#521: Unveiling Loyalty Insights with Amanda Cromhout, CEO & Founder of Truth

Join Carly Neubauer, Co-Founder of Elevate Loyalty, as she dives into a revealing discussion with Amanda Cromhout, the esteemed CEO and Founder of Truth. In this episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty, Carly and Amanda explore the latest findings from the Truth & BrandMapp Loyalty Whitepaper.

Amanda’s groundbreaking loyalty research study, sheds light on key insights, intriguing statistics, and emerging trends within the loyalty landscape. With Amanda’s extensive expertise and captivating insights, listeners are in for an enlightening journey through the world of customer loyalty.

Show Notes:

1) Amanda Cromhout

2) Truth

3) Truth & BrandMapp Loyalty Whitepaper

4) Carly Neubauer

5) Elevate Loyalty

Audio Transcript

Paula: Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m Paula Thomas, the Founder and CEO of Let’s Talk Loyalty, and also now, Loyalty TV. Today’s episode is hosted by Carly Neubauer, Co-founder and Director of Elevate Loyalty and Pay2Elevate, an Australian based company specializing in loyalty and incentive services, global rewards and digital payment technology.

If you work in loyalty marketing, you can watch our latest video interviews every Thursday on www.loyalty.tv. And of course, you can also listen to Let’s Talk Loyalty every Tuesday, every Wednesday, and every Thursday to learn the latest ideas from loyalty experts around the world. 

This show is brought to you by Comarch, a leader in customer engagement tools that help you forge meaningful connections and boost profits, leveraging over 10 years of utilizing AI technology from immersive loyalty programs to captivating marketing campaigns, Comarch help you deliver personalized experiences across every touch point, gather valuable insights, understand customer behavior, and watch your brand recognition soar. 

Don’t miss out on Comarch’s upcoming webinar, Top Loyalty Trends, Industry Specific Ideas 2024 on May 7th. Comarch – where innovation meets customer satisfaction. To learn more, visit comarch.com.

Carly: Hello and welcome to today’s episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty. My name is Carly Neubauer, and I’m the Co-founder and Director of Elevate Loyalty and Incentives and Loyalty Services company, specializing in global rewards and digital payment technology. 

Well, this woman needs no introduction on Let’s Talk Loyalty. I had the privilege of getting a sneak peek of her latest research study and discussing some of the key outtakes, interesting stats and trends that we’re seeing across the loyalty landscape. For anyone who doesn’t know Amanda Cromhout, she’s the CEO and Founder of Truth, a global consultancy based in Cape Town, also a Let’s Talk Loyalty host and a regular keynote speaker and loyalty trainer.

Amanda is the author of the book, Blind Loyalty, a book that radically simplifies the complex industry of customer loyalty and explains 101 loyalty concepts. Please enjoy my conversation with Amanda Cromhout.

Today is going to be really fun interviewing another host of Let’s Talk Loyalty, but also a privilege to get a chance to introduce to the world the latest industry research from the CEO and Founder of Truth, Amanda Cromhout. Welcome, Amanda. 

Amanda: Thanks, Carly. What a pleasure to chat to you. Awesome. 

Carly: Well, look, before we kick off with the full discussion and delving into your latest research, we both know how this works. We know the Let’s Talk Loyalty tradition. So we’re going to start this podcast with which is your favorite loyalty program?

Amanda: So I’m a little bit shameless when I answer this. So I did the same when I chatted to Paula recently, and I’m going to say Vodacom VodaBucks because it’s a great telco program here in South Africa and it’s expanding across Africa.

But one of the main reasons I’m so delighted with VodaBucks is they are a loyalty program with massive volumes of members and really supportive members. They must be active because Blind Loyalty Trust is one of their beneficiaries, and we benefit, the Trust benefits every month from the members of the VodaBucks program.

And it is changing the lives of individuals. So shamelessly, whether I personally love it, which I do versus other programs, but because of that reason and the leadership of the team there, what they’re doing to change the lives of individuals through the Trust is too close to my heart to even possibly mention another company.

Carly: Yeah. That completely makes sense. For those who may not know, can you tell us about Blind Loyalty and your book and the background here as well? 

Amanda: Yeah, so I think it can get a little bit confusing because the book I released last year, which Paula covered in Loyalty TV is called Blind Loyalty, 101 Loyalty Concepts Radically Simplified. So that is a loyalty book for anybody in the industry. It’s 101 chapters, two pages a chapter for anything you might possibly want to know about loyalty. 

But simultaneously we launched, well actually before the book was released that we created the Blind Loyalty Trust, which is a trust to help individuals who need eye care, but are seriously financially disadvantaged and can’t afford the medical care that they need.

