#484: Let's Talk Loyalty Launches the Wiser Loyalty Podcast Partnership

In this episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty, we are officially launching our partnership and format for our new Tuesday short shows launching on February 6th.

Our guests are well known to you all, and this new content partnership brings our work with The Wise Marketer Group to a whole new level.

Bill Hanifin and Aaron Dauphinee lead The Wise Marketer Group, which positions itself as “The Global Voice of Loyalty”.

The group includes their online magazine and the “Loyalty Academy” training program, which we are specifically featuring as the content source for our Tuesday episodes in 2024. 

Today’s episode explains what you can expect in the weeks and months ahead in the “Wiser Loyalty” Tuesday Podcast series, as we together focus on growth and excellence in our industry in 2024.

Show Notes:

1)  Bill Hanifin

2) Aaron Dauphinee

3) The Wise Marketer Group⁠ ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠

4) Loyalty Academy

5) Cumberland Farms

6) ⁠⁠ Stakeholder Loyalty Article

7) Do Hard Things


Audio Transcript

Paula: 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.

Just before we share today’s episode, I want to ask you to sign up to the Let’s Talk Loyalty email newsletter. Our email newsletter is by far the best way for us to keep you up to date with all of the latest incredible loyalty stories we’re sharing each week. It’s also the easiest place for you to find our show notes, with links to everything mentioned in all of the episodes.

You can sign up at letstalkloyalty.com.

Hello and welcome to this episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty, where we’re officially launching our partnership and format for our new Tuesday short shows, launching on February 6th. Our guests are well known to you all, as is their organization. But this new content partnership brings our work with The Wise Marketer Group to a whole new level.

Bill Hanifin and Aaron Dauphine lead The Wise Marketer Group, which positions itself as The Global Voice of Loyalty. The group includes their online magazine and The Loyalty Academy training program, which we are specifically featuring as the content source for our Tuesday episodes in 2024. On both sides, we’ve seen demand for education and skills training in the loyalty industry continually increasing.

So, we have together designed The Wiser Loyalty podcast series, featuring weekly short shows of five to seven minutes, which will be published every Tuesday. I hope you enjoy listening to our episode today, explaining what you can expect in the weeks and months ahead in The Wiser Loyalty Tuesday podcast series, as we together focus on growth and excellence in our industry in 2024.

So Bill Hanifin and Aaron Dauphine, welcome back to Let’s Talk Loyalty. 

Bill: Thanks so much. 

Aaron: Great to see you. 

Paula: Amazing. Yeah, we are kicking off 2024 with a bang. I think it’s fair to say. Super exciting. We’re launching this literally we’re recording it actually on January 3rd and releasing it, of course, the middle of the month because of this amazing partnership that we are developing to a whole new level together.

So before we get into explaining to our audience exactly what our new content series is going to look like, I want to, of course, start with our usual opening question, which to me is eternally interesting to ask the loyalty minds that come on the show what they currently admire. So Bill, I’m going to come to you first.

Bill: Sure.

Paula: Kick us off. You have been on the show before, but I think you’ve got a different answer. What would you say is your current favorite loyalty program? 

Bill: Well, you know what? I have a different answer according to what I’m kind of interested in at any one time. So there are those that maybe I have that personal interest because I’m accumulating a lot and they’re doing good things for me. And then there’s some that I just kind of observe and I think, wow, they are doing an incredible job. 

So this might sound mundane to some people might be a shocker to other people, but it’s Cumberland Farms, which is a convenience store chain that’s in the US.They’re part of EG America, which is actually owns several different brands and they’re the number 4 convenience store chain on the CSP List of 100. If you ever look at that, and then you do, because you’re a real expert in that area. 

But Cumberland Farms has this incredible program to me that offers. It’s a payment driven program. So they, they have an app and the reason let me just back up. The reason I like this program is execution. There’s some people and I read a lot of posts over the holidays where people were talking about what’s really going to be important for 2024. And I think some of the things that will be important are the things that were important last year. And maybe fully addressed possibly. So a lot of folks are talking about execution. Like, we want to see programs work consistently deliver a great customer experience and just fulfill the customer’s expectations. 

And so, when I go to Cumberland farms, they offer a 10 cent discount on gas or petrol, but the way you get it is you open the app. And you you have to set this up so that you attach your current account or your checking account to the loyalty program. And so, of course, Cumberland Farms is saving on merchant processing costs and they’re allowed to afford you a discount on fuel. But the beautiful thing is Paula, no matter I live in a nice area where we have some good weather, but you have those terribly rainy days, you know, blustery, windy. You can sit in your car, pull up to the fuel island and open the app. All you really have to do because there’s a location service that says you’re here, you can confirm it. You look at the pump number, enter it. The pump is activated and yes, I do have to get out of the car and put the nozzle in the tank, but everything else is done for you.

And while I’m just meandering instead of maybe people watching I’m deal watching. So I look at the app and it offers me Hey, Billy, you’ve got a free coffee because you just, you know, you’ve reached some threshold or, you know, you’ve got two for one on a energy drink. I don’t drink a lot of, but they have a lot of that stuff. So the deals are there. You get some accumulation and savings that communicate well, but I just love Cumberland Farms because I’m always waiting for it to break and it never does. 

