#546: Loyalty TV LIVE with Mastercard - Influencing and Winning Loyalty in an Age of Choice

This episode is also available in video format on www.Loyalty.TV.

Mastercard recently hosted its latest Excellence in Customer Engagement Summit in Dubai, and Loyalty TV was delighted to attend.

Against the backdrop of market uncertainties and a rapidly evolving consumer landscape, this Summit brought together industry experts and thought leaders to discuss perspectives and share success stories on how organizations can win over the consumers of today and tomorrow.

As our first “Loyalty TV Live” event, Paula Thomas hosted a panel entitled “Influencing and Winning Loyalty in an Age of Choice” featuring Jill Moser, SVP, Global Loyalty, Offers at Mastercard, as well as Murat Ungun, Chief Executive Officer at Kudu Company for Food and Catering, for an engaging session on loyalty.

Topics include:

  • Rethinking customer loyalty and loyalty programs in 2024
  • Transforming customer loyalty with emerging technology
  • Balancing act between digital innovation and customer trust

This event was co-created by the Loyalty TV team together with Mastercard. For more information about the product or services discussed please contact the Mastercard team at mastercardservices.com

Show notes:

1) Mastercard

2) Jill Moser

3) Kudu Company for Food and Catering

4) Murat Ungun

5) mastercardservices.com

6) Influencing and winning loyalty in an age of choice – Slide Deck

7) Watch the full interview episode at www.Loyalty.TV

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. 

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Hello and welcome to this episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty and Loyalty TV, which is a little different to our usual format. Our friends in MasterCard recently hosted their first Excellence in Customer Engagement Summit here in Dubai, and I was delighted to attend. This summit was designed to bring together industry experts to discuss ideas and share success stories on how organizations can win consumers of today and tomorrow.

I hosted a panel entitled Influencing and Winning Loyalty in an Age of Choice. And I was delighted to be joined by Jill Moser, SVP Global Loyalty Offers at Mastercard. As well as Murat Ungun, Chief Executive Officer at Kudu Company for food and catering based in Saudi Arabia. And we had a great session on loyalty.

As part of our partnership with MasterCard, we were delighted to take that opportunity to co-create the very first live Loyalty TV event for the very first time. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Thank you so much guys. It is an absolute joy and pleasure to be here today. We have published more than 500 podcasts about loyalty, but it’s our very first time recording Loyalty TV with a live audience. So I’m absolutely thrilled and thank you for your attention. 

I wanted to start, I suppose, at the very beginning to keep things nice and simple for the audience. And I want to talk first and foremost about a definition of loyalty. Because I think if we’re going to talk about how to achieve it, we should understand exactly what it is. So the definition that I learned when I started was one about driving profitable behavior change and that has become my North star and I really find it useful to take all my activities back to that single minded intention.

So to get started, I’m going to ask Jill Moser, first of all, welcome. And would you please tell our audience your definition of loyalty marketing? 

Jill: Sure. So I think loyalty, you have to think about it, but it is not as simple as a reward. It’s not as simple as a point that you can give out or a point system. It has to be an outcome. It has to be something that you’re going towards. You don’t achieve loyalty transactionally, one transaction at a time, it takes a long series of transactions and experiences for customers to really feel that value. And if you’re providing utility, convenience value to the customer, you achieve that stickiness, which becomes loyalty.

Paula: Indeed. Absolutely. Yeah. From my perspective, again, we didn’t call the podcast Let’s Talk Loyalty programs. We wanted to talk about that emotion. So emotions come up a lot today. It is absolutely an outcome, Jill. So thank you for that. Murat, you’ve flown in from Saudi Arabia, yeah? 

Murat: Yes, thank you for the invitation to MasterCard, the company, and the colleagues that we have been working together for some time. So just let me give you a little bit of information about who Kudu is. 

Paula: Okay.

Murat: So Kudu is a 36 year old young quick service restaurant chain. So we have around 350 restaurants all in Saudi. And we have plans to go international, hopefully you will see some stores in UAE even soon, hopefully. And we are just scratching the surface and taking the baby steps. When it comes to loyalty, we just started our loyalty program four months ago, and I’m here to share some of our experiences and some of our expectations with you. 

Saudi is a big market, 37 million people and 95 billion rials of eating out market. And 65 billion of that 95 billion is coming from the QSR restaurant sector. And we are as Kudu is almost around two percent of the market with our 350 restaurants. And there are more than 16 – 17, 000 restaurants, so you can imagine the complexity and the competition in the market and going out to a restaurant and dining in a restaurant is the way of socializing it.

