#262: A Reality Check for Your Loyalty Program (Short Summary Show)

In this short summary show, I review my interview with Mike Atkin, also known as the “Loyalty Guru”, in which he shared the framework that he uses to expertly assess any loyalty program against industry best practice.

With any loyalty investment, it’s essential to know what’s working and what’s not, so listen to learn how the “Loyality Check” works, so you can access the same key principles, and understand if your loyalty program is working as powerfully as it should!

Show Notes:

1) Mike Atkin 

2) Full interview is available here

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 this week’s short episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty. I’m your host, Paula Thomas. And this week we are looking back to June 2021. When I spoke with Mike Atkin, an independent loyalty expert, based in the UK. The key topic for that conversation was a solution that Mike developed as part of his consulting business, an idea, he calls The Loyality Check. Which as the name suggests is actually a reality check on any loyalty program, quite simply, it’s essentially an audit that he does for brands to measure the effectiveness and profitability of their program. 


We all know that from time to time, we question whether our loyalty program is working as well as it could, or sometimes other stakeholders in the business want independent validation of our business assumptions. Mike looks at everything your loyalty program is doing from strategy to the customer value proposition, your data analytics, your platform, your rewards, and fulfillment processes, as well as of course, the program financials and how the brand communicates with its members and of course takes care of them.


One of the things that was really quite startling was that Mike told me that he typically finds that about 30% of loyalty programs that are running are simply not viable. To me, this highlights two things. Firstly, how difficult it is to run a great and profitable loyalty program. But secondly, how important it is to get an independent expert perspective on your plans, outside of your own team, your own suppliers, and even outside your own field of expertise. I, for one, would’ve really loved to have had a loyality check on the programs I was responsible for earlier in my own loyalty career. So I highly recommend thinking about this loyality check for your programs. 


In addition to this idea of regular, external expert performance reviews. Mike also shared one other key insight that he had acquired over his career and was an area of concern. It was the whole idea of the complexity of managing professional partnerships. In many situations, brands negotiate deals with other companies, so our loyalty members can redeem points or perhaps enjoy exclusive benefits with a partner brand in addition to our own. Unfortunately, sometimes those partners don’t effectively train their staff on the partner proposition. And in that case, of course, the members’ experience can really suffer and even do more harm to your brand loyalty than good. This really resonated for me, as you know, I’ve done a lot of work in managing partnerships. So it was a really useful reminder of another key issue that Mike was seeing last year in his strategy and loyalty consulting work.


That’s it for today’s short show summary. I think you’ll agree that Mike Atkin and his Loyality Check are a powerful way to really understand what parts of your loyalty program are working and what parts can be improved. So if you’d like to hear more, you can find the full interview on letstalkloyalty.com/114.


Tomorrow, we’ll be heading back down under. To hear some of the latest loyalty propositions that are being tested and developed. So an exciting masterclass and loyalty innovation with our friend Simon Rowles. Then on Thursday, I have an exciting announcement for you. As Let’s Talk Loyalty heads into our third year. So definitely tune to that episode for our latest exciting announcement. Thanks again for listening and have a great weekend loyalty wherever you are listening. 


This show is sponsored by the wise marketeer. The world’s most popular source. Of loyalty, marketing news insights, and research. The wise market tier also offers loyalty marketing training through its loyalty academy, which is already certified over 245 executives in 27 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals.


For more information, check out the wise marketer.com and loyalty academy.org.


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