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EPISODE 104 : 03/09/2022

Gina Fleck

Gina Fleck is VP and Head of Loyalty Experience Consulting at Merkle, a global customer experience partner for Fortune 1000 companies and nonprofits. Gina is an expert in customer engagement, loyalty and retention and highly skilled in creating strategic, global consumer-facing marketing initiatives that lead to measurable results. She is also an expert in using gamification and other emerging technologies in loyalty experiences. Prior to Merkle, Gina led loyalty strategy at HelloWorld and Expedia.

Host: Ned Hayes and Ashley Coates
Guest: Gina Fleck

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Topics discussed in this episode

  • Detailed small business insights from Olympia, Washington
  • Small business resiliency and adaptation during COVID
  • Doubling community outreach during the pandemic
  • Opportunities for small business loyalty programs

Watch Spark Loyalty’s Small Business Success Channel

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Audio Transcript

Ned Hayes [00:00:00] Welcome to Spark Plug, where we talk to smart people working at the intersection of business and technology brought to you by SnowShoe, your smarter loyalty leader.


Ashley Coates [00:00:11] Today’s Spark Plug welcomes Gina Fleck to the podcast. Gina is VP and head of Loyalty Experience Consulting at Merkle, a global customer experience partner for Fortune 1000 companies and nonprofits. Gina is an expert in customer engagement, loyalty and retention, and highly skilled in creating strategic global consumer facing marketing initiatives that lead to measurable results. She is also an expert in using gamification and other emerging technologies and loyalty experiences. Prior to Merkle, Gina led Loyalty strategy at Hello World and Expedia. Welcome, Gina. 


Gina Fleck [00:00:49] Thank you so much for having me. 


Ashley Coates [00:00:51] Yeah, we’re so happy to have you here today. And we want to dig right in to customer loyalty, experience your area of expertise. So you’ve been in your current role now for just over a year, heading up loyalty experience at Merkle. So can you start by defining what customer loyalty experience means to you? 


Gina Fleck [00:01:10] Yeah. So the phrase customer loyalty experience is really a nod to the fact that loyalty isn’t a program or a tactic. It’s really an outcome that’s attained through every experience that a customer has with a brand. So said another way. It’s an outcome of a really excellent customer experience. So we think about loyalty strategies and tactics is really the thing that sits in the center of the customer experience, orchestrating touch points to drive ongoing engagement, sustained retention and increase customer lifetime value. 


Ned Hayes [00:01:41] Some brands understand it as comprehensively as you do, but it doesn’t mean everyone is really doing it right. So I’m curious, where do you see mistakes happening with customer loyalty? And of course, the next question is what brands do you see getting it right and really understanding how loyalty should work. 


Gina Fleck [00:02:00] So as you can probably imagine, I have a lot to say on this topic. But I think first going along with how I define loyalty experience, the biggest mistake that I see brands make in this area is having a siloed loyalty program or tactics that aren’t connected into the broader customer experience. I mean, easier said than done, right, especially in larger organizations. But really, in order to get it right, loyalty does need to be integrated in some way across the various touchpoints that customers experience. So if you think about it from a customer standpoint, your loyalty is to a brand, not to a program, or at least ideally. And the program, no matter how good it is, can only carry so much weight if the product or brand experience falls short. So aside from a loyalty standpoint, the best way to think about where to start integrating into the journey is by leveraging the data to help identify customers, tailor their experiences and acknowledge their loyalty. So that can take some work and some collaboration to figure out how to do that. And the approach has to be different based on different companies and cultures. But if real customer loyalty is the desired outcome, then it really is worth it. And I think you know who’s doing it? Well, the first brand that comes to mind is is like a Delta Airlines, for example. They do a really excellent job at marrying a best in class loyalty program with their marketing and their operations to create this type of data driven experience. So I can give an example. I’m a platinum medallion member, and because of that, I have really great benefits and I’m more likely to get my complimentary upgrades, which I love. And I earn more miles faster, but I also have access to a dedicated customer service line so I get faster and better support when I need it. And even more interesting when I fly. I’m almost always recognized personally for my loyalty by either flight attendants or the pilot, sometimes even with a handwritten note and signed by the crew. And that’s that goes a long way to feeling recognized, which is really cool. And another example I can share with them is my husband. Last year, one trip away from hitting Platinum Medallion for the first time ever. We like to travel. And he we had the trip booked for mid-December. He was going to hit the spend and the miles on that flight and then bam I got sick so we had to cancel the trip, which I feel like is the story of 2020 in a nutshell. But that was a bummer, right? But things happen and and he was ultimately like, maybe next year. But then a couple weeks later, he got an email from Delta and they said, Hey, we saw you were really close to qualifying for platinum, but you had to cancel your trip. Well, guess what? We’re going to give you platinum status anyway as a way of saying thank you. And we were both really floored by that. These are the types of things that go beyond the program itself, while still using the program as an enabler to really cement that loyalty to the brand. 