And through that trust we’re able to bring back sight. Typically, it’s bringing back sight rather than we haven’t actually yet found individuals who’ve never had sight but we’re bringing back sight to individuals ranging from 14 years old through to 94. Last weekend we ran a surgery day in the rural South Africa, Eastern Cape, and 23 individuals within a day were able to see thanks to the Blind Loyalty trust, and I have to say it’s credit to the global loyalty industry because the whole industry has been behind us. The whole industry is supported so generously and I’m going to keep pushing that story to keep the industry with this because we are changing the lives of humans who deserve the dignity and privilege of sights, and we can do that together as an industry. So, I’m shamelessly punting that as well. 

Carly: As you should. I mean, the fact that this industry can do such amazing work and life changing work as well it’s phenomenal. And as you should absolutely continue to do so, and congratulations to you as well for driving this, for coming out with a concept, but also running it so solidly and making sure it’s such a global phenomenon now as well. So big congratulations. 

And I think we’ve discussed that part, but I’d love to also understand your background as well. So for anyone who may not know you, which I feel is crazy right now where did you start? How did you start? How did you end up in the loyalty industry? 

Amanda: So yeah, it’s really privileged Carly to start my career with British Airways. So as a graduate, I left university with a degree in Marketing and French and just knew I wanted to be in the business world, but I wasn’t sure what, so I did a graduate, as I said, a degree in Marketing with the French angle. And I always only wanted to work for British Airways and how on earth that ended up happening is just fantastic.

And I joined that grad program and from day one. I just ended up in the FFP environment. So from literally day one, I was running co branded card programs with a lot of the European banks with British Airways. And then it just progressed from there. So it was a four and a half year graduate program. I had the opportunity to work on amazing projects.

And one of the highlights of that was I was the project director of One World when it launched. So, you know, working with Qantas, Canadian, American BA and Cathay at the time, the founding members of One World. And that just like landed me in the heart of it. You know, we produce documents that make BRDs today, like a waiver, you know, it’s just, it was a brilliant experience.

So then I went on with British Airways to be in South Africa. I was the general manager for Southern Africa and that’s, really broadened my kind of ability to be just beyond loyalty, but I just kept getting drawn back into loyalty with the airline. So then I was an area marketing manager for Africa, Middle East, India that had all the executive club programs of those regions to manage with fantastic teams around the world.

And then eventually I left BA for personal reasons. I had emigrated back to South Africa. My husband’s South African. And I joined Woolworths South Africa, which is a premium retailer. It’s not like the Woolworths brands around the world. I don’t think it’s like Woolworths in your region. It’s not like Woolworths was in the UK. It’s very much a premium retailer, a bit like the Marks and Spencers brand from a sort of brand positioning point of view. And I ran their customer division, which was everything from the My School Program that’s been featured globally through to their own w rewards program, the data, the research, the financial services side of it and so on.

So that was then, and then that ended my corporate career, so to speak. I decided there and then after Woolworths to set up Truth. And I realized the market really had a gap for loyalty expertise and experience. So I set up Truth and straight away, I managed to be privileged enough to get involved in some brilliant programs locally, some big programs. And that’s the rest is history. Really. We’ve been running this very niche, Bespoke loyalty consultancy for 14 years now, and it ranges from consultancy and loyalty through to training and loyalty around the world. And yeah, I’m really privileged, you know, when people say, you know, you can wake up every day and love your work. I’m fortunate to be one of those individuals, so. 

Carly: And it really shows, I think, your passion and how much you love what you do. And that’s so important in this industry and in loyalty as well. It really drives the programs that you work on. And I’m sure your clients feel that too. 

Amanda: Yeah. Thanks, Carly. 

Carly: How did you come up with the idea then? And what drove you to move into developing a white paper and bringing to market your own version? 

Amanda: So all credit to the company we do this with. So it’s a company called Y5 who are the data research organization that produce an annual report called BrandMapp. So we call it The Truth and BrandMapp, South African Loyalty, white paper, their research name is much broader than loyalty.

So they approach the marketplace across potentially 230, 250 data points in a huge survey. 35,000 individuals they talk to, it’s really when I say talk to get completed survey responses from 35,000 individuals from anything and everything you’d like to know about consumer behavior. So they approached us via a mutual sort of business colleague and said, listen, we’re sitting on a lot of loyalty insights because we also ask about loyalty programs. Can we work together and do something about it? And obviously I was salivating, but so privileged to work with them. And, you know, that’s why we brand it Truth and BrandMapp. So we do all the writing. We do all of the insight work. And strategy behind it, but they provide the data and each year we work together to improve the questions to ask more probing questions.

But the loyalty questions are actually only 11 out of about 230 touch points. So for any, certainly South African brand that needs to know anything about consumer behavior, the BrandMapp study is there is nothing else as robust as this. So, so that’s how it started eight years ago. And we produced our first white paper.