Paula: Wow, cool. Well, high praise coming from you, Bill. And I think I said to you offline that I did write an article about Cumberland Farms again, you know, as somebody who doesn’t live in the US, it’s not a brand I had previously been aware of, but I was filled with admiration and respect.

And coming from somebody like you with a lifelong career and loyalty to talk about the idea of excellent execution. And in fact, I think you talked about perfect execution. Like to me, that’s extraordinary because at the end of the day, you guys, and, you know, particularly when I think about The Loyalty Academy, talk about driving profitable behavior change. And that’s something I really remember learning. And that’s clearly something that Cumberland Farms is doing. So a wonderful example to kick us off. 

Bill: Absolutely.

Paula: And I will make sure to link to the show notes as well to the article that I wrote a couple of years ago, because again, that will capture my own favorite insights. Probably a little out of date now, but I guess the reason that we’re, I suppose, getting into this podcast series is to get the latest ideas, the latest insights and up to date information. 

Bill: That’s perfect.

Paula: So can’t wait to hear. Brilliant.

Bill: Can I add two things just really quickly? It is absolutely about behavior change because you know what it makes me do, Paula? I just wait and defer. And when I need fuel, I go by that Cumberland Farm store.

Paula: Wow. Yeah.

Bill: And there’s one reasonably close to where I live and why, because I know I’m, you know, I’ve got that discount and it’s kind of a fun experience. And the one last thing that I’ll say about it, I drove up to the pumps recently and they had a message on the screen that said card readers, not working, please go inside to pay. And I thought, okay, this is the day. It’s not working. But I tried the app. And do you know that the app worked? It was the card reader on the fuel dispenser that wasn’t working. But yet the app still was able to activate the pump. So I was in a loyalty nerd, like joy.

Paula: Yes. Oh, I totally get that. I love nerd like loyalty joy, Bill. So yeah, 10 out of 10. Great answer. So brilliant one. Aaron, can you top that one? 

Aaron: I don’t think I can, but I can take an observation of what’s happening at the, as we all come to the end of the year for many loyalty programs and all of our statuses start to come into question what I have observed and quite like are the promotions, or at least the structures of certain systems, particularly coming out of the hospital. So the, an airline industries and an airline is fourth of mine for me right now, as I think about what my status will be for my Boba trotting to hop around with The Wise Marketer throughout the 2024 season. 

And and what I’ve noticed and I find thing is in fact, the structures that they put in place around how you get accumulated to your status for the next year and the things that happen if you don’t actually get quite to the bar of status what, you know, what could savor is because there’s a lot of Yo factor that comes into it if you don’t quite get to that status level. And then in the past airlines, I think holistically, and I’m certainly thinking of the Star Alliance Group of Airlines and in some cases just because I’m out of Canada and so tend to lean that way in terms of my preference but there are other airlines in others, other systems as well too.

But the point being as you get closer to your threshold to, to win that new status tier, and I like to say it as a bit of a win because you should be some benefit for it. If you don’t win they’ll actually roll over the miles, right? So for the Delta between, so if you’re something about 15,000 miles left to go between the status tier and you want to get 1450 the 1550 gets rolled over for the following year as a starting base. So you’re working towards so it’s a cumulative on a year over year basis. And so it’s not like you’ve lost it all a little bit of an addendum into your next season, if you will, to try to accumulate to get back to that tier and a bit of a head start.

And so I like seeing that promotional structure. There is very much the consumer behavior change. And I think it’s fascinating and interesting for anyone who’s in the airline or hotel programs that have these structures in place, because the analytics they’ll be able to do is they’ll really be able to see what type of customer base they have because there’s individuals. And if you’re on any of the online sites for these particular programs, you see a lot of chatter and conversation about well, should I try to get that extra segment and get on and fly and do my trip to get over the threshold for a certain tier, or should I just pause and take the rollover?

And so now people are literally, you know, as their travel behavior comes to the near end of the season, they’re deciding not to actually get on planes in some instances, because they want to be able to roll over and max, because the tier that they’re going to doesn’t give them enough benefits and interests in terms of the tier after that. If they were closer to the tier after that, they might then say, Hey, I’ll get on another plane and do a trip from, and I’ll use the example here, Toronto to Chicago. It’s a very popular one. At this time of year, it’s really hard to get on the Toronto to Chicago if you’re doing segments. People literally get on the plane and they’ll get off and they’ll get right back onto the next flight at this time of year.  And so what we’re seeing, I have to anticipate is that people have paused that in some instances if they’re not getting to that upper tier level, but there may be in one of the mid tiers and where the benefits aren’t as differentiated, it really isn’t as much.

So, I think that’ll call to question if you take a look at the analytics, what we should see going forward for airlines in these programs is an adjusted change to say, you have to have enough of a Delta between each of your tiers, even the middle ones in order now to make this  system work effectively because you don’t really want people to stop their behavior and stop flying.