Ashley Coates [00:04:49] So what’s interesting about that Delta Airlines example is one thing you didn’t mention are discounts. That’s not one of the reasons that you are loyal to Delta. So I’m just curious what you think of discounts in terms of building customer loyalty, because a lot of brands seem to depend on discounts. Is there a place for discounts in a customer loyalty experience? 


Gina Fleck [00:05:11] Yeah. Delta is rarely known for being the cheapest option in the space, but one way that they do integrate discounts is by all smiles that I’m collecting. When I’m flying, I can use them to redeem for free flights. So that’s where I get kind of that value. I think this question is actually really relevant, particularly in today’s economic climate, right? So the way that I think about discounts is that in most cases they really are a necessary part of the overarching loyalty strategy. Merkle actually does research every year through our Loyalty Barometer report, which you can download on our website if you’re interested in reading it. But what we consistently find is that customers expect and want discounts as an offers to as their number one loyalty program benefits. But and this is a really big but, this should never be the only thing that drives the loyalty experience. And if you think about it, there are hundreds or probably thousands of loyalty programs out there. Right. And even within specific industries, if you have a brand, it’s likely your competitors have programs too. So if you hinge your entire loyalty strategy on discounts, then not only does the program dilute your margins and impact your revenue, which never good, it becomes something that’s viewed as a cost driver organizationally. And on top of that, customers will be trained to never want or even expect to pay full price and are much more likely to be swayed by a competitor simply if they offer a better deal. And that’s not loyalty. Right? So short answer. Yes, there is definitely a place for discounts and loyalty and retention strategies, but they do need to be leveraged thoughtfully and sparingly, and they definitely cannot be the only lever that you have to pull to incentivize and reward customers. 


Ned Hayes [00:07:00] Right. So along with really building in a relationship like the airline has with your family and building in that that sense of actually knowing you as a person, what other kind of levers exists to bring people back that are not just these kind of cheap discounts? Could you elaborate a little bit more on that? 


Gina Fleck [00:07:18] Yeah, you know, I think about sort of three pillars that make up a strong loyalty program. The first one is really the core value proposition, and that’s that that do get sort of value exchange. That’s the foundation of the program. And this encompasses what you need to do to get rewarded and how you get rewarded. And this is commonly where discounts can come into play. So that’s the core value proposition. The second area is more around the experiential and emotional drivers that can elevate the program beyond a transactional experience and move the interactions to something more meaningful. That can be things like the examples I shared with Delta or community and engagement gamification, surprise and delight, those types of things. And then finally there’s the experience itself, which is really like, how easy, how is the program accessed, how is it positioned, how is it communicated across channels? How easy or difficult is it to join and interact with it? So those kinds of things. And in terms of the most effective incentives, thinking across those three pillars, I think incentives are definitely a part of it. And that can start with the free or discounted products. It can be things like exclusive offers, early access or sneak peeks of products, chances to win things, or the opportunity to shape a future product or offering. All of those things can play a really strong role in retaining customers. But what makes that an incentive effective is really the place that it has in the larger loyalty strategy and ecosystems and how it enhances the overall brand and experience and customer experience. 


