Shiny Pennies Beware: Our Latest Research Vets 13 Loyalty Program Tools

If Loyalty 1.0 was all about discounts, points, and miles, Loyalty 2.0 is all about differentiation and engagement. Competition for customer attention is steeper than ever, and companies are always looking for innovative ways to set their loyalty programs apart. But the loyalty landscape is chock full of shiny pennies (and some not-so-shiny pennies) claiming to offer a solution to this engagement problem. Throw rapidly evolving technologies, channels, and tactics into the mix, and marketers have a lot to consider when deciding where to make their bets.

If you’re nodding your head, you aren’t alone, and you are in the right place. Cutting through the clutter is exactly what our latest report, “TechRadar™ For Customer Intelligence Professionals: Customer Loyalty Programs, Q1 2013” (subscription required) is all about. We spent the past several months investigating the current maturity, business value-add, and future trajectory of 13 loyalty tools, including affiliate networks, card-linked rewards, coupons, location-based services, mobile applications, program websites, and social rewards. At a high level, we came away with two key observations:

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Data Stewardship: It Can Make or Break Your Customer's Trust

You've heard me go on and on about the importance of personal identity management (PIDM), and the principles you'll need to adopt to thrive in a PIDM-enabled ecosystem, for a year now. You've heard statistics like:

  • 44% of consumers have walked away from a transaction on the basis of something they read in a privacy policy or terms-of-use statement.
  • 53% of security breaches in 2012 involved compromised personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Nearly half of US online adults don't even trust their financial institutions to keep their personal data secure.
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CI Team Changes

As we kick off 2013 in earnest, I wanted to take the opportunity to update you on several changes to the CI team at Forrester. As many of you know, we’ve seen tremendous growth over the past few years since we introduced the role. However, we’re experiencing some change, and it felt like an appropriate time of year to provide a broader update. 

First of all, I’m sad to announce a couple of departures. Suresh Vittal and Zach Hofer-Shall left Forrester on Monday, December 31st. Suresh was both a fantastic analyst and most recently a fantastic practice leader. Unfortunately, his expertise was noticed by the entire industry, and he got scooped away by an incredible opportunity. Zach has built our coverage of what was originally listening platforms and later social intelligence since his tenure as a researcher. In a similar vein, his expertise was noticed, and he’ll be applying his knowledge to great effect in his new role.
Carl Doty, formerly the practice leader of our consumer product strategy role, has switched roles effective January 1, 2013, to take over the CI practice. As some of you will recall, this is a homecoming for Carl — he was our research director who led the creation of the CI practice, leaving behind our old direct marketing focus and moniker. Carl is based out of the Cambridge office.
We’ve had a few other additions to the team lately and have shifted some coverage areas to compensate for Zach’s departure, so to help you keep track, here’s an update on the current CI team:
  • Allison Smith: Cambridge-based researcher focused on social intelligence under Joe Stanhope’s tutelage.
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