So you just want to be unique. You just want to give something interesting, something valuable to your customers in this very competitive environment is just a challenge on its own. So, when it comes to the loyalty at the end of the day, you need to be, first of all, in the top of the mind awareness top of the mind of the customers when it comes to the awareness.

So you build a restaurant, you put the equipment, you put the team, train the team, and then you start selling the the products, the sandwiches that you have, and then you need to be known by the customer and recognized by the customer. So when you take the customer journey from the funnels, so first is the awareness, and then it goes to the consideration, and then you need to induce the trial, so they need to come and try you, and then I think the loyalty kicks somewhere there, for the repeat purchases. 

So you need to give them something extra and the loyalty, when it comes to a kind of a definition, I would define it kind of a mutual beneficiary exchange of value to be able to exchange something, that value first, you need to create that value and then you need to exchange it in a fair way for both parties. So that’s definitely, transactional relationship definitely is there. Because you want your customers to come and buy something more from you to create a certain value. However, you need to keep, you need to keep giving them something back accordingly at a fair level.

So, and today, maybe we will discuss this further in the later stages. But today, that transactional value is not sufficient. That needs to be something more for customers to become a brand advocate. There are some emotional factors in it coming in. So that would be our definition of loyalty in general.

Paula: Thank you so much, Murat. Yeah. I think what I said to you a few minutes ago, actually, when we were just chatting was, I feel as an industry, we need more C suite perspectives on loyalty. I think as loyalty marketing professionals, we talk a lot about the same topics. But at the end of the day, you’re making the investment decision. So really important that we understand your needs, your pain points and your priorities. So thank you for that explanation. 

So I want to talk about how do we start? Yeah, I think in preparation for today, we talked about a couple of values that are specifically important. We’re going to see how they came to reality for Kudu, but particularly the idea of simplicity. And I think authenticity in this day and age are non negotiable. First of all, if it’s not simple, we totally confuse everybody and they’re just not going to engage. And of course the authenticity is something we’ve seen coming very strong. 

So Jill, you have access to, again, all of MasterCard’s expertise, all of the clients and the research. So will you talk to us about why are simplicity and authenticity so important from your perspective? 

Jill: Sure. So, you know, we have decades of experience and running loyalty programs. We’re actually running over a thousand loyalty programs in many dozens of markets around the world. And keeping it simple is so important.

As you mentioned, if you don’t want to make it boring, but at the same time, you need to make sure that someone doesn’t need to brush up on their algebra to be able to figure out you know, what they’re going to receive as a part of that loyalty you know, program and experience. But as part of keeping it simple I think the most important thing is to remember you can’t set it and forget it.

Like, there’s no option for that. Just completely remove that off the table. Customers want flexibility, they want convenience, they want to feel like you know them, like you understand them. And to do that well, you really need a lot of personalization, you need to understand what are the various different options that we need to be able to be prepared, to provide and to present to a customer to receive that really great value at the end of the day. That is just so incredibly important to making sure that it is you know, well received for what that looks like. 

You know, I think a good example of that we just recently signed a partnership or within the last year with Expedia. And as part of that, you can think about programs that we run where you want to be able to tell a customer that maybe we’ve understood because there’s a certain signal that indicates they might be considering travel.

So how do we tell the customer, here’s a way that you can earn when you book your travel. But also have an ability to say, we’re going to be able to save you money when you do that, as well as you’re going to be able to burn some of those points that you earned on that travel experience. And then on top of that, maybe you get access to a lounge benefit or something else.

So it’s really kind of stitching that all together. I think that’s something of saying, Hey, it may not seem simple on the surface, but to a customer it is. It’s a wow factor all along the way. 

Paula: Indeed. Absolutely. And I think you’re absolutely right, Jill. You know, everybody thinks set it and forget it, you know, maybe naively before they’ve ever run a loyalty program, but I’m sure Murat’s going to tell us exactly the opposite. So it’s almost like the hard work begins after you get launched. So the strategy and the design and all of that clever thinking to, to build something compelling is amazing. But at the end of the day, yes, it’s the execution and then the deliverables. 

So, Murat, I know you’ve been working with MasterCard to build the Kudu program. I know it’s a very new program.

Murat: Yes.

Paula: And I know these values also, simplicity and authenticity are very personally important to you. So I know you have some slides, we’d love to see what you’ve built, and if you could talk us through the loyalty program that you’ve just launched. 

Murat: Definitely. So what makes it authentic is definitely a very good question. And when you think about the shifting customer expectations, especially with the younger generations, be it the Gen Z or the modern customer expectations, let’s say so, they are really getting interesting. 