Ned Hayes [00:08:57] Right. You said something really interesting there, the opportunity to shape a future product or a new direction. And could you tell me more about why customers would want that and why that builds a connection to the brand? 


Gina Fleck [00:09:12] Yeah, it taps into that desire. Well, what we’re trying to build, which is the desire for customers to have a closer relationship with the brand. So if you’ve really been successful in creating a loyal customer who’s really an advocate or has some sort of passion or connection to the brand itself, they inherently want to be a part of it. And so being able to be the first to see something or help shape a new offering, generally people have opinions about things that they love or that they use a lot, and it really shows that the brand cares about those customers and wants to involve them and have them be a part of the brand itself, which is really compelling if the customer is a true advocate of the brand. Well, so I’d love to chat about. Out technology and customer loyalty and customer experience. Can you talk about how important technology is in creating a customer experience these days, and how do you and your team stay on top of emerging technologies to make sure that the experiences that you’re creating are always leading the way? Yes, this is a big topic, and I have less than it as well. I mean, simply put, I think the technology and capabilities that an organization has in place to enable the right customer experience is sort of foundational to delivering everything that we’ve been talking about so far, which is to say that it’s essential to realizing the benefits of a great strategy at scale. So I’m seeing more and more over the past couple of years, especially that companies are on these big transformation journeys and they’re enhancing. Customer loyalty is really commonly one of the main kind of objectives and driving that transformation. So within Merkle, we have capabilities that span a lot of different areas beyond loyalty. We have teams that focus on technical strategy, see strategy, commerce, strategy, media analytics that goes on. And we think it’s really critical for all of these things to work together to drive the best business outcomes. That’s really the idea that the larger business transformation projects that we’re seeing out there. So it’s common for loyalty strategies, for example, to partner with technologists and analytics leads to assess a client’s current tech stack like apps and opportunities, recommend future state enhancements, and then build use cases and roadmaps to help them maximize the investments that they’ve already made in their tech. And then think about what are some future capabilities that they might want to consider bringing into their tech stack in the future. So we want to stay on top of emerging technologies and capabilities, and we also do that through things like our alliance partnerships with Merkel and so on. So which Merkel is a part of? We have partnerships and great relationships with brands like Salesforce and Adobe and Braze, and we’re constantly collaborating with them and providing feedback on their roadmaps and understanding new features, etc.. So our teams have these close relationships. We also maintain certifications across some of these technologies. We collaborate across the stacks and on top of that we use them ourselves. So we are really curious. We’re curious bunch. We really like to explore what’s out there and understand it and kind of mess around with it and see what it can do. So for example, I was just in a leadership meeting with my team the other day and we were talking about some innovations and I like chat and daily and really kind of just brainstorming around how these different things could potentially impact customer experience and loyalty and what that could look like in the future. And so I think again, myriad of ways that we stay on top of the technologies, but we’re really interested in tech and that’s sort of inherent to the core of who we are as a team.

Ned Hayes Yeah, absolutely. Well, and if I can dig into one of the technologies that I know Merkle partners with, you use Spark technology for some of your clients like Cedar Point Amusement Park to celebrate. I think it was their 50th anniversary. Can you talk a little bit about how something like Spark Technology helps you create memorable experiences for your brand’s customers?

Gina Fleck Yeah, Cedar Point’s 150th anniversary, 150. That’s it. Very special milestone for them. Yeah. Spark Loyalty is such a unique innovation that really is perfect for helping us bridge experiences between the physical and digital realms, which is a challenge for a lot of brands, especially when it comes to validating things like in-store visits or event participation and the ability to create a real life experience that gives a customer that satisfaction of tactically completing something like getting a stamp or checking something off is really compelling. Plus, it enables the brand to validate that someone was actually in the location in a simpler or more reliable way than NFC or geofencing and something that’s more secure than a QR code, for example. So for us, when we think about how to bridge, especially in verticals like retail or amusement parks or even hotels and travel those types of places or at event participation, it’s really a great solution to be able to bridge those to navigate in physical and digital worlds in a way that’s trackable and measurable and secure. We love it. 


