppose demanding might even be the right word where if I am providing this data, like what is in it for me, you know, I I’m absolutely clear that, you know, yes. Social media platforms for example, are directly profiting from my information, but actually I want selfishly to actually benefit from sharing that data. And I’ve often kind of, you know, you know, you know, half in a, you know, dare an amusing way kind of given out that, you know, on my birthday, for example, you know, I need to go and see the data that I’ve given to all these loyalty programs. Are they using it to wish me a happy birthday in a way that’s good for me? Like, are they just trying to sell me more stuff? Because it happens to me my birthday, or they actually giving me maybe, you know, something generous and something wonderful and giving back. So. I’m I’m interested, I suppose, in, you know, whether globally you’re seeing differences, maybe like, for example, you’ve talked about HelloFresh. I’m a huge fan of their business model. I think COVID was very generous to subscription businesses like that, but you also see it there in Australia as well. Collin, in terms of these, uh, conversations you’re hearing and having with the, the, the Loyalty Lab? 

 

To a degree. Yeah. Yeah. So we, obviously the Loyalty Lab was geared more on building the program and the strategy. Okay. So the lab itself, we didn’t get too much into the digital side of the world, other than acknowledging that you need a platform, you need a strategy that also tackles that side of it. You can’t run marketing or, uh, you can’t run your loyalty program in a silo. Okay. It needs to involve the rest of the organization from the folks in the paid media, from the CFO’s, uh, side business, to understand the value on, on the full, the full, uh, Approach there.

 

Yeah. And I really am imagining now sitting now and positioning myself, my team, my loyalty investment as being the heart of the organization. So as I said, definitely an idea I’ll be taking forward. But I think also today, what I wanted to get a sense of was more around the indirect piece that you’ve had so much conversation around. So we, as we said, we’ve talked a lot about the direct benefits of loyalty, but what do you think is the response of, you know, various brands in terms of these softer benefits? Do you think they’re already starting to say that we can drive trust and we can drive credibility, or are these things that people still need to hear that they need to be talking about internally when there’re supposed defending their loyalty investments? 

 

Yeah. And I think that’s a, a great point, Paula, when it comes to defense of these investments. Yeah. That, because they’re indirect by nature, they’re gonna be tough to measure. Yeah. And you might have to run through some other analytical insight loops in order to get to an indicative answer. Yeah. But I think there are some elements out there. Yeah. Such as an NPS score. And I’ve seen ENPS now for employer or TNPS. There’s various NPS scores out there you can use to gauge yeah some of those elements. 

 

Yeah. Yeah. And, and is everybody using NPS, would you say? Because I think you’re totally right. Collin. And, you know, we had Fred Reichheld on the show. I don’t know if you heard that particular episode, but you know, there is more and more, even from his perspective, net promoter score has been so widely adopted, but there is also, I suppose, the extra piece around, um, earned growth rate, for example, new concepts around, you know, exactly what are the accounting metrics that we can use to go alongside, you know, the customers saying that they’re, you know, behaving in better ways. So we’d just love to hear, you know, how are people dealing with NPS, and are they starting to get more, uh, questions internally? That they suppose they need our support in terms of doing this kind of defense work and measuring these more indirect pieces. 

 

Yeah. So definitely anytime I engage into a pitch or conversation, NPS is somewhere in there. Okay. And the question is, can you model it for me? How are you modeling it? Can we integrate the modeling? and then how do we make sure it’s reflected in our holistic reports and dashboards and things like that. So the, the conversation is definitely there. Okay. People are interested in it and because, and I did listen to the, uh, before I talk NPS, I wanted to make sure I listened to the expert on NPS. Oh. But, um, yeah, there definitely is a need to have that within the solidified and codified within the, the loyalty conversation in the narrative internally. Mm-hmm  on what it means, how to use it appropriately. 

 

Okay. Okay. So who would you say is doing it? Well, Collin, you know, you’ve talked about these ideas, uh, you know, how we can, uh, build trust, for example, using our loyalty program. And I suppose the credibility that immediately comes about. So I love this idea that, you know, Loyalty is there to drive the relationship. Um, and that’s exactly what we’re doing, but it can feel sometimes a little bit transactional, I think, in the past, particularly, and probably pre-COVID as well. It was very much around do this and get that, but I think coming out of COVID, we’re all, you know, really changing, you know what we value as human beings and therefore we value doing business with brands we trust. So I’d love any examples you have on brands that you see doing that well. 

