AU panel on loyalty

Yesway, Yum! Brands, Shoe Carnival: A Data-Focused Strategy for Creating Brand-Obsessed Consumers

P&G, Yesway, Yum! Brands, and Shoe Carnival joined the loyalty conversation at this year’s Analytics Unite event in Chicago.
Liz Dominguez
Managing Editor
AU panel on loyalty
From left to right: Cameron Davies, Chief Data Officer, Yum! Brands; David Dittmann, Vice President Data & Analytics, Chief Analytics Officer, Procter & Gamble; Darrin Samaha, VP Marketing, Yesway;Deb Hannah, SVP Marketing, Shoe Carnival

There’s a lot of things that encompass loyalty, but it all comes down to a value exchange, according to Deb Hannah, SVP of marketing at Shoe Carnival. 

During this year’s rewarding and highly engaging Analytics Unite event, held in-person from June 21-23 at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, CG and retail executives came together to tackle what’s on everyone’s mind: how to unlock the power of loyalty. 

During the session “Innovative Loyalty: Identifying the Data that Creates Obsessed Consumers,” Hannah said the formula is simple: the customer should give you something in exchange for what you’re giving them — a mechanism that every major brand should employ. 

“You give me your information to better understand you as a human being, and I provide you back with points,” emphasized Hannah. 

loyalty panel speaks at au

That value exchange, however, can get a little complicated. Panelist Darrin Samaha, vice president of marketing at Yesway, said it’s about delivering value that is unique to the brand, which serves as fuel. 

“Customers are looking for more experiential rewards,” he said. David Dittman, VP of data analytics and chief analytics officer at Procter & Gamble, agrees that if the brand can offer this, the data will roll in. 

“As you start to get up exponentially, you start influencing assortment in certain areas that the consumer is craving,” said Dittman. 

You’ve Got the Data, Now What?

Moderator Cameron Davies, chief data officer at Yum! Brands, posed a question pertaining to first-party data: Once you have it, what’s the protocol for sharing and how is it being used?

Hannah implements it internally, using it to define lookalikes. However she puts an emphasis on customer privacy, a factor that is critical to the brand’s strategy.

Audience at loyalty panel at AU

For Dittman, it all comes down to control of the data. While the brand knows it’s far more cost effective to continue with an existing consumer than obtain a new one, that measurement can be hard to control.

“At P&G, we put a lot of intellectual capital into synthetic control,” he said. “You run the risk of way overvaluing a loyalty program without putting statistical controls behind it.”

Implementing Technology to Support Loyalty Efforts

Samaha speaking on au panel

Part of maintaining that control is ensuring organizations have sufficient support on the tech side. Davies inquired about MarTech. 

It takes a dedicated organization to build out a cloud strategy, said Dittman. “Setting up scalability, that ability to query to transform models…that takes a lot of effort.”

Automation is key, he said. Though the technology is expensive, he said that’s where much of the ROI is coming from. 

But that can be a roadblock for many brands. Samaha said that whether it’s AI or one-to-one…in an ideal world, he’d like to blow out everything a little more but that’s just not the reality when it comes to budget, time, and resources. 

“We just did a lot of MarTech work over the last six months,” said Hannah who said that although it’s pretty straightforward — if you’re setting up a loyalty program, you’re going to need software to manage it — it is probably the trickiest piece. 

“Legacy POS, e-commerce activation…If you're going to spend time, money, and effort that's where you're going to do that.”

Stay tuned to CGT and RIS for more coverage from Analytics Unite.

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