Ned Hayes [00:14:43] That was a solid vote for our technology! Thank you so much, Gina. 


Gina Fleck [00:14:46] We’re big fans. 


Ned Hayes [00:14:47] Yeah. So it’s interesting that you say that that connection between the physical world and the digital world is increasingly important. That does bring up kind of the metaverse that there’s a digital world out there. That we can participate in even more fully than we do today. So I’m curious, is that the future of the brand experience? What do you think of the world of the metaverse and where are we going there? 


Gina Fleck [00:15:09] Hey, you know, I would say it’s probably too early to call on the metaverse and even what the metaverse is actually going to end up being kind of from a broad consumer adoption standpoint. But given the more mainstream adoption of the metaverse, we’re metaverse like objects with brands like Starbucks and Nike and Gucci and even Oreo. I do think it’s going to be a component. It’s not going to be the only experience. I really believe that customers are always going to want any real life interactions with brands, but it will be very interesting to continue to watch and learn and evolve how we leverage the metaverse to enhance brand experiences as it begins to become more mainstream and eventually mature into something more concrete. So another aspect of customer loyalty that’s really important is to make sure that the experience with the brand is aligned with the customer’s expectations and that that experience can really be personalized and customized as much as possible. A little while ago you mentioned using data to help inform the customer experiences that you create. So how do you use data? How do you use any other technologies to make sure that the experiences you’re creating are aligned with the customer’s expectations? Yeah, that’s a great question. Well, we really start with understanding first who the customer is, right? Not just from a demographic standpoint, but getting deeper into their motivations, their attitudes and behaviors, their wants and needs and their expectations. So within Merkle, we actually leverage we have a proprietary audience insights tool to get this deeper view. And we also look to supplement customer profiles through the engagements that we drive with in partnership with our clients, where we’re able to capture first and zero party data to really enhance their customer profiles. So once we know more about who the target audience is and what they care about, we look to develop strategies and tactics that can address their specific unique needs at every stage of their journey. And then aligning them to the brand’s business objectives. So we develop and align all stakeholders to measurement plans and learning agendas to make sure everyone’s on the same page. And then we bring in the technology experts to align the desired experience with the required capabilities from a technical standpoint that are needed to enable them in practice. So within Markel, we’ve aligned loyalty, CRM and messaging and promotions into one big team, and we we really kind of look to make sure that we’re building the strategy, designing the experience, implementing the platforms and managing the programs. Long term. We can do that end to end, or we can just do parts and pieces of that. So those are all kind of components of the customer experience development piece. And then from a technology standpoint, we have proprietary platforms that we can use or we can execute on other platforms. And I think that broad view or that technology agnostic view is is something that is unique to us as well, which is why we have to kind of stay on top of all of the technologies and we have these great partnerships with other brands. So as far as lining up the right technology, we typically look to understand what the brand already has in place or what’s on their roadmap. And then we look to see where there might be gaps and use that to inform the decisions. So, you know, in general tech that can capture and integrate multiple sources of data to get a clear view of their customer, push out the right message to the right customer at the right time across channels, and enable the ability to track and reward customers for taking various actions or three things that we typically need to do that. And this can be done through various CDP, OSP CRM systems and loyalty platforms. 


Ned Hayes [00:18:52] Right. So I want to back up one second. You said a phrase that I’m very familiar with, I think you’re very familiar with. It’s called zero party data. Right. And could you define that a little bit more? Because I think it’s really important in the era of, you know, Facebook and mobile apps, knowing all about us, the distinction between first party data and kind of zero party data and why this distinction is important for retailers. 