Instances where people have said in just conversations with me, and you always have to be careful with examples of one, of course, but oh you’re not taking your regular, you know, your run at the miles to get over the threshold. And they said, Oh no, I’d rather take the rollover. And have a kickstart for the following year. So, the way that they structured the systems now have certainly changed behavior for some of those individuals who are really gunning for that top tier or the second tier or those who are just happy with, you know, staying at kind of the lower tier because it gets them what they need, such as lounge access or reporting it.

And that’s all that. The one because they never get their upgrades. Anyway they, so they, like, why shoot for the stars if I don’t get my upgrades anyways, I’ll just take the lounge access in the early boarding. 

Paula: Totally. Yeah. 

Aaron: It’s not quite a program, but it’s more of a, an observation on a sector of of loyalty programs that, you know, we’re seeing some changes in terms of structures of the programs are coming into effect.

Paula: Amazing. Yeah. And I think that’s what I certainly am most excited about the role of you guys, you know, becoming, as I said, closer aligned with Let’s Talk Loyalty is those, you know, highly educated loyalty nerds insights and observations in terms of what’s going on in real time in our industry.

And certainly for me, the new Tuesday series of shows that we’re going to be doing together is exactly that. It’s taking, you know, world class education, layering in, you know, what is contemporary insights, what is, you know, literally happening with the loyalty programs. Certainly both in the United States market where you guys are based, but also, of course, globally, because I know you do have your tagline is The Global Voice of Loyalty, which I know you’re very proud of.

So I suppose, you know, with the, you know, appropriate drum roll I guess what we wanted to announce to the audience today is a concept called The Wiser Loyalty Podcast Series, which is going to be going out every Tuesday, starting the 6th of February, which is going to be hosted / co-hosted by yourselves, Bill and Aaron. So our audience is going to absolutely get to know and love you guys even more. 

So ahead of explaining what that podcast series is going to look like, I think it could be just maybe a good starting point, Bill, if you don’t mind me asking you once again, I know you’ve done this a couple of times on our show, but for anyone new listening to, to Let’s Talk Loyalty, would you just explain, I suppose, the origins of The Wise Marketer Group you know, the various assets.

You know, within the business and particularly, I suppose, The Loyalty Academy, which is most relevant for our audience for this podcast series. So would you mind kicking us off with a bit of background about the business? 

Bill: I’m going to kick it off with some origin story and keep it short, and then I’ll let Aaron kind of talk to you a little bit about what we’re doing today. Because we’ve got a bit of a evolved vision that we’re really putting into place in 2024. We’re excited about that. And our partnership with Let’s Talk Loyalty is central to everything we’re doing. 

So, I can tell you, I think a lot of people, especially your listeners in Europe, would be familiar with The Wise Marketer because it was something that let’s see a brand that had been in market for at least 15, 18 years, probably since, the turn of the millennium, I would say, at least, if not, maybe a little bit before that. And so it was, some people would know the story too. It was run by a father son combination that had done a great job and they aggregated news from all over the world. 

And so early days, people would ask me, what should I read? Where can I get news and information? And so this was 1 of only 2 sources in the world that I would recommend to people was go to thewisemarketer.com. They have a lot of great news now, maybe not a lot of insight and a lot of like deeper. Analysis and things like that research. But anyway, it was a great brand and we used to work with them in a partnership kind of basis in North America to report from conferences and do some work. And one thing led to another. 

But anyway, in, in 2016, we acquired it with a small group of people. And the vision was really this, it came out of need because we had, we’re all practitioners in the business. We’ve all. Then, like you are, you’ve been a practitioner you’ve built and run programs you’ve had hands on this business. We’re not just observers or analysts or something. And so we were always looking for resources and there just still weren’t many out there. And so we did this market study for one of the large payment companies, and we said, oh, my gosh, the total value of goods and services in this global loyalty business is probably upwards of $140 billion a year.

Paula: Wow. 

Bill: Now where’s the ad age of our business. Where’s the payments.com of the payments business? You know, where are these publications where it’s trusted and you can get information and feel like, you know, I’ve got a question scratching my head. Now, where do I go right away? You’re thinking top of mind. So I don’t know if we’re there yet, but I certainly hope that this is our goal that we get to that point where people just say, top of mind, I need information. I need answers. I need help. I’m going to at least check The Wise Marketer and see if I can find something there. 

And so that was our goal originally. We saw the need, we wanted to fill it. And so what we really bought was the brand essentially. And we transformed the brand to become the media site in service of the global loyalty business. And, and there was a guy that inspired me and then I’ll let Aaron explain a little bit more about where we’re headed. But you may know him. He’s a guy named Chris Brogan and he was one of the OGs in the social media marketing world. So, in, in 2005, when I opened my first Twitter account. And I didn’t even know what Twitter was. I just did it because somebody told me I should have one. Chris Brogan was already accomplished in that area. And so he was one of those guys who started to read and he had a post that talked about one of the most important things on his list is just to be helpful. And so that’s always been our mantra is and Aaron, I know is a believer in this from a, he has a different tale about being helpful.