We often laugh when we look at the evolution of the papers I feel they have improved, thank goodness, from a writing point of view and from an insights positioning point of view. But that’s how it goes, right? But the beauty of us being now in our eighth year is we have great longitudinal data. So you can pick up any one of the last couple of years. And you’ll see this trend analysis of how it’s changed over eight years. And BrandMapp also stressed that, how the economic environment has changed, so how loyalty programs change with it and so forth. 

So what I do love about the work we get from the white paper, or sorry, the discussions we have around the white paper is yes, there are data points that are relevant for South Africa and possibly South Africa only because it’s about South African brands or specific consumer behavior in the market. But what I particularly love about it is that broader insights are relevant for any industry and every industry around the world or market rather than industry. So it’s not just for the tip of Africa, you know, it’s like the data points are real. Yeah. Like lovely insights that we can apply to any market. And that’s particularly where I feel the white paper has got breadth. It’s whilst it’s South African data the strategic stories behind it have impacts elsewhere. 

Carly: Yeah, there’s absolutely no doubt having read through this and some of your key takeouts. There’s so many similarities and you can see where trends may definitely apply to other regions. We could definitely see that from an Australian point of view as well. So it’s, Without doubt, not just built for South Africa with when you mentioned that 35,000 odd respondents interviewed, how do they collect the data? Can you tell us a little bit about how the data is collected across this group?

Amanda: Yeah, so for this white paper and last year’s white paper, actually, or 20, end of 2022, we released the last one. There were actually, there was actually another company involved as well called Moya app. So a little bit about the South African population. So you’ve got a wealth line income line, and then below that you’ve got extreme mass markets sort of, below a wealth line, if that makes sense.

So the BrandMapp study reach is 35,000 people who own a household income, not individual income. So this will give you a sense of some of the salary brands we’re talking about. Household income of 10,000 rands per month, which is about $500. So that’s not a lot like, you know, you think about most advanced markets, like who has a household income of less than $500, US dollars. So the BrandMapp study skews towards that income bracket and above. 

So in the past, apart from the last few years, we’ve almost had a gap for the South African market of any consumer behavior below this 500 household income, which has a lot of relevance because the BrandMapp study reaches only 30 percent of the population. If you know, if you extrapolate the data into the population, but it’s 30 percent of the South African population, 100 percent of taxpayers and 85 percent of consumer spend. So we used to present it as this mark, this white paper represents 85 percent of consumer spend in South Africa. 

But there is an enormous population who owns below that’s the income bracket I mentioned. So Moya app is a data free led app that provides lots of services to more likely to be a mass market customer. So whilst the customer base may only represent 15 percent of consumer spend for the marketplace. It reaches a broader base of less wealthy individuals. So we refer to them through the white paper as mass market customers. And throughout the white paper, we refer to BrandMapp consumers or respondents as economically active. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but that’s the sort of definition. 

So back to your original question and the BrandMapp study, the BrandMapp study is collected through online questionnaires and over a period of time. So this data was collected and it came in towards the end of 2023. So that’s why we’re calling it a 2023 slash 4 white paper, because the data was actually collected in 23, even though we’ve only written and released it now in mid March for 2024. 

And then the Moya app, capability for research is outstanding. They have an app and they can push questionnaires out to its millions of users. And that’s how they have collected over 11,000 respondents or respondents to their survey. So we have actually much more than 35,000, we actually have 46,000 people have responded to this input into this data. So anyone in the world who understands research data quality can tell if you’ve got 46,000 people in the survey, that is solid. You know, you’re not looking at 200 people here. We’re talking about 46,000. So I’m extremely confident when we present this to the marketplace year on year that we’re presenting a very representative study of consumer behavior about loyalty programs. 

Carly: Yeah. There’s absolutely no doubt. Now, while we’re talking about that as well, can you tell me any of your key takeaways or any favorite stats that have come from this? Because I’m sure if anyone’s listening, they’re going to be very excited to understand, okay, what are the big takeouts that you and your favorites? 

Amanda: Yes, every year, the headline stat that comes out is the actual usage of loyalty programs. So the question that we ask isn’t which loyalty programs are you part of? It’s, or which loyalty cards do you have in your, either your digital or real wallet? But it’s actually which loyalty programs do you use? And how many of you use the programs? 

So the first response is 76%. Whether it’s BrandMapp or Moya app. So whether it’s a wealthier or less wealthier customer, 76 percent of South Africans use loyalty programs. I mean, that’s just massive and it’s gone up and up. And then a couple of years it dropped and then it’s gone back up again.

