Loyalty Stories 01: Stand Out in the Sea of Same – Dean Lanzman

Tune in to the latest episode of Antavo’s Loyalty Stories video podcast to find out what Dean Lanzman thinks about the current state of loyalty programs.

Antavo’s cover for its Loyalty Stories video podcast with Dean Lanzman

WHERE TO LISTEN:

Our guest for the first episode of Loyalty Stories podcast is Dean Lanzman, a Specialist in Loyalty, CRM and Data Strategy. 

The interview for this podcast has been a valuable source for Antavo’s Global Customer Loyalty Report 2024. Make sure to download it for over 30 statistics on loyalty program trends. 

In this episode, we take a look at current loyalty programs and some of Dean’s projects that resonate quite well with the audience, as well as the challenges and upcoming trends companies are facing. We also review ways for brands to compete in a diverse and challenging market, offering rewards that are creative and filled with true value for the customers.

Highlights from our conversation with Dean:

  • His favorite loyalty program
  • The project(s) he is the most proud of
  • Big changes in the loyalty industry in recent years
  • Two upcoming trends, that he is excited to see and how these trends will evolve

Learn more:

Podcast Transcription
Charlie

Welcome to Loyalty Stories, Antavo’s podcast on customer loyalty and loyalty programs. I’m Charlie Hawker, partner manager for UKI, Benelux, and Nordics. Antavo is a technology vendor that powers loyalty programs all over the world. We help various great businesses such as KFC, Benefit Cosmetics, as well as other global automotive fashion companies and other amazing verticals. In this podcast, Loyalty Stories, we dive into the trends around customer loyalty and loyalty programs. We talk with industry experts around the world to pick their brain, to learn what’s next for loyalty. Today’s guest is Dean Lanzman.

Hi Dean.

Dean

Hello.

Charlie 

First of all, could you briefly introduce yourself and your company to the audience?

Dean 

Sure, so hi, I’m Dean Lanzman. My focus is to help our brands unlock the value of their data to create more meaningful customer experiences and ultimately more value back to the business.

Charlie 

Fantastic. So we’re going to start with just some questions and I know that you’ve had a sneak peek at a couple of these but if we could start with what’s your favorite loyalty program? And why?

Dean 

I thought long and hard about this one, you’re often asked about, you know, your favorite loyalty program, your favorite email program. And, you know, ultimately, it comes down to the one that you actually use the most, I think, is as simple as that. So I’m a particular fan of the Nando’s loyalty program. So if anyone doesn’t know Nando’s is described as a Portuguese flame grilled chicken restaurant, very, very tasty food.

You collect chilies, little chilies on a digital card every time you visit. And the more times you visit, the more free chicken you get. It’s super, super simple. And what it does quite cleverly is it creates like mini goals. So you get three chilies after three times you visit and you get a little bit of chicken and you get three more chilies and get an entire meal. So you sort of get those little, moments of achievement through completing that task. That makes it quite, you know, quite fun, quite addictive, if you like, you want to keep going through those chilies. And ultimately, it means that I keep spending, spending my money in Nandos.

Charlie 

Yeah, I’m also a chili collector, Fernando’s, and it’s interesting when you get to say the half chicken, do you cash it in? Or do you go, no, I want a full chicken.

Dean

That’s right. So you’ve got the gamification in there. And they’ve kept pretty true to it. I don’t think they’ve changed it too much over the years. And there’s probably something to be said with that, you know, when you, you know, when you get it right, just keep, keep plugging away. But it’s simple and it’s fun. And, you know, with all that choice out there, it’s, they’re obviously doing something right with the type of mechanic that they, that they have.

Charlie 

I think it’s interesting that the staff always say how many chilies you’ve got as well. Yeah, why? So they have a view of your attainment and your loyalty, I guess, to Nando’s.

Dean

Right, right, yes.

They’re accessing the data and in real time, there’s always a positive thing.

Charlie 

Great, no, it’s a good one. Yeah, and yeah, as I said, I’m a Chile collector as well. So, bringing it more back to yourself now and the work that you’ve done. What is some of the work that you’re most proud of? You can name the client, you can name the business if you want, or you can talk more generally if easier.

Dean

Sure, sure. So I wanted to pick a loyalty program partner, but I thought, if I’m being really honest, I’m going to answer the question in that way, I’m going to pick I’m going to pick another account, but it has it has it has some similarities. And that’s for the NHS. So there’s something like 50,000 nurses that need to go into the UK system. So it’s not a loyalty program, but it is a data driven cross channel program that cuts through from TV to website to CRM. So the program is designed in a very similar way to a loyalty program. So we collect data around individuals.

Their particular concerns and their questions and their motivations to join the NHS and barriers that they may have. We collect all of that data at an individual level, and then we convert that into what we hope to be very highly meaningful content that over a period of time aims to help them choose a career in nursing or another role at the NHS.