 

Sure. And it’s, I haven’t been able to shop it for a while now, but it’s called REI or recreational equipment and Inc. Okay. And so they’re American retailer outdoor gear and services. And ever since I walked into their doors, I felt more outdoorsy than I probably should just by the nature of  their store, the staff and everything and they’re basically the whole image that they put in there. Yeah. Now what’s interesting about them is they have a loyalty program, I’m not sure if they’d call it that necessarily. Okay. But they call it actually a Co-op in which it’s a privately owned company. So no shareholders deal with you. Okay. But they called a co-op because each member that’s, as in that co-op plays a role within the company itself, which I think is a really neat idea. Mm. On one end, it’s not a discounts left and right. Or those sorts of relational offers or rational offers. Yeah. In fact, at the end of the year, their fiscal year. Yeah. Based off their profits, there’s actually a, a. Dividend, they call it given back to each member within this co-op lovely, which I think is a really neat way to frame out. Yeah. That sort of benefit a very rational, transactional type benefit, but putting it in a way that makes sense for their company. Okay. On top of that, they have the, the service discounts and this outdoor enthusiast. And if we got on content creation and those sorts areas, they’re great at that as well. But from the moment of walking into that store and engaging with them yeah. You know, their brand that are living their values yeah. And are putting their values into practice. 

 

Yeah. And, you know, I was just in London, actually, Collin as well. And I saw another brand that does exactly that. And they literally, I mean, this is a high street retailer called BrewDog, but exactly that point, Collin, where they literally said, you know, we are giving back, you know, essentially dividends to our employees. They are part of growing the business and what I’m hearing to me, what that does is if I’m gonna shop in an REI or a brand like that, where I know the employees care that much, it changes the conversation from, you know, does Collin just need a pair of sneakers today? Or what does he need to buy to? How can I grow his, maybe love of the outdoors as a long term way that you are more likely to come in and need more to, to buy more from those, those, um, retailers.

 

Absolutely. And the, the, the employees, there are advocates themselves, right? They’re out there hiking. They might lead a session or two, you know, from a walk to a hike or what not. So they are again, bought into this concept. And just to be clear, the dividends are actually something that the members me as a co-op member from having shopped there a few times, I actually get that back. So I got $5, uh, dividend that I can use back in the store gift, whatever I need to. So it’s broader than just employees, which I think is what makes it so unique. 

 

Oh, wow. Okay. And is that a referral piece, uh, Collin, or is it directly for you to, to use for you? 

 

It was me for me. Okay. Okay. So I guess there’s opportunities then that you will become an advocate just because you’re so, you know, delighted that you’re getting such rewards back.

 

Absolutely I guess, oh, I’m talking about it here. So  they got, they got something out of it. 

 

Yeah. Yeah. And what about, I suppose, um, you know, dare I say it less sexy sectors, you know, like utilities Collin. I think there’s a lot of, you know, I, I came from telecom’s loyalty, for example, like how can the loyalty program, you know, really optimize the indirect benefits of their loyalty strategy, you know, beyond, I suppose, just reducing the churn, which certainly in my experience was the entire conversation. But as you are saying, there’s, there’s more of a role for loyalty to play in a sector like that as well. 

 

Mm. Yeah. Utilities are definitely an interesting one, especially those are, that are commoditized and we all have to have them. Yeah. But one just kinda one step to the side on that. I think it’s another type of sector or vertical that, um, is we have to have it. Mm. And it’s one that begrudging think purchase that we all have to make and that would be maybe like the insurance sector. So one of the conversations and a note that came out of the, the lab from one of the participants was having this, Exit strategy towards a loyalty program, which seems completely counterintuitive. Why would you even want to focus on that? Yes. I’m not talking about win back. I’m talking about how do you let a member go in a way that they will want to come back? So wow. As we think about, just say customers lifecycle in general, right. If I have an apartment and I get, you know, insurance from my apartment for homeowners or property. Mm. At some point I might move to a house. Yeah. Right. And so how do they, let me go successfully with the right touch to leave one insurance policy. Mm, yet still be encouraged and engaged to want to go to the next one. And it might not happen back to back. Right. I might have lived somewhere else. We we’ve talked about boomerang kids and those sorts of things. Yeah. But it’s the concept of having that last touch with your customers so that they want to come back. Leaving that positive note. 