So it’s, we’ve seen growth over the eight years we’ve released this, but not huge growth. You know, it’s just been a an incremental growth. I always, when I have the opportunity to talk about this, I always say, which marketing campaigns, which marketing initiatives, which activities do you invest in, in your organization that gets a 76 percent engagement rate from your target audience?

Carly: Absolutely. 

Amanda: I mean, there aren’t any, I mean, there just aren’t any. So this market, you’ve heard myself and Paula discussed this before the South African market is properly mature. It’s like, South Africans love loyalty programs. They are using them. 76 percent of every South African wealthy, not wealthy or using them. And that doesn’t change by gender. 

So for the first year ever, we see that male and female is exactly the same. We see that wealthy, less wealthy is exactly the same. There’s a slight skew for the really wealthy, as expected, because they’ve got more disposable income, a slight positive skew on that.  The only demographic that skews away from that 76 percent is the youth. And every year we see, we define youth as the 18 to 25 year old age group. Every year we see that come in at a much lower level. 

Carly: That makes sense, right? 

Amanda: Because they don’t have the money. They’re either students or just starting. So if I think about my daughter, for example, she’s a student now. So she, because of me, is obsessed with loyalty programs. She’s like, mom, look at this, look what I’ve got. So she’s not the norm. Like most youngsters don’t really give a hoot. They’re just kind of getting on with life. Or if you’re starting out in a business, like you don’t have much disposable income when you start out in life, unless you’re very privileged with an income.

So, so the youth come in at 54 percent of that age bracket, 18 to 25 are using loyalty programs. There’s still growth there. It has increased year on year slightly, which is good. But they are the only demographic, whether it’s gender, income, or age, that skews below that 76%. 

Within that usage stats, we have another set of indicators of how many programs do they use. And this is what is most, potentially comparable to other marketplaces, because other studies I’ve seen, whether it’s from your home market or from the US or the UK, the questions tend to be how many programs are you part of, or how many programs do you hold the card off? So, we see for South Africa that 9.4 programs for the wealthier customer base is the average number of programs that they use. So for the wealthier, when I say wealthier, I’m talking about 500 dollars household income or more are using 9.4 programs actively. That’s a lot of programs. It’s not, I am a member of 9. 4. I’m using 9.4. 

Carly: Actively using it.

Amanda: Yeah. What is interesting is, as I said, 76 percent of all South Africans are using programs, but the wealthier customers are using double the amount of programs. So the mass market customers are only using 4.8 programs on average. So clearly less to spend, less repertoire of brands that they, can spend their limited disposable income in. So that is a big difference. So there’s no difference in the volume of consumers using programs, but there’s a big difference in the number of programs. And then females, as expected, use more programs than males. Yes, good for us. 

Carly: And I feel like that, that one seems to pop up in all regions, doesn’t it? 

Amanda: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And so it should, I mean, like, typically the, typically not, I’m not being too, um, sexist here, but typically the woman manages the household income in terms of how, not income, the household spend, forgive me.

So, but although we sit, we saw a flattening of that during COVID when the, there was a share of activities, right, across, we’re all working from home, so let’s all buy the groceries. It’s not just sitting with the females of the family. So yeah, so, so they’re my headline stats that there’s so much more detail in this white paper, but I can’t ever move away from those headline stats as that’s why we call them the headline stats. 

Carly: Yeah, that makes complete sense. 

Paula: 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.

Carly: Are there any particular deep dives that you, they participated in and you went into with the industry structure as well? So any particular industries that really stand out within the white paper? 

Amanda: Yeah. So year on year, we try to pick out some relevant stories of what came through in the data. So in previous years, we featured retail banking or we featured different like the health and beauty industry.

So this year we featured two industries, one more so than the other, but the first one is grocery retailing, which you may say, surely that’s obvious because the most heavily penetrated for loyalty, but actually in South Africa, there’s been some really interesting work done in grocery retailing, not just in loyalty, but in the whole customer experience, which I can chat through now.

And then the other industry we looked at as well as the fuel industry, because I’ll touch on fuel and then I’ll come back to grocery. The fuel industry in South Africa has been, is still and has been extremely heavily regulated from a price regulation point of view. So previously to the last three years fuel companies could only achieve a customer loyalty program via partners. So they’d partner with a bank or a retailer and say use us and you will get F&B eBucks or Clique Clubcard points or Discovery Miles. Or so you think about all the big South African brands. They all had a fuel partner to help the fuel partner. And typically the fuel company paid for those rewards because they were able to drive footfall to their forecourt via the partners.

What is, what has emerged in the last three years is proprietary fuel programs for the first time. They’re typically managing to get around some of the legislation through third party legalities behind the scenes, that’s a technicality, but we’ve managed to see four proprietary programs explode onto the market and doing really well.