So hopefully, the work that we’re doing is making a big impact for the quality of healthcare in the UK. So it’s hard to find a prouder case study now.

Charlie 

No, absolutely. And it’s one that definitely everyone at some point will have a touch point with the NHS. And you never know, they might have come through some of your communications way down the line, right? And that’s a really fantastic thing to be proud of.

Dean

I think so. I hope so. And also, perhaps, you know, given that the conversation is around is around loyalty, you know, I think the jobs that we’re doing are the same, we are using data to build relevant content that drives engagement and action, you know, so I think that, you know, and you could even argue that the merits of calling a loyalty program a loyalty program versus, you know, many people.

Membership programs or you know engagement programs or you know other such thing, you know so you know the idea of connecting data with content that drives engagement and action I think is ultimately the end goal.

Charlie 

Yeah, absolutely. I think that loyalty might be the wrong slight semantic twist on it. But I definitely think that there’s a huge, huge similarities and crossovers there for sure. So bring it back to loyalty in the next question. So what do you think? What are the big changes in the loyalty industry in recent years?

Dean

And I mean, probably more than have been in years in years before, because I think that we see as consumers, we see more loyalty programs, you know, more brands, certainly they’re delivering through social and other kind of like emerging channels, if you like, for customer engagement, more loyalty programs, which is great, in some way for customers gives them gives them more choice. But ultimately, it can be harder for brands to engage and build loyalty when there’s all that competition. So the challenge, I think, for many brands now is to stand out in what we describe as that sea of same. Everyone’s doing something quite similar to engage their customers. And often, brands can resort to more price-focused benefits rather than.

Sorry, more discounting offers rather than real customer benefits. And so finding ways to be able to compete in that quite price sensitive market, I think becomes a key challenge.

Charlie 

Yeah, I think just to build on that and kind of resonate with something that I used to work on. Well, I worked when I was at the marketing agency side, we worked on like a milk brand and they called it the white wall. Because when you go in a supermarket, it’s all you see is just this white wall. Like what differentiates one milk from another other than brand loyalty or price and these sorts of things. So it is really hard. And that’s kind of, as you said, similar things happened in the loyalty space. There’s just it.

Dean

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And then, you know, like I say, there’s just there’s more choice than you know, if you pick any category pick, you know, men’s kind of, you know, healthcare, beauty, or whatever it might be, you only got to go on to your socials, and there’s a new brand that’s popping up. And they’ve kind of gone from brand creation to, you know, product development and an execution within six months, you know, versus a Unilever for them might’ve taken 5 years.

So there’s just so, so much more just and they may well even have a loyalty program or certainly some sort of benefits oriented program and so you’re competing with just so many more brands. You’ve got to be able to stand out in a way that adds value to your brand in the main and doesn’t devalue through another discount code.

Charlie 

Yeah, no, yeah, totally, totally. So if we take that as kind of what’s happened and what’s happening right now up to the present day, if we look into next year, a couple of years beyond that, and we think about trends that are coming down the track, what are the main two that you’re kind of excited to see come down or expecting?

Dean

Now, when you ask me for two, two is always harder than one. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’ll try, I’ll try my best. So, so, so I think, I think the first one is about what we’re seeing is less of the traditional points means prizes. So it’s less about saving, saving, saving and then spend, you know, which is sort of the classic, the classic kind of earn&burn.

Loyalty mechanic in exchange for access to benefits. I know that’s in that we see that all around us, don’t we all you know, whether it’s Amazon Prime or wherever you want to pick, you know, that that’s become I think the gold standard or not even necessarily the gold standard now it’s like it’s that is what it’s got to be in the main, I want to have access to stuff in return for my loyalty and I’ll keep getting that for as long as I’m loyal in some in some fashion. So I think, I think that’s a key trend that I don’t think is going to go away. 

The other sort of, I think, development is around unique propositions. So it’s kind of within the fold of benefits, but it’s giving your customers something which is genuinely unique and not just another discount for a high street restaurant chain or whatever it might be. A good example of that is the work. So we work with the Co-op and we do all of their digital effectively. And Co-op have announced the launch of what they describe as Co-op Live, which is the UK’s largest indoor arena in Manchester, coming to you next year. And the way that works is that if you are a member of Co-op, you get priority access and benefits, similar to, you know, the likes of O2, if you like.

But we’ve got massive, biggest indoor arena in Manchester. And that allows us to be able to offer our customers all sorts of extra benefits for being loyal, or a member of Co-op. And it’s that type of proposition, which you simply cannot get anywhere else, that I think is going to be the type of. benefits that other brands need to offer. Now, of course, not everyone will be able to build indoor arenas, but there are other, you know, thinking more laterally, more creatively around what can we offer our customer that is genuinely unique and is hard or tough for anyone else to offer quite in the same way that our customers would love, you know, would want. That’s where I think the value is going to sort of start to shift towards.