 

So, you know what that, uh, has just reminded me of actually, and, and I think we’ve talked about, yes, there are industries that are commoditized, so we just have to deal with that as consumers, as businesses. But when you talk about insurance, there was a brilliant example. I remember from Ireland, Collin where. Instead of building a loyalty strategy around, you know, the cross-sell the upsell. There actually was a brilliant strategy, which came about what happens at the point of claim. Because if you think about the reason that you’re in a loyalty program or the reason that actually you’re a customer of an insurance company, fundamentally, we’re all dreading but actually very clear that there is a reality that I probably, at some point will need to claim for something. It might be the car, it might be the house. It might be God forbid, health insurance, but it sounds like that’s exactly what you are coming across there. It’s like, let’s not just look at this, you know, acquire them, retain them for as long as we can and then forget about them but let’s look at the entire customer journey, including up to, and when they’re gonna leave. 

 

Absolutely. Absolutely well put. 

 

Wow. Wow. Yeah. Well, I do think it is character intuitive. Um, I’m not sure how popular we’ll be as loyalty professionals to say. We need to think about driving loyalty at the point of leaving, but as you’ve said, there is always this idea of win back and exactly at some point somebody will go what happened those people that left a year ago. And can we go back to them and maybe they’re back in the market. Of course, as we know, insurance policies particularly, uh, come round every 12 months. So I do think it’s a missed opportunity. So, um, so, okay let’s think about loyalty as we exit, um, a as a new idea. 

 

The final one. I know that, uh, a lot of your, uh, brands were talking about in your labs as well, was this idea about, uh, engagement and to me, you know, I suppose with the explosion of social media, perhaps over the, the last 10 or 15 years there, I say, I think in many companies, and certainly in my experience, it was often the social media team that were engaging with the customers most directly. And so a lot of the budgets went that way. A lot of the focus went that way. And I think sometimes that was almost from a reactive point of view because what I think happened with social medias were, was clearly the customers found their voice for the first time. It was the first time we even had the opportunity to maybe challenge a brand or give them direct feedback in a way that was public. So, I think there has been a really big role for social media with engagement. But I think what you are saying is there’s an opportunity for us as loyalty professionals to also start to get involved in that conversation. So I’d love for you to explain exactly what your thinking is on this side.

 

Absolutely. And the first thing, when I think of like the social media aspect is kind of that service recovery, right. I, I have my voice. I’m gonna let the airline or whoever it is know that I am not happy and then’s some, you know, so social expert within the company come help you. Yeah. I think when I look at the, from the loyalty standpoint, it is two sides. So it’s the, let’s say B2C. So the brand to the customer mm-hmm , but also kind of the customer to customer. Okay. And that does trickle into some advocacy a little bit, but from the engagement standpoint, what is the brand doing to put information out that customers want to engage in, which has a loop back into that loyalty program, the heart, the mind, and the wallet. Yeah. What can we put out there that engages them and allows ’em to come back on one of those three levers? Yeah. And I really loved how, um, now being in Australia, the Adidas or Adidas, depending on where you from , uh, run for the Oceans Australia program that they had, which they partner with, um, Runtastic, they partner with a company called Parley and it’s all about sustainability. It’s all about moving plastic from the oceans. And now that I’m about 15 minutes from the ocean versus about six to eight hours in Texas. Yeah. It’s it’s it’s top of mind for me. Yeah. So it’s really neat how they had that program. They brought in other people, they brought in user generated content and they allowed folks to engage with the brand and these other brands and in an effort that really was great for oceans and for others.

