Why would 16 people from 10 countries fly a combined 114,000 miles for 3 days of meetings? Why would a group of industry leaders gather, in person and via live-stream, to participate in the conversations for 1 day? What worthy cause warrants such an effort? Could it be a summit meeting on global warming or a coalition effort to solve world hunger?
Well, not exactly.
But in the world of customer loyalty, the recent conclave of marketing professionals sponsored by the Customer Strategy Network was just as significant. Held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida the week before American Thanksgiving, this group of independent loyalty and CRM professionals held the first public thought leadership forum in the industry, sharing insights and best practices aimed to help brands improve their customer loyalty marketing efforts. The event also served as the launchpad for a much needed educational program leading to the first ever professional certification for loyalty marketing professionals.
The Loyalty Academy was a public conference held on November 18, 2015, followed by 2 days of private meetings for the CSN group. During this stretch several key announcements were made:
– CSN reached an agreement to acquire The Wise Marketer, the leading global publication aggregating news and updates from the global loyalty marketing industry.
– Peter Clark, Co-Founder and Editor of The Wise Marketer will continue to work with CSN in an advisory position. Rick Ferguson, formerly Editor of Colloquy and head of the Aimia Institute, was announced as Chief Executive Officer of The Wise Marketer Media Group.
– The Loyalty Academy, a formal educational program leading to a professional certification in Loyalty Marketing was announced by CSN. Mike Capizzi was appointed as Dean of Education for the Loyalty Academy.
The morning session of the Loyalty Academy presented talks on the Future of Customer Loyalty by Rick Ferguson, the intersection of Coalition loyalty marketing and Big Date from Mike Atkin, and a view on engaging with the Millennial generation by Bill Hanifin.
Mike Capizzi provided a lunchtime overview of the 15 module curriculum composing the Loyalty Academy and announced the first modules will be available online in February 2016.
In the afternoon, Paul Gallant, Boire Filler Group, shared new approaches to managing and securing precious customer data. Paul was followed by serial entrepreneur James Christensen and founder of Ernex, who shared a compelling examination of how digital wallets and emerging payments schemes are intersecting with customer loyalty. Jill Goldworn, CEO The First Club provided fresh perspectives on how rewards should be positioned for maximum impact in loyalty programs.
The day was capped off by Praphul Misra, CEO Net Carrots, who facilitated a lively panel discussion composed of Graeme Thomson, CEO Premium Group Marketing, Jim Griffin, CEO Lassu Loyalty and Elena Naumchik, CEO E & A Loyalty.
The Loyalty Academy fills a glaring gap in today’s loyalty marketing industry. Consumers are demanding clarity, transparency and value from their loyalty programs. The Loyalty Academy was created to bring together industry leaders to share the latest trends and industry information with these same attributes. The day was a uniquely commercial free environment. The customary “pay for play” model of most industry conferences was jettisoned in favor of delivering high value through the sharing of unbiased viewpoints.
CSN will soon be announcing the dates for next year’s industry summit event and is already busy working on new features (and maybe a new look) from The Wise Marketer. The future of Loyalty Marketing has arrived.