Uncomfortable Truths in Loyalty

Marketing Team
Marketing Team
21 Dec 2022

There’s nothing like an honest discussion about the challenges loyalty leaders face and Paula Thomas (Founder & CEO of "Let's Talk Loyalty") provided the perfect forum for it when she hosted a LinkedIn Live event in November – aptly named ‘Uncomfortable Truths.’

We're sharing this in response to requests from people who weren't able to attend the session live.

Collinson’s Daniel Cantorna (Vice President of Professional Services, EMEA) was a guest panellist and contributed views based on his client consultancy experience, as did Amanda Cromhout from Truth in South Africa. Dan’s first observation was that, post pandemic, customers have a renewed sense of freedom and choice, which means that value, engagement and elevated experiences are currently key challenges in the loyalty landscape.

Daniel went on to explain that, when assessing loyalty programmes for clients, there’s often a gap between internal perceptions of the scheme and the reality. It may superficially look like “unicorns and rainbows” but dig down, talk to the delivery team and a whole host of data and tech issues can emerge. Giving this insight back to the business can feel like an ‘Uncomfortable Truth’ but in his role as a leading loyalty consultant, Daniel doesn’t shy away from giving an honest appraisal of the scheme’s current status, supported with a positive vision. This is often in the form of one and two year roadmaps showing where the company can go, even given the current status quo.

Other contributors agreed and commented that similar experiences often apply to tech vendors and the RFP process. Once clients are working with a vendor and get “under the bonnet”, capability gaps not surfaced at tender stage can appear, causing issues. Consequently, there was a call for greater transparency at initial RFP stage as well as Paula's advice to practitioners to really ensure they do comprehensive reference checks with live clients of any potential platform partner before appointing them.

Paula raised attribution as another area which can prove challenging. Here Dan suggested breaking measurement down into transactional data (points, redemptions, breakage and so forth) and more emotional data (NPS, average interactions per customer, satisfaction surveys, reviews, and referrals for example). Tracking Average Transaction Value (ATV) and frequency is key, but measuring non-transactional elements alongside these is important (to provide a rounded picture). Daniel pointed out that clients are already rewarding non-transactional behaviour for actions such as commenting on social platforms and making referrals (effectively recognising advocacy).

Of course, the data collected from all such interactions means analytical skills are required to understand and leverage its value. Many clients are not as data capable as they could be; this is not a lack of willingness according to Daniel but they may lack the right resources or may need to ask different questions of customers. In addition, a joined up approach is required where those responsible for the “front end” of loyalty are connected to financial and tech functions.

Finally, when asked about Loyalty 3.0 and Web 3.0 tech, Daniel commented that the “killer app” is not here yet, but the future loyalty landscape will be more about community, customers interacting with one another and de-centralised data.

Loyalty is constantly changing shape, and sometimes it can be hard to keep up with the latest trends, best practices or strategies. We asked Loyalty Leaders in the UK for their views on where we are right now, what they think is new and what they’re expecting next. What value do loyalty programmes bring to business? Who is innovating and how? Those in the business of loyalty let us in on their views and now we can share this unique insight with you, in our 2022 UK Loyalty Landscape.


Paula Thomas is Founder & CEO of "Let's Talk Loyalty" - a Podcast & Platform for Loyalty Marketing Professionals.

Daniel Cantorna is Vice President of Professional Services, EMEA at Collinson and helps clients design, implement and optimise their loyalty programmes.

Amanda Cromhout is a Guest Host of “Let’s Talk Loyalty” and the Founder & CEO of Truth – a leading global loyalty consultancy.

Chatham House rules apply to the Let’s Talk Loyalty LinkedIn Audio session. Participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, will ever be revealed publicly without permission.

Marketing Team

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