So, for example, younger generation wants to indulge. They like saucy products, etc. And they like to take a picture of the products. And once they like it through the technology it is widespread immediately. If they don’t like it, anything, it’s also widespread. So, and if they like the product, no matter what the price, they like to buy it, etc. So things are changing. So to that angle, even we are a 36 years old company, it has been only four months for us to introduce our loyalty program.

And we, as I told you, we are just scratching the surface and we are learning green and learning. I’m a student of the loyalty at the same time. I just brought some slides just showing our soft launch. We just soft launch our program. So, the, we have an application, of course, like any other restaurant chain says, and this has become a core of our application, our rewards program, Kudu Rewards.

So, we have already issued quite a number of points that is an equivalent of 1.5 million SAR, which is a very small amount, but it is extremely encouraging amount since the beginning, we are going to launch some campaigns very soon. This is just one example.

So if you buy a combo with an ice cream, for example, you get extra points. This is some kind of tutorials that we have post in the social media just to try to make customers, our customers get used to how to use it. What are the advantages? We are putting some communication material in our restaurants just to start increasing the awareness around it. Our drive thru systems also all equipped with the rewards program. And soon we are going to start our big launch at the end of this month. We will be on all outdoor. We will be on social media and we have prepared really fantastic videos with some music some jingles, and then we will ask our customers to find the special codes in those short videos and get extra loyalty points with these special codes, for example, so we are extremely excited about it.

It’s just a matter of giving some unique experience, giving something more as much as we can to our customers to really make them coming more and more. And to that angle, of course MasterCard has been a great partner to us so far. So, I’m not saying this for just to make a compliment, but I say it from the heart. So everything so far has worked really well. So I think we have clicked very nicely. 

Paula: Amazing. Yeah. I think it was mentioned even earlier in the day that MasterCard is so well known as a payments brand, but not always as a loyalty partner. And I think one of your colleagues said it to me on the podcast, even it’s almost like MasterCard loyalty is the world’s best secret. So we’re here to make sure that you guys all get that inside track. So, so thank you for all of that. 

I want to talk about now data driven strategies for loyalty. When I think about the history of loyalty it goes back about a hundred years, in fact, starting with stamps, I suppose, as the non data version of at least rewarding people for their behavior.

But I think in the last couple of decades, we’ve all realized that it’s really important to have that data driven and scalable strategy. Easy to say, not easy to do. We have a number of strategies I want to talk through today and Jill, I’m going to start with you. Personalization is one, obviously engagement as a strategy is critical and measurement. So would you speak to personalization first? First of all, Jill, how important is that in the design and execution of the loyalty propositions?

Jill: It’s critically important. You know, personalization. Customers regularly say when we do research that they expect for every day, every time we do this, the measurement goes up. Customers expect you to be more personalized than you were yesterday.

Paula: Yeah. 

Jill: And so, we’re living in a hyper personalized environment and so we can’t get away from it. We have to lean into that and you have to have really great data strategies to be able to do just that customers expect optionality. They expect you to treat them differently based on who they are. They want to know that, you know, them they’re willing to share data with you if you prove to them that you’re going to use it wisely. Right? That you’re going to give them something in return of value. And so it is just hyper critical that you get it right. 

To do that well, you have to be really good at data. I’m lucky to be with MasterCard. Obviously, we know a thing or two about having large data models and data sets. And so, you know, taking in zero party data, first party data, and really maximizing what that looks like. We have very advanced propensity modeling to help predict redemptions, to help understand what customers are seeking, how they’re interacting within you know, a digital experience and what we need to put in front of them next. So the next best outcome on what that what that might look like for a customer. 

And so, you know, we say smarter decisions, better outcomes at MasterCard. And I think we prove that through utilizing that very data. It goes beyond the ROI. The ROI  is super critical to continue to test. We learned a lot about test and learn and how do you just continuously evaluate, not just that moment in time, but a larger picture of what a customer looks like and what’s happening over time to drive that incrementality, the incremental spend, the incremental traffic, foot traffic incremental transactions, and you know, whatever, maybe it’s increased basket size.

So, you know, really helping to understand what do you need to do for the customer? None of that is possible, or I guess I shouldn’t say none of it because we used to do this 20 years ago, right? Before AI was prevalent. But you know, it took a lot longer, right? You, it was back office. It was the, your teams really, you know, hammering over data and you’d make a decision.

And then six months later you would roll something out and now the machines are doing it within, you know, milliseconds. So very cool, very exciting time to be able to see how to do just that and how critical it is. 

