Thursday, 15 June 2017 14:24
Meet the sponsor: Aimia
Data driven, analytical and personal
Finding out about Aimia. In conversation with James Moir, MD of Nectar
Loyalty Magazine: Aimia is such a well known and respected name in loyalty, it is easy to assume everyone knows what you do. For those who are new to the business can you explain your proposition?
James Moir: We are a data-driven marketing and loyalty analytics company. Put simply, we use insights to help our clients build more personal relationships with their customers and to help them make smarter business decisions.
We’re most well-known for our coalition loyalty programmes - Nectar in the UK, and Aeroplan in Canada - however we also design and manage a number of loyalty programmes for companies around the world which are underpinned by our leading products and technology platforms, such as the Aimia Loyalty Platform.
Do you work in all markets, and who are your major customers? How many people do you employ?
We currently work across 15 countries, employing over 2,000 people.
Is loyalty changing, and if so, how?
The principal of loyalty – to build relationships with customers to encourage them to keep coming back will always remain – but the way in which we do this is definitely evolving as a result of technology.
How will the GDPR and new data regulation in other markets affect loyalty?
As a data-driven marketing company, Aimia takes the impending GDPR seriously. Currently Aimia fully complies with the Data Protection Act and therefore, as has been recognised by the ICO, companies in this position are well on the way to complying with GDPR. It is a very complex process and we are taking the time to ensure we get it right. We are working with our partners and suppliers to ensure the whole ecosystem in which we operate is compliant.
What initiatives are you working on using new technologies?
We are constantly testing and learning so that we can incorporate new ways to deliver customer loyalty. This can be anything from looking at payment mechanisms though to delivering offers to customers when they are shopping on their mobiles.
What are your goals and challenges moving forward?
We will always be driven to remain relevant to our customers. From the partners we keep through to the offers we deliver. Our overriding aim is to provide real and tangible benefits to our customers.
Is it possible to run truly personalised loyalty programmes and how difficult is this to do?
This has to be an ambition. Machine learning means that as we know more about our customers we can fine tune our offers to suit them better. Whilst some of the basics of a loyalty programme remain the same, the way that it works for the customer can be truly unique.
How has the mobile device influenced loyalty programmes?
I’m not sure anyone could have predicted 15 years ago where mobile would have taken us today. It’s clear to see that mobile has had a huge impact on the way in which customers are leading their lives and as such it’s important that loyalty programmes are part of this behaviour too.
Having said this, when you’re running mass loyalty programmes, as we do with the likes of Nectar in the UK, it is important not to get caught up completely in the mobile bubble. Yes, a lot of our customers use mobile and it’s really important we have this option, but we know that not all 20million of our customers want to receive offers through an app on their phone or reminders through location based messaging. It all comes back to the fundamentals of marketing – speaking to your customers in the right place, at the right time, with the right message and through the right channel. If mobile isn’t the right channel for a customer then don’t do it.
Does loyalty have to be amended for the millennial generation?
Millennials are a really interesting audience and so we’ve done quite a bit of research into them through our quarterly Aimia Loyalty Lens research – you can see the latest findings at aimia.com. The most important thing to bear in mind when building relationships with millennials is that whilst they are incredibly loyal to the brands they love, if a brand compromises their trust (in any way) then they are quick to drop them (much more so than other audiences).