Like I’ve, we’re looking at the stats that they’re being used, they’re being enjoyed by customers. So that’s great to see a whole industry emerge and see these new programs. And some of them are really typical as you’d expect, like, money back per liter or percentage off at the convenience store and others have actually come through with some surprise and delight gifts and different innovations. So we’re really enjoying watching that. We are involved in some fuel activity as well. So it’s great to be part of some of that industry change.

And then back to grocery. So your question about grocery. So obviously worldwide, everyone knows that kind of, if you think about retail loyalty history, it’s started probably, I think most of us reference the Tesco’s days, and there’s probably other activities that happened before Tesco’s launched Clubcard, but it’s no stranger for grocery retail to use loyalty programs.

But what we’ve seen in South Africa is an explosion onto the marketplace of the biggest grocery retailer in Africa, but which is named the Shoprite Group and Shoprite Group own many banners in the marketplace. But the two big banners are Shoprite for the mass market customer and Checkers for a wealthier customer. And again, when I say wealthier, I’m talking about this 500 dollar household income line. 

And they launched late. They came to the market very late, like three or four years ago, they started with Checkers just before COVID and then shop right in the middle of COVID. And they launched Extra Savings. And you’ll see from the results in the white paper, they have taken a couple of years to get this recognition, but they’re now the Checkers is the most used loyalty program for mass market for sorry, economically active customers.

And Shoprite is right at the top in terms of the most used mass markets, most used program by mass customers. So they’ve taken the first spot in this very competitive leaderboard with the Extra Savings program. It’s a very simple program, but highly impactful. So it’s a discount at store. Every, all the promotions through the store go through the Extra Savings. 

But what I think is more significant than their loyalty strategy, so obviously I’m never going to undermine the loyalty piece. But they have revolutionized the convenience delivery in South Africa through the Checkers Sixty60 app, they call it. So Sixty60 is an app that guarantees delivery in 60 minutes. And they have seen by the data we’ve seen through BrandMapp, an absolute explosion in the marketplace. They are dominating it. All the other grocery brands are doing this, but with less impact. 

I know personally that my own personal spenders shifted dramatically from a competitor brand into Checkers 60-60 because of the convenience. So that coupled with the Extra Savings program, they’ve also launched a subscription based program through Checkers Extra Savings as well. So, you know, if you use that program, you get free delivery. And if you’re using the app frequently, which could be daily, it’s a huge win. 

So, all credit to them of taking the last market, not quite last market. There’s a couple who’ve released since, or re-relaunched since, but pretty much last market entrance. But they’ve, the is classic statement of go big or go home. 

Carly: They’ve taken the market by storm. Well, it shows that the area really needed it as well, probably craving this. And they’ve not only come in late, but, really hit it on the mark as to what the consumers are looking for. And that usually stands out a lot in loyalty. Have we really got that original strategy right as well? 

Amanda: Well, that’s interesting. So definitely, but what the data shows, and I just want to share this. So often we as Loyalty practitioners have a discussion around, well, do consumers prefer instant gratification or a buildup of rewards? And I think the honest answer is we like both, right?

Carly: Always. 

Amanda: Exactly. So if we look at the data responses the BrandMapp study, so the slightly wealthier customer claims 45 percent want to be instantly rewarded for spend at a brand and 41 percent like to build up for big rewards. And then 47 percent like to do both. And those customers who like to do both, which might be confusing for a brand to say, well, how can we do both?

You either want one or the other, but no, if I think about my own behavior, I’m very happy to have a discount off at store, but I also like to build up for a flight reward. You know, so just folks that even really understand loyalty are likely to fall into that. I like to do both those customers who like to do both, of most demanding in terms of benefit requests, most demanding in terms of all of the aspects you can imagine they get the most pissed off of the points expire. All of those kind of questions that we ask, those customers are the most mature users. If you look at the Moya app data for the less wealthy customer, a much bigger proportion of customers prefer the instant grass, sorry, the buildup of points.

It’s a slightly different picture. We’re not seeing this sort of, we like to do both, but we also like instant gratification. They prefer a buildup of points, but yet all the grocery retailers that service the lower income customer are instant gratification. So the point I make in the white paper is, You are obviously doing well that we can see you’re doing well. It’s obvious in the results, but if you were to introduce something else to recognize this longer term loyalty, a buildup of points and an ability to save my points for festive season or back to school for school kids, clothings, or whatever it is, whatever the reward needs to be, you could do even better.

So these insights that come out. It’s amazing the insights that come out from BrandMapp and Moya app and us pulling it together in this white paper. I really hope the industry sees it and kind of goes, okay, we’re possibly we’re doing okay. We’re doing well, but we’re possibly missing a trick. What else can we do?