But if we can be helpful, if we, you know, we, we use these words and we wrote a post in The Wise Marketer over the holidays about four words that really matter for this year and, you know, they were trust and relationships and transparency and gratitude. Well, transparency and authenticity, I think comes from somebody who’s helpful. If you go to a friend and ask for advice, and they’re conniving and trying to get you to do something and manipulate you. You’re not going to probably keep going back there for advice, but if you go to that friend and they give you exactly what you’re looking for and a little more, and they’re collaborative I think that you’ve learned to trust that and you go back to it. So that, that’s what we’re, that’s what we’re trying to accomplish here. And that’s what we’re hoping that the brand will represent to everybody that’s listening to the show and beyond. 

Paula: Love it.

Bill: So just expound on what the future looks like. 

Aaron: Yeah, to expound on it. Oh my gosh, after that setup, I’m not sure if I can add more, but I will actually give accolades to Bill. I mean, the reason I popped on with him and part of this journey that we’re on to build out The Wise Marketer Group and the assets, and I’ll get into a little bit more about The Loyalty Academy because it’s been Bill did a great job talking about the publication and its heritage. 

One of the reasons I hopped in is something that Bill said, and I’m actually going to quote directly. And I love this quote from him because it really espouses what we’re, we set out to do, which is Bill said that the customer marketing industry deserves a higher ground platform to ensure the brightest minds can express their unique point of view and be recognized for their talent, vision, and success. And we are responding to a demand and amplifying the importance of the industry for global brands. 

That’s really critical. And Bill said that a number of years ago, and I keep pulling it back out to remind ourselves, because every time we do something, a new partnership, such as this one, we go back to that and think, will this expand, you know, and amplify the importance of the industry? And then we say, Yes, or no, it’s almost like a litmus test for us. And so when we were working with you originally, that was one of those litmus tests of yes, absolutely. This makes sense to help give a platform for Paula to help expand the content that she’s creating through her podcast series. And now we’re at a point where we’re working with you saying, Hey, we also want to contribute and we’re ready to contribute in a way that’s a bit more niche and novel. And that’s where The Loyalty Academy comes in and build it and talk necessarily about this. But no, this was really a vision of creating a a educational forum and method, if you will, or around the loyalty discipline out of a practitioner based curriculum that’s, you know, designed by practitioners for practitioners.

And our, our Dean Mike Capizzi and along with Bill started to build this up a bit about a year and change afterwards. I think 6, 7 years now, the academy’s been in play. It’s great to hear those numbers as I come off the top of my head. Now, in terms of where we’re coming from and where we’re going.

And the reality is that The Loyalty Academy really is, you know, the first global source for truly independent what I would say yeah, loyalty education produced for the industry, if you will. And we’ve got our certified loyalty marketing, professional designation, the CLMP is, as we talk about it for short and set a standard for being globally recognized and it’s a comprehensive and industry leading designation. And so we’re proud of that. We have nearly 900 you know, December 19th, I think of 2023 to end out the year. I think we had 870, so nearly 900 CLMPs around the world in 49 countries. So that number has grown significantly even over the last year and a change from just over five. It’s almost doubled up in, in a particular year because of the journey that we’ve been on. 

And we’re going to want to continue that. It’s a part of working with you and saying, how can we bring a bit more of that curriculum that typically was behind more closed doors, if you will, out into the forefront and married with the insights and the, you know, the geekiness that we have, Bill and I, and the observations that we have from The Wise Marketer publication and media side and combined together. 

And so we thought that this podcast could really, you know, as a wiser loyalty could really start to hone in on saying, hey, let’s take a construct from, you know, the loyalty discipline and the curriculum that we have every month, I think is probably the best plan. Right? Well, we’ll pick, you know, the psychology of loyalty is an easy one to start off and kick off with, you know, there’s over and in terms of mindset. But for that month for four or five weeks about that particular topic where we take a construct within the curriculum, we define it, we make sure people understand it so that it’s not some people will obviously there’s different grades of understanding and cross your listeners, I’m sure, but some people who okay, check. And that’s a reinforcement, a reminder, even you if you will, that they know a validation for them as well, but for the brand new. And so with brand new information, what we often find is that if you take it and provide examples, they can really start to say, well, hey, here’s how I take the theory and put it into application and pertinent.

And so that’s what we plan to do with this podcast over, you know, a very short five, eight minutes on a particular topic in a given week. It was introduced a particular construct. And then talk about real world examples of who’s doing it well, maybe people who could optimize a bit better or just things that we think people should be doing. And might find is in down the road with some of the work that we’re doing as we, you know, we’re constantly on this evolution to refresh our content and keep it current. 

What we might even find and we’re hopeful for is at some point during the series, we may even build bring out old foundational truths of loyalty that people have said of this must be true. And hopefully deconstruct those and say, actually those no longer are relevant. In fact, here’s what. And that’s what’s exciting for us is an opportunity to have that conversation and be able to create it as a conversation. So I know that your new tool that we’ll be able to hopefully utilize where people be able to actually comment back the series we’re hoping to have and kick off with a little bit of like, here’s some questions that people had. And so we’re going to answer a bit of those and then go into the, into what we want to talk about in that particular course of events. So, I’ll get off my diatribe there, but that’s, a little bit about where we’re going and why we’re building wiser loyalty podcast series with you.

