Some big news hit the loyalty marketing industry this week as Maritz announced the sale of Canadian based Bond Brand Loyalty to the company’s management team. You’ll find the official press release here.
The sale of a business unit might not always qualify as big news, but in this case, the separation bodes well for both Bond Brand Loyalty and US based Maritz Motivation Solutions. We believe the marketplace will reward both companies for the transaction as it clears up market confusion about the relationship between the two firms.
Only a few years ago, Maritz operated a thriving consumer loyalty business in the US and owned a Canadian operating unit, aptly named Maritz Canada. For a period of time, Maritz US seemed to diminish its emphasis on consumer loyalty while Maritz Canada rebranded as Bond Brand Loyalty in 2014.
Many industry observers assumed that Maritz US was part of the rebranding and the heavy investment by Bond Brand in content marketing and promotional efforts over the past year has not helped to clear anything up. Since the return of Barry Kirk to the Maritz Motivation group, the US company has evidenced a renewed focus on consumer loyalty with increased investment in thought leadership, loyalty technology and data analytics resources. With this announcement, each company will be free to pursue its own vision for consumer loyalty.
Barry Kirk, VP Loyalty Maritz Motivation Solutions, commented on the sale, saying: “This decision makes all the sense in the world for Maritz and where we’re headed with loyalty. Our colleagues at Bond are extremely good at what they do, but it happens to be very different than what we do in the loyalty space. Their expertise for years has been more focused on brand development and experiential marketing, whereas obviously we’ve been leaders for decades in running large points-based programs for major brands and so this allows each part of the organization to now really move off and focus on what they do best.”
As the press release amplified, there is plenty of room for both companies to pursue their respective strategies. According to the press release, the Loyalty 360 Customer Loyalty Statistics 2015 edition states there are 3.3 billion loyalty program memberships in the United States, an average of 29 per household, and membership continues to grow year over year. The industry continues to be important to consumer facing brands, and consumers themselves value loyalty programs as important tie-breakers in making purchase decisions.
John McArthur, President of Maritz Motivation Solutions agrees the growth potential in consumer loyalty is nearly without a ceiling, saying in the press release “Premier brands such as Marriott, Southwest and 7 of the 10 largest US banks trust Maritz Motivation Solutions to support their loyalty programs. Our clients and greater demand from the market are a strong impetus for Maritz to continue investing dollars, mind-share and other resources into our 30-year loyalty business, and delivering innovative technology, science-based people-focused strategies and the best rewards in the business.”
Both companies are worthy of attention. The sale offers a clear development path to each firm and it will be interesting to see how they both proceed to carve our market share in the months to come.