Carly: Yeah, that’s huge. I mean, that’s a, I know you said that these programs are only years old as such, but even a slight evolution to adapt to what the data is saying, that can be huge incremental growth. I mean, I’m looking forward to seeing next year’s in the case that they hopefully might address this and let’s see what happens in a year’s time.

Amanda: So there are a couple of programs that do both really successfully. So Click’s Clubcard for years has been in the top slot. So four out of the last eight white papers, they’ve been the most used loyalty program. When I say they’ve been, they’re no longer, Chequer’s literally is less than half a percentage point ahead of them. So I don’t want to knock Click’s office perched, but they are statistically number two, but they are like less than half a percent of South Africans behind Checkers. 

Carly: We can give it a draw, maybe. 

Amanda: Yeah, we, unfortunately we can’t, but yes, you’re right. It looks like a draw, but so Click is like a boots advantage program. So the Click Clubcard. It’s a brilliant program that rewards on points. So you get a base earn rate of 2 percent and then as you walk around the store, there’s lots of instant gratification. You’ll see for Clubcard members, only a three for two offer or 20 percent off or it’s endless. Like the store really hits you hard, just as Checkers does for Extra Savings members.

And that’s what I love about these programs is they are in your face in the store. But beautifully so, like it fits to the store, they’ve done it well, they’re not afraid of saying we’re invested in this loyalty program to bring you the benefits. So Clicks have managed the earn, build up of points and the instant gratification.

And Pick n Pay is also a huge grocery retailer here in South Africa, also has held the most used program for a few years, but the last couple of years Click has overtaken them and now Checkers. And Pick n Pay also offers the Smart Shopper program a build up of points and instant gratification. So, we just need, I think, for Pick n Pay to be more dominant in store so that members never forget their program is really beneficial.

Carly: In regards to how a loyalty practitioner might pick this up, and use this no matter where they are in the world. How do you see this helping the industry, but also individual practitioners who I’m sure will be wanting to read a lot of this insight.

Amanda: Yeah, thanks, Carly. So as I said, right at the start, a lot of this individual data about percentage of usage is relevant to South Africans. And there is a whole chapter on South African program sort of leaderboards, like who’s top of retail, who’s top of financial services. So I think that’s less relevant if you’re outside of the South African industry. 

But for loyalty practitioners, some of the other insights that we love in this white paper are things like, you know, why don’t consumers use loyalty programs? And those insights are relevant across the board. You know, that is not a South African issue. That’s a global issue. Why? Remember, I said 76 percent are using. So 24 percent saying, I’m not using. And so we asked them, well, why are you saying? 

Carly: Yeah, great question.

Amanda: So the kind of things that come out in that the top four reasons why consumers don’t use programs, the first one, if I look at BrandMapp and the Moya app, so across the board from a consumer spend point of view, is I don’t earn enough to get decent rewards. Like, it’s just not going to be worth the effort. 

And then the second one it takes too long to earn my rewards. So immediately, we pull that out as a insight to say, but guys, those of you running programs, what are you doing to help consumers get going in your program? Because folks are afraid to join. Don’t feel they’re going to earn enough. So we’ve the insights in the white paper are those you know, recommendations around non transactional rewards. How do you reward for engagement? How do you reward for refer a friend? How do you reward for sign up? So all the extra things that can benefit your brand over and above transactional behavior.

So we at Truth that we’ve always been a big fan of non transactional rewards. We feature it quite frequently in the white paper, but the data keeps shouting at us that we must, because it keeps saying there are consumers who are afraid of these programs because they don’t feel they’re ever going to get out of the starting blocks.

And then we talk about how do you just motivate from a consumer psychology point of view. So I referenced Yu Ping, Lou Tompkins, who’s from, who’s a partner of as that customer strategy network, and she’s a real expert in loyalty consumer psychology. And we say simple things like a stamp card. If you pre fill two of the stamp cards, but make it 12 stamps. So there’s still 10, people are going to get going faster. It’s so basic. It’s so simple us as loyalty practitioners, smile and laugh about it. Cause it’s like an age old joke, just pre fill it. But actually customers love that and they feel loved before you’ve even started.

Carly: That’s totally true. I think we fall for it as well, even if we are in the game. 

Amanda: Exactly.

Carly: We still do it. So I love those psychology drivers. Even I know it’s working on me. I’m like, I’m still going to this. So, yeah. 

Amanda: Yeah. I’ll fall for it, but it’s good. Yeah. The other thing we pull out questions around views on personal data security, so obviously legislation around the world is massive in every market. South Africa has a regulated environment to protect personal data, which is much better for the market than it used to be. So people do state they’re worried about the personal data security, but not hugely. So, like only the folks who said I don’t use loyalty programs, only between nine or 20 percent of those said that was an issue. So, you know, you’ve just got to be clear. You can address that upfront. 