Gina Fleck [00:19:15] Yeah. So first party data is really that typical. You know, if you think about a registration form, it’s your first name, last name, your email address, that kind of thing that you’re sharing is part of a sign up that’s a little bit more demographic where zero party data can go beyond that to be more around know if you think about preferences, dietary needs and anything even beyond beyond that from an emotional state, whatever you want to share that you are explicitly as a user sharing with the intent of having your experience personalized for you. So it goes a lot deeper than, again, location or age and really starts to help understand more the brand, the marketer, understand who you are as a person versus just. A number or user profile. 


Ned Hayes [00:20:01] Right. So it’s kind of things like I’m a large in jackets or I live on the West Coast or I prefer green clothing. So I’m not sharing like my mother’s maiden name. I’m not necessarily sharing, even if I don’t want to do the make and model of my car and I’m not sharing, you know, my Social Security number, but instead I’m sharing things like I live in the Pacific Northwest, I’m a large in jacket size and I tend to prefer greens because I clicked on a button that says I like green jackets Pacific Northwest and share this data. So don’t show me all the yellow jackets from New York City because I’m not interested. Right? So it’s zero party data that’s pertinent to me and shaping my experience. Is that accurate? 


Gina Fleck [00:20:41] Yeah, I think if you want to just create a little differentiation that the Pacific Northwest part might be like, I’m interested in Pacific Northwest. I live there. But yes, I mean, exactly like those things that are not immediately evident based on again, that the typical email address, mailing address, birthday kind of demographic information, the green jacket is is a great example of that or even the fact that you’re looking for jackets. If you live in Florida, you don’t need to be shown a heavy winter coat, right? Unless you specifically say I’m going on a ski trip. So it’s contextual information that can help make the experience more tailored. 


Ned Hayes [00:21:20] Right. And it’s also useful to point out this is data that the consumer has has decided to share, just data that some some retailer has scraped off of a Facebook page. 


Gina Fleck [00:21:31] Correct? Yes. They are explicitly sharing it and knowingly sharing it. 


Ned Hayes [00:21:36] Right. So thanks for clarifying that. So if we could walk through a few current trends in loyalty, could you talk about quick service restaurants, QSR, because this is a big surge during COVID and then post COVID, it’s continuing. 


Gina Fleck [00:21:48] Yeah, Yes, we’re seeing a big uptick in QSR and casual dining, either launching or refreshing loyalty programs especially. And I think this is really being driven by the digital acceleration that COVID set in motion and sort of mandated for these these particular brands and this vertical especially. Right. They had to close their locations. So they needed to make sure their digital experiences were up to snuff. And because of that, they have all these new programs and enhancements and we’re seeing brands in this space really start to have fun and really start to be seen as leaders. They’re trying new things. They’re accelerating their results. A common thing we’re seeing, especially in this space, is a combined CRM, a loyalty approach that’s really more playful and fun, like I said, than than we’ve seen, especially in this vertical in the past. They’re really leaning into things like gamification and targeted offers and challenges, tapping into social influencers, integrating their loyalty experiences with, you know, broader PR and media initiatives, which is relatively new in the space. I have to give a shout out to Burger King and Starbucks, who are really doing great things in this area especially, and we’re lucky to get to partner with both of them on some of those things. So it’s just it’s a fun space to be in right now and to watch and keep an eye on because they’re really doing some cool stuff. 


Ned Hayes [00:23:09] That’s really helpful. Yeah, we’re seeing a lot of interesting quick service restaurants, too. I think the whole food world has changed a little bit during the pandemic and post the next kind of area I’d love to hear your wisdom on is streaming and subscription services. I mean, back in my day we went to a movie theater and then we got DVDs and now everything is online, everything is streaming. So is this trend going to continue? Where’s the world going there? 