Paula: Amazing. Thank you both for those. I suppose really fundamental, as you said, backstories, first of all, you know, to go back to you, Bill, for a minute, you know, this idea of The Wise Marketer is a beautiful brand. I wasn’t aware of it actually until you guys took it over. But as soon as I saw it and heard it, I was like, that’s exactly what I want to be as a wiser marketer. And I do love that you guys are starting to use that kind of thinking to say that actually it’s not that the website’s The Wise Marketer, it’s me that becomes the wiser marketer. So I suppose personalizing and positioning it as a benefit. I think Aaron, that was something you were really keen on bringing to the floor. Yeah. 

Aaron: Yeah, absolutely, Paul. And I love how you phrase that because it really is about the individuals. This is like we’re in service of and Bill’s comment about helping is always forefront for my, for me one of the things that you’ll often hear me say, and it’s the natural people have picked it up. And it’s ever since this, the series, New Amsterdam television series, which is the main leader of it’s a medical based series. 

Paula: Yes, love that.

Aaron: And it’s like, how can I help? Yeah. Like, if you’re always asking with earnest, earnestly and genuinely willing to do what you can and recognizing you can’t do everything for someone, but just asking, how can I help? And you’re setting that the conversation, even at the beginning of the conversation with like, going on, how can I help? It allows for a better flow of just you know, connectedness to each other. And I’m standing that we’re all in this on a mission together to rise up. And so that’s really what we want to do, particularly for the loyalty industry, it says help rise up both for each of us within it, but then also in service of like, where does loyalty’s role in, in the larger marketing exist and we’ve always been advocates of it’s actually the biggest part of it. All people just haven’t seen it yet. So we’re trying to remove the veil so that people can see it clearly that loyalty is numero uno, so to speak in terms of the mindset as a marketer. 

Paula: Yeah, amazing. And if anyone listening hasn’t watched New Amsterdam, I would also advocate watching that drama series, hospital based with a super cute guy who comes in. Sorry, inappropriate, but true. 

Aaron: Yeah, I just need a new glass. 

Paula: Yeah, but just that, as you said, the authenticity of him coming into, you know, a very complex mess, dare I say it, in a hospital environment and not being able to fix everything. But as you said, having that, you know, guiding principle of always starting with how can I help? So that’s what I’m hearing coming through from you guys. 

And it’s what I’ve always experienced reading all of the incredible, I think it must be tens of thousands of articles on The Wise Marketer website. So if anybody’s not subscribed to that, first of all, of course, that’s a top recommendation. And of course, Loyalty Academy, you know, is very well structured and you guys have taken the time to build a curriculum, as you said, of, you know, industry practitioners who wants to share the latest thinking and to make it in a way that has academic rigor, but combined with the latest thinking. 

So, like for me, as I said, I’ve always experienced you guys being helpful. So that for sure, even if you haven’t articulated it to me, I’ve experienced it. And I will say that everybody who comes on this podcast actually is here to be helpful. So I’m always super grateful that that everyone shows up to do their bid.

And I think particularly in the context of this partnership, you guys are going to be showing up every week. So that’s an extraordinary commitment to being helpful and taking, I suppose, you know, maybe even a step back from my side, you know, as I think about the feedback we get from our audience. And as you said, Aaron, we’re going to be absolutely asking for more and more of that as we go through 2024.

But there always is this idea that a short format content is extremely useful. There are some people who just don’t have the 40 minutes to listen to all of our interviews, and that’s totally fine. But they do want to have something that they can consume either when they’re, yeah, I don’t know, grabbing a coffee in the morning or whatever. So, Tuesday’s always been the day that we’ve had a shorter show. And I suppose I’ve been feeling that you know, simply summarizing previous episodes, perhaps wasn’t, you know, as valuable as what this, I believe is going to be. 

So, you know, really from my side the original idea was, could we have a loyalty lesson every Tuesday from industry experts? And of course, I immediately thought of you guys. And I know you’ve taken the positioning even forward in terms of calling it The Wiser Loyalty Podcast Series. 

So, Aaron, I might ask you just to comment on, you know, really just how do you see this? You’ve already talked about it’ll be a theme every month. You do have 12 modules for The Loyalty Academy, and I guess you’re going to be taking those every month. And as you said, explaining, updating, and covering the key principles, but with some case study examples for the audience. 

Aaron: Yeah, I think that’s a good way to start the baseline understanding. And for us, you know, building on the idea of what the goal is, it’s to create snackable content. That’s a term that Bill and I used when we worked together with Rick Ferguson at the AIMIA Institute. We were building out at AIMIA many years ago, which really you know, was going to be a leading edge former of wiser marketer, which now Bill and I have come together with our other partners to actually build out a lot of the ideas of that. But under a different brand and that, and it makes sense to, you know, as they always say, not have the Fox watching the hen house, so to speak. So to be, because for us, I mean, that’s a critical thing from that comes from integrity is that we are independent, right? We’re not biased by any of the service providers. In fact, we’re in service of all of the service providers and we manage a number of them and including the brands as well to the same. So, this is kind of an overarching comment.