 

Yeah. Yeah. And it comes back to, I suppose, the values that, uh, that I was talking about earlier as well. I do think a lot more people are kind of looking for these, you know, not just a purpose led brand, but how can your business be used for good. So I think that’s a really good example and the oceans, honestly. Yeah. It’s definitely one that, uh, I certainly feel very passionately about. But also what I’m hearing Collin and I’ll be interested in your view on, is some brands are getting brave enough. Um, and I suppose really starting to invest in rewarding that type of consumer behavior. So again, in the past, what we’ve probably just seen is, you know, again, it was all purchase led. It was only when we transacted with the business that our loyalty program engaged with us and gave us our points or our tiers. But it does sound to me like I’m hearing, I’m gonna call them brave brands actually, where they’re looking at other desirable behaviors like what you’ve just alluded to. And one example was for example, a bank where they create a lot of educational content and gave actual loyalty points If you listened or consumed that content. So is this something that you see as also an opportunity for, for loyalty professionals to, to explore?

 

Absolutely. And I think that banking example is one we heard within the labs itself, which is as a bank, you know, they obviously have a different model. There’s the cross sell in those components from the loyalty program, but also education is a big part of it. Yeah. And with the superannuation here and things like that, how do you educate folks to retire to put the right money aside and bring that content forward, but also yet create that connection back to the brand, bringing that trust and that credibility in. And so I wouldn’t say do user-created content for this particular set of content creation. Yeah. There’s definitely articles and things that the bank themselves or the, the, you know, the, the intern company, the financial institution can use to put content out there, reward those people who are taking an interest in trying to learn, educate themselves and improve their own, you know, standards and where they are.

 

Yeah. And, and again, I suppose what it does for me is it reminds me how powerful our currencies can be. That actually, you know, we have trained our members and users over the last, whatever 10, 20, 30 years that there’s value in the currency. So now I suppose for us to, to, to literally say, let’s give you that so that you will start to behave in these other indirectly profitable behaviors. I think that’s the shift that’s really important. And I’m really happy to hear that that’s coming through in your conversations. 

 

Absolutely. And I like the word currency that’s you used there. So we go back to our old friend Apple here, that are Apple shot on iPhone campaign. Right? Their currency of course is not points. We know their no non loyalty program. However that shot on iPhone campaign, 25 million Insta posts. We’re from that itself right now. It’s video photos. Oh my God. Wow. So that the currency people are getting from there. Hey, I am with Apple. I’m part of Apple, I’m building into their brand and it’s a neat way to give back to their brand with their brand. I mean, what Apple have to do, make a great product. Yeah. Market a little bit, and folks are crazy. 

 

Wow. I had no idea it was 25 million Collin. That’s absolutely extraordinary. My goodness. Well, and I always, what I do admire about Apple is they manage to have their, their distribution partners aligned as well. So we all know our telecoms companies are also building the Apple brand so, again, I suppose it comes back to the power of being, uh, being brilliant at what you do with the core product, which builds loyalty, even with B2B partners, I guess, as well as, you know, as we’re talking about both consumers and employees, I presume all the, I suppose, uh, stakeholders across the business.

 

The final piece I wanted to ask then, I guess is, you know, it will all come back to, you know, at the end of the day, what is the business benefiting from? So, you know, there’s these opportunities to kind of see of all of these other activities, you know, what else can we do in terms of, you know, converting people either to again, customers or perhaps ambassadors. So I’d love to hear any experience you have in terms of, you know, using loyalty to build advocacy I guess. 

 

Absolutely. I think that is a big one that we’re seeing, especially with the rise of social media influencers at every level, from micro all the way up to those major ones with millions of followers. Yeah. And I find it’s it’s companies. I forget what it’s called. I can definitely send it afterwards. It’s almost this pyramid of, of engagement that you’d find with the top being that advocacy and the person that’s shouting at the rooftops, how wonder fleet brand is. Yeah. But somewhere in there, there’s this advocate, which is your employee on the frontline. Yeah. Are they also an advocate for your brand? Yeah, and we we’ve talked to a brand here just recently where they support their beauty consultants, it’s beauty brand in being micro influencers, right. The help of the content. And of course they are selling the brand, so that use the brand. They understand it, know it. Yeah. But it’s a great way to see how companies can support their employees in being their own advocates and ambassadors for the very product they’re selling and ideally for the very product they’re using. 

