A lifetime of loyalty
Job: CEO, e-Miles
Pets: Three dogs
Hobbies: Jogging, being an entrepreneur
Past positions: Founder and CEO of Epsilon, helped establish American Airlines' AAdvantage loyalty program
Hal Brierley, CEO of e-Miles, discusses the changing world of loyalty marketing and how he's evolving with it.
Q: Why found e-Miles?
A: Over the last 25 years, we have clearly become an incentive-based society. We have come to expect airline miles when we fly and hotel points and credit card points. I've become very intrigued with the idea that our most precious resource is time, and rewarding people for time is a way to get their attention. The whole concept is rewarding consumers for taking a minute or two to engage with an advertiser, so we're taking what we learned in loyalty and rewards for spending and moving that into rewards for time.
Q: What is e-Rewards?
A: E-Rewards is an online research panel with over 7 million people enrolled. Over a million people answer surveys each month, 70,000 each day. E-Rewards is not to be confused with e-Miles — e-Rewards is research, e-Miles is building on the concept of rewarding for time. There are 1.5 million people enrolled in e-Miles.
Q: How do you define loyalty?
A: Loyalty is the end step in getting someone to try a product, to have a preference and to repeat purchase. Loyalty is truly a sense that I have a preference for this brand and would feel that I missed something if I didn't continue to purchase it.
Q: How has loyalty marketing evolved since you started?
Lauren Bell speaks more about loyalty with Hal Brierley
A: 25 years ago with the launch of AAdvantage it was a novelty. Airlines today have very sophisticated programs, hotels have programs, car rentals have programs, so there is a proliferation of programs. The major change I see is the cadence of loyalty is shortening. A month-to-month customer gets rewarded some places where airlines are still doing something once a year. It's also becoming more electronic media-based.
Q: What are some challenges to building loyalty with today's consumers?
A: The real key is listening to consumers at the early stages of design, which is why we did so much with e-Rewards as a research panel. You need to understand what people would like from this company and deliver it at a fraction of the cost they would expect. If a company can do that correctly, they'll have very happy consumers and a very profitable program.
Q: Where do you see loyalty marketing in the future?
A: I think the consumer has come to anticipate some thank you or incentive for their patronage, so I think some companies need to sharpen their focus and sharpen the level of rewards so they're more profitable. I also think we'll see more loyalty in some of the less obvious arenas, like rewards for time.