Foundational Loyalty Program Guidelines: Enabling Technology

Sep 4, 2013

A recent survey revealed that a majority of consumers, 57%, would travel in driverless vehicles controlled entirely by computer. Considering the rate at which hard drives crash and computer glitches cost businesses millions per year, that’s an incredible finding. The statistic also demonstrates consumers’ powerful faith in technology even when their lives are at stake.

This belief, however, is more than faith. Technology has become a necessity. That’s as true in today’s automotive industry as it is for financial services and their ability to implement effective customer rewards programs. Which is why enabling technology, one of the foundational loyalty program guidelines Kobie calls the “Five Es,” can help financial services brands advance their loyalty program, enhance customers’ experience and engagement and drive ROI – all in an omnichannel manner.

We recently discussed the Five Es – Enterprise, Economics, Enablement, Execution and Engagement – as a way to gauge loyalty program challenges, and possible solutions, in Loyalty Today.

The enabling of both established and emerging technologies can make what happens under the “digital loyalty program hood” work seamlessly and effectively while remaining robust enough to be scalable as a business expands. This requires a third-party loyalty partner that is technology-agile – innovative by nature and able to adjust and respond to new ideas, especially time-sensitive ones.

But what does enabling technology and technological agility really mean? It’s not just about acquiring technology partners. It’s also about fostering a corporate culture where technology is seen as the solution and not the problem to delivering a better loyalty experience. C-level buy-in is a must from the beginning, but technology enabling within the loyalty program construct also requires frequent internal review across all departments in de-siloed ways.

One of the biggest ways that financial services institutions are enabling technology comes down to their use of traditional and non-traditional data. Traditional data sets include customer transactions and financial information. Now, thanks to the real-time data stream delivered to banks via smart mobile devices, additional customer metrics such as purchase location , level of social media interaction (either directly with a specific loyalty program or generally with social circles) and degree of brand engagement are available. At their core, the best financial services loyalty programs today want a complete picture of a customer’s emotional status and psychological triggers for enhanced brand engagement.

Case in point: American Express. The credit card company recently announced it was to issue cards decorated with scenes from League of Legends, an online multiplayer game which includes the in-game purchase of real-world items. Cardholders will receive 1,000 Riot Points for signing up, plus an additional 1,000 points for their first 10 in-game purchases – with 10,000 points awarded to those who link their card to a checking account.

Considering the need for financial services brands to better engage Millennials, this would seem like an exciting, fun and data-rich endeavor.

Ultimately, enabling technology is more than just flicking a switch or pressing the ‘power button’ to launch a new tech-savvy loyalty program. It’s about fostering a culture where exciting and engaging ideas like the American Express example can take root and then take flight. Compare the marketing and branding differences between the American Express that first brought consumers the “don’t leave home without it” ad campaign in 1975 to League of Legends.

They’re in an entirely different league, don’t you think?

How is your loyalty enabling technology (and researching and delivering emerging technology) to power it? We’d love to hear about your experiences and best practices. Share your insights with the Kobie community or send us an email to And check back for more of Kobie’s Five ‘Es’ covering Enterprise, Experience, Economics, Execution.