Gina Fleck [00:23:35] Yeah. I mean, I think we’re we’re also seeing an accelerated need for loyalty and retention strategies in the subscription space in general. So that can be, you know, streaming any sort of pay investment or program or some sort of subscription service. And I think it’s really an interesting area because brands historically in this area have not had a need to build loyalty into their offerings because they already tend to have those built in benefits. That’s providing enough of a value exchange for consumers to want to continue to be retained. So like, for example, I’ll back it up a little bit now as far as not having streaming services or DVDs, but, you know, back in the day, Netflix was a flat 999 a month and in exchange you got access to all the great content at your fingertips. And that was it. It was simple. You know, it was really one of the only options to stream TV. And that was kind of a no brainer for a lot of consumers. But now there’s just a massive influx of streaming services. Is there Kind of every channel has their own and people are starting to kind of look around and try to narrow down which subscriptions are worth keeping. They don’t want to have 25 different services. How can they combine them? How can they streamline down? Do the ones that bring them the most value. And because of that, we’re exploring ways for brands in this space to elevate their offerings beyond the product itself and think about how they can expand the value and stand out from their competitors in new ways. So I don’t I don’t think that streaming and subscription services are going to go away by any means, but I think we’re going to see them start to evolve and really look to see how they can create more value beyond the service that they’re actually offering, which is a really unique place to be. 


Ned Hayes [00:25:30] I am curious if you could briefly touch on financial transactions and how those have changed, either the blockchain or things like Venmo or Zelle. I mean, I see increasing numbers of retailers who want to use Venmo or want to use something that is kind of not not your traditional credit card. 


Gina Fleck [00:25:48] Yeah, you know, it is an interesting trend and I think all of the different fintechs that have been popping up over the past few years and really kind of changing the game and how we interact with money and how we transact with brands. It’s been it’s been interesting to watch and see how it’s sort of evolving. I think a lot of it is likely driven by the fact that Gen Z is now becoming one of the biggest audiences They have one of the most massive spending power, I guess we’ll put it that way. They are now making up so much of what is being purchased and they are a little bit more financially, I think, than maybe past generations have been. They aren’t as likely to be bought into credit cards and things like that. And Venmo is something that is so easy to use and it’s so much more in tune with how they’re used to kind of interacting with social media and their friends, and it makes it so much more accessible. I think that that is definitely a driving factor. I will say I’m not an expert in the space, but that’s sort of my my P.O.V.. I think even tech wearables and your Apple Watch, you can pay with your watch and with your phone. It’s all about making things easier and more seamless. So I think that those things are driving a lot of that as well. 


Ned Hayes [00:27:10] Yeah, there’s so many changes happening so quickly. So speaking of which, I was really excited to see that one of my favorite retailers, Starbucks, recently launched the Starbucks Odyssey Experience. This is still, I guess, an early beta, but it uses NFC technology and it sounds like Merkel was involved there. That’s really cool. Can you tell us more about NFT is first, could you tell us at a high level what they are and then how Merkle is involved there? 