Or another important point is that too hard to understand. So all of us who are driving loyalty program design, talk about the simplicity, you know, the title of my book is Radically Simplified Loyalty Concepts, you know, so we at Truth bang this drum very aggressively and the consumers are stating, don’t make it complicated for me. I can’t understand it. My life’s too busy to worry about a loyalty program rule. I actually feel the same if I’m outside of my workplace and I’m in my personal space. And I can’t understand this program instantly. I get so irritated, but then obviously turn it into a work challenge. But personally, I’ll probably disengage because I don’t have time.

Carly: Absolutely. Everyone has a million things going on. Don’t make this complicated to engage, right? 

Amanda: Yeah. And we asked, we, we ask another question around which of these loyalty program statements resonate as true for you? And the kind of questions we ask there are, I hate it when my points expire before I can use them, or I prefer personalized offers to general rewards, or whoops, I often allow my points to expire.

So there’s a series of like 10 point, 10 generic, almost emotional statements. We asked the through the survey and from there, that’s where we see things like about this, the points expiry or a little bit of indifference about tiering. South Africa doesn’t have a dom. It’s very dominated with tiers in the financial services programs, but the retail programs are not seeing tiering apart from Woolworths, which is a more premium retailer have tiering the rest. There’s nothing really tier wise. So the market is heavily dominated with tiering and financial services, but otherwise there’s not much response to that, but that’s in itself doesn’t mean it’s relevant just for South Africa. And then this point’s expiry, you know, that’s relevant for all of us around the world. So it’s those kinds of questions that the white paper pulls out that I’m hoping can offer broader insight.


And there is one killer question that I absolutely love in this white paper and it’s, if you could only choose one. So remember at the start we say, are you a loyalty program member? Do you use loyalty programs? Yes or no? And that’s 76%. And then we ask which of these programs do you use? And that gives us the leaderboard, which is very South African skewed. And that gives us the 9.4 or the 4.8 programs depending on income. But then we ask the both surveys ask the respondents to say, If you can only keep one, you can only keep one program. 

Carly: This is good. This is good. Okay. Can you tell us?

Amanda: What’s so interesting about this is, it’s different from which is your most used program. So the most used program obviously is an accumulation of how frequently do I use that program? 

Because therefore everybody’s going to say, I need groceries. So, as I said before, the top most used program for wealthy or less wealthy customers was either Checkers or Shoprite, right? Both grocery programs. And in the more wealthier customer, nine out of 10 of the top 10 were retail programs and only F&B, Ebucks broke the top 10. However, if you look at like, I can only keep one, it’s a very different story because then you’re forced to go. It’s not based on my footfall. It’s not based on my frequency of spend. It’s based on my real loyalty to this brand. 

Carly: That’s the emotion. Yeah.

Amanda: And it’s really, which brand is really bringing it home for me? And both surveys, so wealthier, less wealthier customer that’s leaderboard is topped by a non retailer. So for the wealthier economically active customer Discovery Vitality is the program consumers say they can’t live without. And I think that’s a well known program globally and deservedly so it’s an absolutely phenomenal program.

And then for the mass market consumer, it is another financial services brand. It’s Capitec Live Better and Capitec is a retail bank, has incredible footfall, has a very simple program that rewards its mass market consumers, but it isn’t limited to mass market, but obviously is appealing to mass market consumers. And when I spoke to Kelly, who runs that program, she just, she reiterates the simplicity of the program. Real cash back, just 19 million Capitec clients can save every day because of the program. 

Carly: Wow.

Amanda: So she’s very proud of the work they do. She’s very proud of how they’re changing the program to keep up with consumer demand.

So what I love about this is we’re saying, yes, which programs are relevant for your everyday lifestyle, but if you can only keep one emotionally. Which one would it be like, put your money where your mouth is, which one would it be? We see a different story. 

Carly: It’s totally great. And I love this, you know, choose your absolute favorite. If you were, you know, gun to your head, which one is it sort of thing? Fabulous. Fabulous. That’s a huge insight. And thanks for sharing it with us. 

So before we do close out this discussion, and I’ve no doubt people will be very keen to get their hands on your research, can we go back to you for a moment and talk a little bit about your business and your background and yourself? Because I think that’s really important. And you’ve got such a long term breadth of knowledge here as well. If we, if I was to ask you to, what are you most proud of in your career to date? What would that be? 

Amanda: The Trust, the Blind Loyalty Trust. The reason it’s obviously such a personal story. Like I think folks who know me know the personal story. So those who don’t know it’s in two seconds, I was struck by a three month terrifying illness that left me temporarily blind in one eye. And then I had to wear an eye patch for the 12 months in between surgeries. And I didn’t know if I was going to resume sight, if I had to have a glass eye or, but I always had sight in one eye, right?