Charlie 

Yeah, it’s really interesting. Yeah, I used to work at the Co-op when I was at school. So I’ll be checking if I’ve still got any kind of affiliation. Let’s see. Yeah.

Dean

Well, if you’re a member, you pay your pound, you become a Co-op member, and it gives you access to lots of benefits. And this is the new thing. And also, obviously, it introduces a new market, younger audiences and all that sort of thing.

Charlie 

Yeah, yeah, no, it’s great. And so to build on those kinds of trends you mentioned, I forced you to name two. How do you think they will evolve? So you did go quite heavily in on the uniqueness there and probably that’s where the value comes in. Could you evaluate and elaborate a little bit more?

Dean

Sure. So I think that gone are the days whereby you can have one program in the main and keep it running as it is and not adjusting based on market conditions and changing consumer demands. Nandos is a good example. I’m thinking to myself, well, maybe they’re doing so well that they don’t need to. But in the main, you’ve got to be able to have the agility to move or pivot quickly based on market conditions. And whether that’s building new test and learn propositions, testing out new mechanics, seeing what works, build on that, I think that that’s sort of a must for brands as they enter into or have had loyalty programs and perhaps are seeing signs of less value. 

If you pick a lot of the great ones out there, you’ve seen how they’ve pivoted and moved Tesco Club Cards, probably a really good recent example, whereby introducing the type of new deals that only their customers can get and discounts on partner deals on mobiles and all that type of stuff, they’re continually adjusting and pivoting and reacting to their customers and what their customers want. So you’ve got to be able to have the agility and recognize their need to do that.

Charlie

Yeah. And I think that really captures kind of the last five, six years of what’s happened in the world as well. So like you think back to like things with marketing, like GDPR, cookie deprecation, then you get COVID and everyone has to go online, e-commerce booms. There’s lots of pivoting. So they’re almost pre-receptive to being more agile now, which is fantastic. So it’s going to be really interesting to see how that plays out in the next few years. And then our final question, what about when it comes to loyalty tech vendors? So what are the main features that you would expect or how would they best support these trends?

Dean

Yeah, well, I think it’s a response to what I’ve just said, I think you’ve got to as the tech has to give you that flexibility to adjust beyond classic points mechanics, you know, so whether you want points or don’t want points, whether you want to provide immediate access to a series of benefits, whether you want to have tiers, all these kind of choices that you need to make as someone who enters into a loyalty program, you’ve got to be able to have that flexibility. And as part of that, you want to be able to have the agility to change based on customer and consumer demands. So you want to be able to have that easy flexibility to adjust and change the mechanics to be able to suit those changing consumer demands.

And then lastly, I think it’s really important, particularly around the proliferation of retailers that can now offer this, you wanna be able to reduce the barriers to entry. So making it more affordable for smaller brands to enter, which I think is great for everyone because there’s an emergence of all the variety of new brands that you can now access and access through social and all this kind of stuff.

Being able to offer those kind of capabilities to smaller brands that wouldn’t otherwise be able to enter it because of traditional financial barriers to enter. If you can offer that, then more choices for customers, everyone wins.

Charlie 

Brilliant, yeah. I couldn’t agree more. I think, yeah, you’ve spoken very eloquently there around kind of there being more choice. There are smaller players, they’ve got a place to play. Let them have all the tools to their disposal as well. That’s really, really good. Yeah, thank you very much. 

Yeah, well, that’s a wrap. Thank you very much, Dean, for being here. I really enjoyed the conversation today. 

Dean

Thank you.

Charlie 

I think my favorite bit was a toss up between breaking through uniqueness and how do brands do that? I think that’s a really interesting challenge for agencies like yourself to really demonstrate and for brands as a great problem to have. But also around Nando’s, I think it’s certainly one of my favorite ones. I’ve still got the old card. They still keep dangling that black Nando’s card that everyone wants, free Nando’s for life. Maybe more. 

Dean

Unless you’re Ed Sheeran, I’m not sure you’re getting one.

Charlie 

Yeah, I know, I know, not yet, not yet.

Yeah, so wherever you’re listening to us, be a podcast platform, YouTube, LinkedIn, please like and subscribe to our channel. That way you’ll get notifications of the next episodes, etc. and please visit Antavo.com to discover your next loyalty software. Antavo is the next-gen loyalty program technology vendor used by global companies like KFC, Benefit Cosmetics and other big automotive fashion companies and all other verticals. Also, please feel free to reach out to Dean.

Thank you very much for listening and we’ll catch you next time.

Thanks everyone, Bye

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