Gina Fleck [00:27:35] Yeah, Yeah. So, you know, with Starbucks, it’s a really cool experience. Yes, it’s currently in beta on and and if anyone is interested in checking it out, I encourage you to sign up and hopefully you can get an invite soon. It really bridges the gap between the what we call the web to experience your typical digital experience on your computer or on your phone and web3 the metaverse an NFT, and it brings in gamification to do that. And I think when it comes to NFT is we’re in a place of experimentation, we’re experimenting, and it’s mainstream enough now where brands you want to experiment in the space should definitely check it out and to just kind of back it up. And NFT is is a digital you can think about it as a digital token. Essentially it’s built on the blockchain. So what that means is that everything is sort of open source. You can see, you know, the different transactions. And what’s cool about an NFT is it’s it’s a digital asset that if I’m an artist and I create an NFT and then I put it up on Opensea or one of the other places where you can sell them and someone buys it, I get I get a payment. Then that person who bought my piece of art owns it. They want to go and sell it. They can do that. They can sell it for whatever amount someone will buy it for. But as the original owner or the artist or creator, I am always going to get a royalty that’s always going to be attributed back to me. And those transactions are logged in the blockchain. So you can kind of see which every single digital asset that’s out there, how many times it’s changed hands, who is owned it, and it’s very clear and transparent, which is really kind of unique. And I think that was sort of the basis upon which they were built. But what we’re seeing brands do with NFT now is it’s sort of going beyond that. And what they’re doing a lot of the time is to try to create this digital asset that ties in with maybe some sort of physical benefit as well. So you’ve got your digital asset, which, you know, in the case of Starbucks, for example, those those kind of teas, any NFT that’s out there, out there, part of it can be worth money, It can increase in value, it can decrease in value. It’s a it’s a tangible thing that you own, that you can get financial benefit from it. Other entities that are out there can also give you access to different things. So if you are an NFT owner, you might be able to get invited to special events and the way to get in is owning the NFT. You might also get kind of a corresponding limited. Physical item, for example, like a pair of sneakers or something like that, if you’re Nike. And so it’s really not meant for the way that brands are using it that I’ve seen you get some buzz and some PR is really to just kind of enhance the physical experience and make it even more exclusive and create something that’s a little bit more unique. But it’s not replacing physical engagements or products or things like that. So it’s it’s there’s a lot to unpack in the space. And I think that brands who are interested in doing it should really start first with focusing on the business outcome that they’re looking to drive, because then you can always come back to that, right? Like if there’s new buzzy things coming out all the time. But really, like what? What are you trying to accomplish from a business standpoint? What would success look like if you’re just trying to get PR and some funds that can lead to broader brand awareness and ideally some new customer acquisition and maybe some increased frequency? That’s great. You’re really clear on that’s the objective. It’s it’s buzz, it’s PR, but if you’re in a situation where you need to be focused on driving transactions, for example, that’s something to be really cognizant of as you’re thinking about a strategy. So again, you want to have that North Star for the experiment and ensure that what you develop and launch can clearly connect back to driving results. You want to get clear alignment on why you’re doing it, what it needs to drive and how it’s going to be measured. Importantly. And once you have that foundation, you can have the fun part of designing the experience and kind of figuring out what it is that you’re going to do. 


Ned Hayes [00:31:35] Right? So just a follow up on that. I know that you can’t discuss highly specific customer engagements, but but when you talk to customers kind of at a high level, to your retail customers or to two large companies that are doing this, what are they looking for and how is NFT a solution to that? 


Gina Fleck [00:31:54] Yeah, you know, it sort of varies. I think a lot of the time that really does start with like, Hey, MF TS, those are cool brands like Starbucks and Nike are leveraging them. How should we be thinking about them? And so that’s, that’s, you know, starting back to my advice of like, let’s start with the business outcome. Like how are we going to measure the success of this? What are we looking to actually achieve and what is that going to drive for your business? And then figuring out what the right approach to integrating the TS is or isn’t even is the right approach. And that situation is is sort of where we’re helping guide our clients. They think other brands that come to us, they have a very clear idea of what they want to do and why they want to do it, and then we can dive into kind of designing the experience and the fun part, as I said. But I think a lot of brands right now, especially in the retail space, are in that experiment phase. They’re not sure. We don’t have a lot of tried and true benchmarks or results that we can point to and say, We know that it does this for brands in the space. So I think it’s really kind of exploring and figuring out what works for each individual brand in the retail space or outside of it. And again, being really clear on on the objectives and that Northstar so that we are being thoughtful about how we’re experimenting.

Ashley Coates Thank you so much, Gina. This has been such an insightful conversation. We’re so, so grateful that you can join us. We do have one last question for you, which is what would you like your legacy to be? What do you want to be remembered for?

Gina Fleck I love this question in general. I want to be remembered as a good person. So we’ll start with that. But I think beyond that, I really love my legacy as a loyalty strategist and consultant to be someone who paved the way for collaboration across marketing and experience and technology that could help result in breakthrough innovative ideas, executions that challenge the status quo and drive real business results and ultimately just make customer experience and loyalty better in practice. And not just in theory. 


Ned Hayes [00:34:01] Really appreciate it. This was a great discussion and thanks for sharing all your wisdom with us. 


Gina Fleck [00:34:05] Yeah, thank you so much. It was great to be here. 

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