Paula: It is. Yeah. And I want to pick up on one point you mentioned, Jill, because it’s something that I feel is doesn’t get enough air time, and it’s about capturing data, but using it for the benefit of your customers. Because I think historically it might have been seen that the loyalty program was a data collection exercise for the benefit of the organization, understand their customer profiling, perhaps. But then it wasn’t used in a way that the customer got to enjoy.

I regularly talk about my birthday, which, you know, when it comes around every year, you know, I’m evaluating all of the loyalty offers that are being sent to me because I know the data that I’ve supplied. So I think you’re absolutely right to focus on personalizing based on what that member has told you about themselves. So it has to be the value exchange, which Murat mentioned earlier. 

So, the next principle I want to talk about is engagement. Murat, I’m going to come to you to talk about this. Again, as you said, you’ve only done your soft launch at the moment, but in terms of engaging with your customers, you’ve already, of course, talked about the importance of having a great product, understanding exactly what flavors and menu options are in place, but in this hyper competitive industry that you’re in, how are you engaging with these people who are joining up with your program?

Murat: So the loyalty program that we have started giving us fantastic features. Before, we were running a promotion and then we were able to see the results after we run it. And those results were very simple results. What is the, what was the product mix and what is the new product mix? The new product that we have introduced cannibalized from which segments? But you were seeing this much later. Yes, some group of customers were buying, but who are they? Who were they? We didn’t know anything about it. Right now we are able to reach to that data rather than making some mass type of promotions. So now we are more able to first of all, understand the data and analyze the data. And then, this is a real time data, by the way, we have a dashboard and you can see many metrics over there and then you can take immediate actions to further personalize those offers as much as we can. 

And one speaker has mentioned that personalization might not be individual. So it can be certain segments, certain cohorts, definitely. However, as long as you have this real time data that you can dive into, so, you implement immediate actions and you see the results immediately. So this is a extremely engaging relationship with the consumer customer, and then, and then that gives you an extremely advantageous position when it comes to your dealing with the consumer.

So, other than that is test and learn. Rupert has mentioned there was a great panel about it. So that also gives us a test and learn ability. For example, there were lots of discussions, whether we should 10 percent discount to our customers once they log into our system, registering our system or 20 or 30. Oh 30 is too much. Why not 20? We said that, okay, why don’t we test and learn? We put 30 percent and then we immediately started to see the results. 15 percent increase in the loyalty related transactions, et cetera. So this is, this has been fantastic. Now we can do all of the above which is very important element.

We are also implementing AB testing, for example. So we are taking certain group of customers, divining into two standard offers. Different offers and see how the difference in between. So, it’s at the end the day, it’s fun definitely and very much engaging tool with your customers as long as you are able to give them a unique proposition, unique offer. And it doesn’t necessarily be a discount or it can be as you said, remembering your child’s birthday and offering him a great value for the birthday party in her house, for example or giving some priority when it comes to buying concert tickets for the Platinum Tier members. For example, there’s a Middle East fantastic concert happening every year in Saudi. So, why not ask to give our Platinum customers a certain discount or priority getting the best tickets from the system? So it’s not all transactional that, that really connects you with some other attributes. So on the emotional basis as well. 

Paula: Amazing. Thank you. And I can hear coming through and everything you’re talking about more ads, the importance of measurement. Jill, you’ve already briefly alluded to us to it, but will you talk to us about measurement and return on investment? Honestly to me it’s the, it can be something that’s quite difficult to prove, that incrementality. But how is Mastercard thinking about measurement of loyalty program performances for all of your clients?

Jill: Sure. So, KPIs in general are critical to any program. Setting them and understanding how are we going to prove success and then learning from them quickly so that you can pivot and you know, ensure that you’re deploying the best practices associated with, with any sort of measurement tool on what that you know, what the program is delivering ultimately for the program that we’re running.

I think you know, over time we determine different strategies will provide different ROI, right? It all is based on what are the goals of the program, of the brand, of, you know, the customer base that we’re trying to achieve. Even if it’s you know, a slight incremental increments, you know, each, you know, quarter we celebrate that positive success that we see along the lines. When we are running those types of programs.

You know, one one way I think when we start to think about you know the future and what that looks like for us. I think we will see into the future. We’ll see a you know a movement for more people using personalized card linked offers. The that particular tool and the tool belt is becoming, going to become a lot more important for brands as they, you know, realize that they cannot any longer recognize and, you know, get the third party attribution from cookies. So cookies are being phased out and all of that digital ad spend going to the digital giants, you know, merchants are going to start questioning where is the attribution? And you know, what tools can I use to ensure that I have an attributable channel that will drive really high return on ad spend?