But in terms of what you can expect from us. I mean, we do have that monthly theme. We do have 12 core curriculum courses. We also have 12 elective courses. So we might mix and match. And so that you get a bit of more what’s relevant and current. So think about analytics and the conversion of AI. Well, that’s an important topic. So, you know, that analytics happens to be in our core curriculum. So of course we’ll cover that in a particular month but the idea of bringing in the AI component and what that means, you know, really will be maybe an emphasis for one of the two of the weeks of a particular month.

And if we think about this, I don’t know, Bill, maybe it’s probably best if we actually take people through a bit of an example of what we would try to build as a form even today with a little bit of a snapshot. I think that would make sense. 

Bill: Sure. Yeah, we can do that. 

Aaron: Yeah, so I think I brought up earlier psychology of loyalty. If we think about that and some of the foundations of human behavior that we talk about in the curriculum there is the idea of self determination theory. It’s a theory that exists and it’s got three components to it. But one of those particular components that starts to get into the self determination theory is this idea of social relatedness. So we’re on the theme of help. And so purpose is really probably the best way to think about it. 

But when we think about social relatedness, what we’re really thinking about is, you know, valuing relationships and being comfortable in the communities that we’re operating in. I think that’s probably the best way to describe. Wouldn’t you agree Bill? Or is there anything to add in terms of that particular theory? 

Bill: And I think that’s that is true. And it’s social relatedness, sort of slash community. So that’s all related and bundled together. But it’s made so clear that people in self determination theory were driven by three main themes and none of us really know it. But the researchers have behavioral psychologists have come up with this self determination theory, which, by the way, has been adopted in many different aspects of life. 

So I we came across it by talking with doing some research on our own, talking to you, Dr. Yuping Liu-Thompkins at The Loyalty Science Lab at Old Dominion. She had done work in this area. And and so we had created some content around that, but you know, my new favorite book that I read just before and during the holidays, completely in a different topical area, but it’s called Do Hard Things. It’s written by Steve Magness. I would highly recommend it. It’s a great book.

Paula: Oh nice. Yeah. I like that title. Yeah. 

Bill: Yeah. He talks about athletics and whatnot, but it’s a book that you can apply to business, to life, just about anything. And I’m reading along and somewhere in the middle of it, he talks about self determination theory. And I thought, oh, we’re onto something, but so, so the one of the threes legs of that stool and self determination theory is what Aaron is talking about, but we strive for a connection for community.

And so you know, when you think about building strategy for your loyalty program or trying to activate communities of people, you may tell everyone that you have 40,000,000 people enrolled in your program, but how many people would consider themselves part of a community? And what we’re finding out now is that, you know what, if you were to really able to sit down with all 40 million people, they want connection. You’d find out that they’re looking for some way that you would reach out to them and make some sort of personal overture where they could respond and they can say, oh, you actually care about me. Oh, you have actually asked me like what matters to me. 

And it’s that sort of thing that we think it’s going to breed the next generation of loyalty programs. It’s, we understand the currency and the financials and the rewards and these things, but how do you how do you truly create the connections, the engagement? How about that emotional loyalty, that whole topic? Well, it starts from this community element, so. 

Paula: Amazing. Yeah. Yeah.

Aaron: I was pretty, I was a bit selfish, I will admit, against what we’re saying in service of picking self relatedness because it what we’re trying to build here off of, off the community that you have with your listeners of Let’s Talk Loyalty, which is really starting to create, you know, an extension of our Wiser Marketer and CLMP community that we have into your forum and that have them coalesce and come together.

Paula: Totally. 

Aaron: Right on the money in terms of self relatedness being around, you know, how you connect and with the communities that you interact in. But that, that starts to get us into something that’s, you know, very current in terms of this idea of purpose, being purpose led or purpose driven marketing. And there’s lots of conversations and examples that are out there. You know, whether it’s, you know, Pentagonia, Porker, Warby, Tom’s the list goes on and on. And we won’t go into that now. I think we’ll save that for you know, in terms of, of what you can expect. But those are the types of things that we’ll bring together as the examples of real brands who are delivering on these constructs.

But then also tie in our third party and, you know, collection. It’s, you know, the idea of triangulation, as the consultants would say, of breaking things from three different points and bringing them together to say, Hey, this idea of self determination is not just something that, you know, we took out of a, an academic book at one point, but actually people are delivering on. Here’s how they’re delivering on it. Oh, other people are talking about in other walks of life and coming together to bring those things to say, Hey, this is an important construct. That’s relevant to marketers and things you need to keep in mind. 

And I’ll just say one last thing in terms of and it’s a bit of a a tie in for us is, you know, if you think about purpose driven marketing, there’s a construct that’s being built up by one of our leaders in our loyalty community called Stakeholder Capitalism. And that idea of, you know, a consumer, you know, feels a keen sense of loyalty towards those companies where they’re all the priorities and all the communications are really purpose led and driven. And so they’re buying decisions actually then get influenced as a result of identifying to the value structure or and get that alignment.

And so that’s really, you know, the idea of self relatedness of how you connect with the community going beyond just the points in and the benefits mechanisms that exist as the tried and true. It gets into that emotive connection. And so, Ross, like, that’s important, but where can you find out more about Stakeholder in the WiseMarketer.com. We have an article on this that you can go and take a look and then read today. And if you go into search engine, you can find it and connect through. So that’s the type of thing that we’ll be talking about is making all these pulling things together to create a nice knitted quilt, if you will.

