#126: Loyalty Insights from Epsilon (Short Show Summary)

With a background running customer programmes and platforms for leading brands like Adidas and Nokia, Joseph Taylor is now a senior executive with Epsilon and in our discussion in early 2020, he shared some fascinating insights on loyalty trends and preferences around the world.

As the global pandemic became an increasing concern, we discussed how loyalty programmes were adapting their models to stay profitable and powerful, proving to be an even more critical tool for brands to build trust and relationships – beyond just transactions and rewards.

We also talked about the difference between transactional-style programmes and the newer emotionally-led propositions – what Epsilon calls “BIG L” loyalty versus “little l” loyalty!

Listen to this summary to learn more about these ideas and other insights from Joseph Taylor for loyalty program managers around the world.

Show Notes: 

1) Joseph Taylor, Senior Vice President Operations, Epsilon 

2) Loyalty Insights from Epsilon – full episode

Audio Transcript

Speaker 0 (0s):

Let’s Talk Loyalty is 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 for loyalty specialists around the world.

This episode is brought to you by Epsilon and their award-winning PeopleCloud loyalty solution.

I’m always delighted to have Epsilon on board as a sponsor, and particularly today, as they were just named a leader in the Forrester wave loyalty solutions, Q2 2021 report with the top score in the current offering category.

This report is designed to help you as marketeers find the perfect partner for your loyalty program. So to download your copy of the report, visit epsilon.com/letstalkloyalty.

Hello, welcome to today’s episode of let’s talk loyalty today’s show gave me the chance to listen back to my very first show with the senior executive from Epsilon, the first loyalty technology platform to partner with us here at let’s talk loyalty.

I’ve always believed that industry partners who are advising and building programs around the world are in a unique position to understand the latest industry trends. So in this episode, I was delighted to chat to Joseph Taylor, who is the senior vice president of international operations for Epsilon.

Joseph has a great loyalty background, including over 20 years international experience in everything from analytics to engineering, operations, and customer relationship management. Having worked client side for some leading brands, helped him realize that he wanted to work for Epsilon who impressed him hugely during an RFP, he was running for loyalty project for Adidas. Now that he is on the technology side, Joseph shared his thoughts on some of the challenges facing brands today, which is firstly, to find ways to differentiate themselves from competitors brands increasingly want to go beyond traditional point space programs to create a more experiential strategy and build emotional connections with their customers that their competitors will find hard to copy.

He also explained some of the ways that brands are competing in markets like China, by investing heavily in mobile experiences, typically integrating their loyalty propositions into many programs on the Chinese super apps such. We chat these programs, both everything from the brands, rewards, service and fulfillment, as well as payments.

This approach creates a truly exciting experience for customers because of the sheer connectivity of the super app ecosystems. But Joseph also emphasize the importance of local knowledge and how important it is for brands to work with experts who have experience in those markets and platforms.

Joseph learned this lesson during his time with Adidas whose loyalty program is now called the creators club. His role included launching the value proposition for Adidas in global markets, such as France, Germany, Brazil, Russia, and Japan, all of which helped him understand the importance of listening to local cultural differences in order to drive success. For instance, in Japan, consumers were much more interested in exclusive limited edition products and less interested in getting early access to sales or promotions. That service was much more important in markets like Brazil and Russia. Joseph then shared other key success factors. He has seen such as the importance of having the complete support of senior stakeholders in the business who believe in the loyalty program and sponsor it at both global and local levels. Given the complexity of loyalty initiatives, this senior internal support is essential to ensure that any program director can successfully manage issues like global data privacy regulations, whether it’s GDPR in Europe, CCPA in California, or the cybersecurity laws that China has brought in in recent years, Joseph has written some professional articles on this to help guide Epsilon clients led by the idea that effective privacy management can transform a loyalty program. This idea is based on three principles, respect, recognition, and protection. Firstly, the need for brands to respect their members, to be able to deliver on the value exchange through appropriate personalization, as well as the power of allowing members protect themselves and access their own data at any time they want to change it or change the permissions they may have given in the past by giving a member shared control of their data brands earn greater trust in a practical and respectful way. This approach would then create what Epsilon Kohl’s big L loyalty, a framework they use to distinguish between two types of programs, big L versus little L style loyalty programs, quite simply loyalty with a lowercase L means a traditional transactional points-based program that offers rewards in exchange for transactions.

By contrast loyalty with a capital L is when the brand has managed to create a more experiential loyalty program and an emotional connection with its members. Finally, as our conversation took place in May, 2020, of course, we then discussed how loyalty directors were beginning to react to the challenges of COVID-19, particularly in terms of loyalty program liability challenges. So Joseph shared that many Epsilon clients were implementing new features, such as auctions and sweepstakes to drive program engagement, but at a lower cost, some brands were also considering making changes to points, expiry dates, a difficult option to evaluate given the sensitivity of customers expectations and of course maintaining their trust while also maintaining program profitability, regardless of these complexities with so many challenges from marketeers, we agreed that loyalty programs are becoming an evermore effective way for brands to communicate with their best customers and build brand equity.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed this short summary of a very enjoyable conversation. If you’d like to listen to the episode in full, please do checkout let’s talk loyalty.com – it’s episode 33 with Joseph Taylor

This show is sponsored by the WiseMarketer – the world’s most popular source of loyalty marketing news insights and research.

The Wise Marketer also offers loyalty marketing training through its loyalty academy, which has already certified over 170 executives in 20 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals.

For more information, check out thewisemarketer.com and loyalty academy.org

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