 

Yeah, yeah, no, absolutely. Right. And I think, you know, for all of us, who’ve worked in the industry for so many years Collin, obviously yourself included the execution is really experienced by the members or potential members literally at that moment of truth. Um, and I often think it’s the one that does get neglected dare I say, because in all of the, the time and cost and energy required to build a strategy, you know, get it through all of the business stakeholders and actually launch something. There’s usually, I suppose, a very good initial training in my experience in terms of, you know, telling the employees at the frontline we’re launching this, but for me, I suppose the key point is that’s actually when the hard work begins. So I think we think great, we’ve launched, we’ve trained the team. Great, we walk away, but my experience is if you can continually invest in those frontline people, maybe build an employee even version, which might be even a little bit richer than your consumer program. Then I do think those advocates become extremely powerful. Um, in terms of the long-term success of your loyalty program, because my definite experiences with the best will in the world, you know, the board will, will find other priorities, they’ll have other business issues to, to focus on. So it becomes less interesting and exciting. I think internally after the point that it launches, but the rest of us still have to prove both the direct, I guess, and indirect benefits of the program. So sounds like your hearing as well, that need for continuity and continual focus on the frontline people.

 

Absolutely. I call it the, the Last Mile Loyalty, which is, oh, nice. Who you’re. We have all been through direct marketing right. In the DM stage. Yeah. With that Last Mile Delivery. Yeah. But it’s the same concept, right? What are your frontline workers? The people on the phone, what are they doing to make sure that trust that you’ve built the credibility you’ve established over months, years, many pers as many conversations they can make or break it for you. So it’s important to. A very precise and understanding need of what your employees also would want. Yeah. Cause they should hopefully be part of your program as well. Yeah. We’ve seen brands put tiers within their own, uh, loyalty structure that they have their own tier, which is not just a 10% off employee discount, which we probably are familiar with. Yeah. But what else can they do within that to build emotional rational type of loyalty feedback? 

 

Okay. Okay. I love that. So it sounds like, um, we as loyalty professionals, again, to use your analogy, which I’m loving, which is this idea of positioning ourselves as you know, being the heart of the organization, um, literally creating all of those extended opportunities in a world where data is increasingly valuable, but beyond the program itself, but not just to be doing our business cases on the direct benefits of our program, but to start to factor in the, the ones that are harder to measure the indirect pieces about trust, credibility, um, advocacy and conversion. So sounds like our business casing is going to get maybe in the short term more complex, but I think more comprehensive if I’m right.

 

I love it. That’s absolutely right. More complex, but definitely more comprehensive.

 

Okay. Well, I think, you know, given the complexity, you know, what we are here to do is here to help. Um, I am loving the fact that we are working together, I suppose, as Let’s Talk Loyalty with Epsilon, to focus on guiding people as much as possible through, um, adding to these business cases and for anyone who hasn’t inherited as yet, you can literally go to letstalkloyalty.com/epsilon. And essentially what I’m doing is. Supporting the guys in Epsilon to essentially create these Loyalty Labs directly for you listening so that you can bring in some external expertise. People like Collin, if you happen to be in the Asia Pacific region and, and down maybe in, uh, in Australia itself, but literally all over the world. Quite simply what we’re doing is inviting you to come and tell us a bit confidentially. This is data that comes just to me, um, to be shared only with Epsilon. Where we can see where we can actually guide you and put together maybe a half-day workshop to see where you can build all of these direct and indirect benefits using the format of these loyalty labs, which is obviously proving so useful.

 

So Collin, have you anything to add, I suppose, on that particular piece to get people to, to come and, you know, join us and get some of these insights for us. 

 

You know, I’m just looking forward to continuing the conversation and definitely continuing to, to engage with clients across labs in other areas here and just plant some roots here in Australia.

 

Fantastic. Well, I’ll be super excited to watch as Epsilon grows across the whole world, but specifically APAC led by you. So with that said, I will say Collin Larijani, Thank you so much, Senior Director of Solution Consulting at Epsilon, Thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty. 

 

This show is sponsored by The Loyalty People. A global strategic consultancy with a laser-focused on loyalty, CRM, and customer engagement. The Loyalty People work with clients in lots of different ways, whether it’s the strategic design of your loyalty program or a full service, including loyalty project execution. And they can also advise you on choosing the right technology and service partners. On their website, The Loyalty People also runs a free global community for loyalty practitioners and they also publish their own loyalty expert insights. So for more information and to subscribe, check out theloyaltypeople.global.

 

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