Paula: Absolutely. Yes. And we actually did a podcast about Stakeholder Capitalism with Phil as well. So we will make sure in the show notes that we link to your article and of course our podcast as well. So these are big ideas and honestly, you know, there aren’t enough people I think as yet that are having these really current up to date conversations with the latest minds and loyalty. So that’s absolutely, I think on both sides, what we’re here to do. 

And as I said, for me, this idea that you guys have this incredible repository of articles in written form, you’ve obviously got The Loyalty Academy content, which I certainly did on demand, of course, in video form with audio. But this is the first time that these ideas I think are being produced regularly in audio format. in that snackable way that you talked about, Aaron. So every single Tuesday, I think it’s going to be incredibly exciting for our audience to basically have access to your thinking about what any loyalty program manager needs to be focused on as we go, you know, of course, in terms of building excellence in our own programs.

So we’ve talked a lot about why The Wiser Loyalty Podcast series came about and exactly what people can expect. As we said, launching February 6th, 5 to 7 minutes. What we didn’t actually cover enough and I want to ask as a final question to each of you is just a little bit also of your own backgrounds personally. Because we’ve talked about the brands, we’ve talked about the group, we’ve talked about all of our various assets. But both of you do have incredible loyalty careers as practitioners yourself. 

So just to give people a sense of, you know, the expertise that they have access to in this podcast series, every Tuesday, Bill, I’ll come back to you first as CEO of The Wise Marketer Group. Tell us just as a final point, a bit about your loyalty career. So everybody can be super excited with your expertise. 

Bill: So it might surprise a few people, Paula, to know that most of my early experience in the business was outside the United States. And I think that’s inspired a lot of our vision for The Wise Marketer that we truly want to be a global publication and have a global voice.

I was working for VISA at the time and we somehow we had a product that was running co branded rewards programs for them. They call them VISA Member Banks if you remember those days before they changed their format a little bit, but we, I think Aaron has a similar story, but I traveled every country except for Bolivia and Honduras during a few year period, and we turned on co-branded rewards programs at a number of banks for VISA that were VISA issuers.

And along the way, we had the opportunity to participate in an RFP process that I thought we had no chance of winning. And then the next thing, you know, I’m in a car in Lima, Peru, driving around with people from shell and from owners of a Starbucks franchises and KFC. And we were putting the operational touches on a coalition program called Bonus and that program, believe it or not launched in 1998 is still operating today successfully.

Paula: Oh my goodness. Amazing!

Bill: So, players changed, but it’s still there. So I had all of that happened before I took a position with a North American company. So, I had sort of a different perspective. So, it’s always been a passion of mine, so I guess, yeah that’s one thing. The other thing I’d just say maybe, which is interesting to me, I don’t know if it is to anybody else, but I like to ask people how they found their way into the business because I, I had a finance background.. I’m not an agency guy. 

Paula: Totally. Me too. Yeah.

Bill: I admire agency people because they fill in a lot of my gaps, but, people come into this business from a lot of different places from finance banking you know, and then the payments business, because I was a VISA and interesting that we can all make our contributions from different origins.

Paula: We totally can, Bill. And I didn’t know the origin story of your career. So I’m finally, I’m only catching myself up now. So that’s incredible to hear. I certainly came in like everybody else kind of sideways from a digital marketing background. So, you know, there are always things that you can kind of see people who are I suppose, really excited about performance based marketing in, you know, in its broadest sense, to me, are attracted to loyalty marketing because, of course, of its measurability. 

Bill: Great. 

Paula: So, and the finance piece, of course, is always absolutely incredible. Aaron, how did you get into our industry? 

Aaron: Yeah, I see you both, and I raise you a little bit on the sidewaysness. So I’m a scientist by trade. I actually have a science degree. I have organic chemistries and nuclear physics, a combination out of. 

Paula: Holy Lord. Yeah. 

Aaron: And so the scientific method, if you think about it, is direct marketing 101. About measurability and then, you know, data driven marketing to make good decisions based upon the data that we have around information. So it’s you know, and it always was a good balance of, you know, that they could talk about that left brain, right brain thinking, and I know there’s different theories about whether that holds true today or not. But the point being analytical into the more creative and it was a good combination for me to be able to utilize that. So, that was kind of, the, how I evolved through to become a marketer. 

And, and for me, I mean, I’m out of Toronto, Canada, and as many people know in the industry, Canada is a hotbed of loyalty and has been for many years, particularly from the coalition construct of a number of them operating here and the rise now of a new form of partnership, in some instances. And so, you know, I’ve seen that over the course of 20 plus, you know, going close to 25 years now in the industry. 

And like Bill you know, I, although I’m out of Canada, one of my first forays in loyalty was quickly to go into the United States to try and work with a team to bring in the coalition construct down south. And obviously it was not successful as many people have tried and failed and tried and failed again in terms of that particular market. But from there went through a number of different organizations and I’ve had the opportunity in all of those organizations to actually be working on projects that were most often outside of Canada.