So I’d never was blind. And that’s the realization I now face. The positive realization that I was always fine, but it was just terrifying. So what I love about the Trust is several things. Number one, I put all credit to the Truth team because The Blind Loyalty Trust does not employ a single human. So the a hundred percent minus just financial banking costs and legal costs that we had to pay to set up the Trust. Other than that, a hundred percent of the profit of the money that comes in goes to the beneficiaries. So any organization that’s involved in Blind Loyalty Trust knows that it’s not being, you know, most charities have 50 percent running costs. We have zero running costs apart from a little bit of banking fees. 

So a hundred percent of money goes towards changing individuals lives, and that’s only possible because the Truth Team have, we’ve made this part of our brand proposition to help to make the Blind Loyalty Trust work. So whether it’s all that admin of which there is a lot to run a charity or whether it’s the marketing or whether it’s so I tend to deal with obviously the PR side, because just because I’ve got that relationship on LinkedIn and so forth and three, Let’s Talk Loyalty and so forth. But the team behind that produce everything is the Truth team. And I’m so proud that suddenly I’ve always loved what we do through Truth. I always love the work we do with our clients, but now we do it with purpose.

So we still are a bespoke consultancy and I hope delivering brilliant work for our clients. Only our can give us that feedback, but what we do now is done with impact and I’m a little bit shameless in on every customer engagement, client’s engagement. I’ll say, if you’d like to buy a book, a hundred percent of the profits go to the Trust.

I’m not, I didn’t write the book to make, you don’t, I don’t think anyone who’s written a book makes money , unless you’re write it like a series of books. So the money goes to the trust. We sell our blind naughty bracelets that the industry has supported. It just, and the industry has really gotten behind it. And I am so grateful to that and I will continue that story, but I never ask for money. We never go out and say, can you give us money? Some organizations do for which we’re incredibly grateful, but we just say, can we help serve your loyalty needs better? And can we be a, can you, is part of your corporate event, you know, why didn’t you have a CSI beneficiary rather than, or what, if you’re going to give something away, give away a book or a bracelet, because then you’re supporting a good cause and we are changing people’s lives.

So my job is not to be the Blind Loyalty Trust person and not do Truth. They go together. And Truth should not be less of it’s loyalty, excellence and consultancy because of it’s the same organization. We’re just managing to do both at the same time. Yeah. And you know, there are times when we’re so busy, the team, I’m sure just kind of look at me and go like, what the hell we’ve still got so much work to do, what we’ve got to do. But they go together and it’s so much more meaningful. 

Carly: It makes so much sense in such terms. 

Amanda: So thanks for asking that question, because it is a deeply personal question, but also a very much a professional response in terms of what Truth can do with our own team, but also what the industry can do without changing their behavior.

We’re just asking you to think differently. The other big income for the Trust, which is making the biggest differences, loyalty programs using the Trust as a beneficiary. So that’s one of our biggest incomes. So that doesn’t even require anyone to do anything differently other than put our logo there and switch funds.

So that is an appeal to the industry to say, If you love what we do, then could we be a beneficiary of your charity option in your loyalty program? And you personally, whoever makes that decision in an organization, can know that this last weekend, 23 individuals regained their sight because of that kind of decision. And that won’t stop. We’re going to keep doing that. 

Carly: I love that. And this is really loyalty, making an actual real change in the world. And yes, we can all be loyalty practitioners and driving business and developing great programs for consumers and members, but this goes to the core of what are we really doing well and for purpose in the world. So I absolutely adore what you’re doing and congratulations to you and the team. It’s phenomenal. No doubt. You’ve worked long hours to bring this up. Sure. 

Amanda: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. 

Carly: Well, a big thank you for talking with me today. I have no doubt this is going to be very exciting for people to listen to as well. Along with getting their hands on the actual research and reading in full, because there’s some huge takeouts here for South Africa, but also globally and some real relevance across the world as well. So a massive thank you to you, Amanda. 

Amanda: Pleasure. Thanks, Carly. Thanks for the opportunity on your show. It’s great to chat as always. Thank you. 

Paula: This show is brought to you by the Australian Loyalty Association, the leading organization for loyalty networking and education in the Asia Pacific region. Their Asia Pacific Loyalty Conference will take place on the 7th and 8th of August this year at the Gold Coast, Australia with over 350 guests in attendance, including yours truly from Let’s Talk Loyalty. I can’t wait to meet so many loyalty experts from the Asia Pacific region in person. 

Register now to hear global experts discuss current trends in loyalty marketing. There will be fantastic networking opportunities, hosted drinks and dinners, appointment bookings, competitions, and great prizes to be won. 

Visit australianloyaltyassociation.com to find out more.

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