And so I think those two things together really marrying up what is the best channel for me to use and how do we learn quickly? What do I need to provide to create a really great, efficient use of my spend to drive the best result is going to really achieve the greatest benefit for brands. 

Paula: I love that. Absolutely. Especially the speed of measurement, because at the end of the day, we don’t want to wait a month to see what’s actually working and what’s not. 

Jill: Absolutely.

Paula: So, and thank you for touching on some of those others. I liked the word celebrate that you used in terms of finding anything that’s performing. And I loved the word earlier about exuberance. So to me, that’s, again, something that happens at this part of the world. We do celebrate, we do have exuberance and particularly when we find something that’s working. 

So let’s talk about the future. We don’t have much time left. Unfortunately, I feel like we could talk for an hour together, but more out in terms of technology you have, I suppose, a very youthful demographic. They’re probably looking at all the cool stuff that’s going on in the world, you know, I think we’ve all fallen in and out of love with things like, you know, blockchain, NFTs, AI. What do you think just short and sweet is the most important emerging technology for emerging demographics? 

Murat: Sure. We are a restaurant and we are supposed to cook sandwiches. We are still doing it. However, we all become technologists. So, you know, the digital marketing and everything, so it’s all about technology at the end of the day. So, it will be tech driven for sure. The consumer insights, real time data analysis, personalization through those elements is the key, definitely.

So the program should be compatible with the technology that you are using. For example, we have just plug and play the session and MasterCard program immediately to our POS systems, to our back of the house systems. So that should be that is an important element. AI saving is definitely AI and there is no question about it. You need to use the AI. Of course the consumer insights are the key, the focus of the program. So this is very high level, I can say immediately. 

Paula: Perfect. Absolutely, Murat. And Jill, you’ve mentioned card linked offers. Do you want to give us a very short, just definition of that, and then any commentary about future technology that you’re excited about, again, for emerging generations?

Jill: Sure. So, a card linked offer is when a customer can link. their payment vehicles so they can link their you know, MasterCard. And once they have linked their MasterCard, we can then personalize and provide presentation of merchant brands to customers based on that transactional history, based on what we understand from the customer, their behaviors.

All of the AI that we’ve talked about in the propensity modeling. So it’s a win-win,  both on the merchant side for the merchant to be able to target customers that will provide that incremental ROI for them as well as for the customer because the customer is receiving great value on the other end.

As it relates to you know, gen AI and, you know, additional things that might be coming into the future, I think what we’ll see in the future really is related to what we’re doing right now. And how well that performs. And so, on the notion that we have to continuously be able to pivot. We shouldn’t set it and forget it. We shouldn’t, you know, go all in on a particular program. I think we’ll see more loyalty light type engagements from brands where they’re trying different things and figuring out what works being in the moment for the customer, but then continuing on that life cycle.

Paula: That’s amazing. Loyalty, light, brilliant, great stuff. We literally have one minute left. I don’t know if we want to go to Q and A. I know there is a QR code that’s available if there are any questions for the panel. I’ll give it a second to come up there. Does anyone have any questions, either for Jill or Murat?

There was some earlier, of course, that came up about loyalty in general, so I do feel that there’s a lot of appetite in the room. Do we have any burning questions? Oh, here we go. Let’s have a look. Thank you for whoever’s posted these boats for more out at the moment. Have you seen different types of customers changing their behavior due to the loyalty program?

Murat: We definitely did. Especially we started to understand what is the younger customers expectations, and we have devised some new products to them and we have put some offers around those products and they have shown great interest. We just launched a new product called Mutalata. Mutalata means triangle and our logo is a triangle at the same time.

So, we have seen enormous increase in our sales and these were additional sales at the same time. So once you really design something according to the customer expectations and run it through the systems, you really get the benefit out of it. 

Paula: Great. And the second one then, Murat, are you using any data points to enrich your loyalty and personalization capabilities?

Murat: This is a bit of a technical question. However, definitely, as I mentioned, you, we have a dashboards right now in our loyalty program and we are following live information data from there. And based on these data, we are making our decisions accordingly. So, in different touch points be it our website, be it in our application or restaurant POS related systems. So that, that gives us the ability, definitely. 

Paula: Amazing. Okay. I think we’ll end there. So Murat Ungun from Kudu and Jill Moser from MasterCard. Thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty and Loyalty TV. 

Murat: Thank you.

Jill: Thank you.

Paula: This show is sponsored by WiseMarketer Group, publisher of the WiseMarketer, 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 wiser marketer or subscriber. Learn more about global loyalty education for individuals or corporate training programs at loyaltyacademy.org. 

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