I have a strong basis in the US, but then when I went and joined AIMIA, that popped me into a whole new global realm in terms of the AIMIA Institute that I mentioned earlier, where we’re getting to knowledge based thinking and knowledge development that was really at a global level. And then further a little bit later with when I joined Bond Brand Marketing out of Canada here with the loyalty report, one of the, still one of the best reports that exists in my opinion, in the industry. Today and had the chance to, you know, lead that particular initiative for a while and deliver it on behalf of VISA and their partners. You know, through some 36 different countries. I think we were by the time that you know, we’d left. 

So, it’s really exciting to be able to talk and learn and think about the ways in which loyalty is applied differently in different. So it’s got a global consistency, but then a local regionality that is unique and has to be modified and adjusted for. And so to see large brands do those that fine walk between the global and the local is really fascinating to me. So a lot of the examples that you’ll probably hear from those experiences in terms of delivering insights around the program’s performance. 

Paula: Amazing. Well, I think our audience will have no doubts about the global expertise, a global perspective, and I suppose both did the finance and now the scientific insights as well. Genuinely, what I would say is that journalistic curiosity that, you know, you both have like in spades. So, you know, there’s that absolute passion to, to be curious, to notice what’s working and to share that, as you said earlier, as helpfully as possible.

So, you know, with all of that combined, the discipline of The Loyalty Academy and academia I think is going to prove to make an amazing content series. So from my side, as I said, I’m super excited to have you both working so closely with us every Tuesday. So that’s all of my kind of questions for today.

Bill, I’ll come back to you for any final words, any comments before we wrap up. 

Bill: I just want to underscore how excited we are to be doing this. You know, we’ve been working together since you launched your podcast, if I recall it pretty close, maybe shortly thereafter. We’re just really have the greatest respect for the, what you’ve built and, you know, the leadership, the volume that just the attention that it derives.

And the way I know this is true is that you and I were at if I’ll tell the story, if you don’t mind, we were at a conference together last year in Poland earlier in the year. And you and I were the only if I’m think so we were the only outside people invited to make some sort of presentation or appearance at this corporate event. And how many people there 500 or so? And you can say all the platitudes you want about Bill Hanifin, but Paul Thomas was the absolute rock star of the event.

You know, I, I kept having people shoved me out of the way to get a chance to say hello to you, so. So you’ve created something really great, all seriousness.

Paula: Thank you.

Bill: And and so we’re glad to be part of it. I think this will be a really fun series, series, and it’ll, I hope, be helpful and informative and fun for everybody. And I’m looking forward to comments and questions, challenges. This is what it’s all about, is to have the dialogue with everyone. 

Paula: A hundred percent. Thank you for that, Bill. Very kind words. And Aaron, any final thoughts from your side? 

Aaron: Just to say thank you to you for one of the nicest compliments that, that I always receive on a consistent basis. And you’ve done it here again, and I think it’s important as a, as kind of a a consistent element for what you can expect from Bill and I. Is that, that you talked about curiosity, right? My favorite question is why and Paul, you fall. This like the three of us are a good tribe in terms of this natural curiosity to seek understanding and to be open to ideas not invented here and to have a conversation about them in a humane way.

And so, you’ve created this platform and so I’ll build on that from Bill’s comments of saying, hey, there’s this is a great way for individuals to get insights into leading individuals from our industry and their thoughts and perspectives. And I know you’re going a bit further down to create a mechanism, which allows for people to have that two way feedback. And we’re excited to be able to be a part of that and to work with you to bring that into the series. 

I think that’s a key thing is, you know, we’ll, the first little bit we anticipate will be the ones maybe talking a bit too, but by the end, you know, the second or third month where our hope and goal is that we actually have a battery of thoughts and opinions that are coming back from people about what they want to talk about or what they want to learn about specifically. And hopefully we can help. 

Paula: Absolutely. Amazing. Okay, guys. Well, with all of that said, I think we’ve done a wonderful job of letting our audience know what to expect every Tuesday from from you particularly.As I said, The Wiser Loyalty podcast series is being a dream of mine for a number of months now since I first had this idea and I’m thrilled with where you’re planning to take it. So want to encourage everybody listening to make sure you listen in every single week. 

So with that said, Bill Hanifin and Aaron Dauphney from The Wise Marketer Group. Thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty. 

Aaron: Thanks, Paula. 

Bill: Thank you, Paula.

Paula: This show is sponsored by The Wise Marketer Group, publisher of The Wise Marketer. The premier digital customer loyalty marketing resource for industry relevant news, insights, and research. Wise Marketer Group also offers loyalty education and training globally through its Loyalty Academy which has certified nearly 900 marketers and executives in 49 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals.

For global coverage of customer engagement and loyalty, check out thewisemarketer.com and become a Wise Marketer or subscriber. Learn more about global loyalty education for individuals or corporate training programs at loyaltyacademy.org.

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty. If you’d like us to send you the latest shows each week, simply sign up for the Let’s Talk Loyalty newsletter on letstalkloyalty.com. And we’ll send our best episodes straight to your inbox. And don’t forget that you can follow Let’s Talk Loyalty on any of your favorite podcast platforms. And of course, we’d love for you to share your feedback and reviews. Thanks again for supporting the show.