MIAMI - Social media heavy-hitters took the stage on Thursday for the second day of the Leadership Forum.
Paul Ollinger, former Facebook executive and current CEO of The Absolutely Huge Company, equated social media with pinball: You can get the ball moving with an initial message but then consumers take it and run with it, batting it about like a pinball. Ollinger also advised attendees that while participation in the social media space is crucial, thereï¿½ï¿½s no need to be on all platforms. Try and be best at whatever platforms you are in.
Next up was Tristan Walker, vice president of business development for foursquare, who shared his companyï¿½ï¿½s intent to redefine loyalty. Using location-based data, foursquare partners with grocery chains and other large retailers to determine customer behavior.
MyCokeRewards Director Kimberly Gnatt talked about the rising multi-platform society marked by a shift in power to the consumer, which is redefining the loyalty equation. Creating and maintaining a continuous loop of engagement with consumers ï¿½" in a lasting and meaningful way ï¿½" ensures long-term loyalty.
Mid-morning brought discussion on how retailers are leveraging their reward programs to drive loyalty with fuels. Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of industry advocacy, shared findings from the recent NACS Consumer Fuels Report, which revealed that the convenience industry still suffers from a perception problem with consumers. But the good news is that there are chances to sway that perception by emphasizing retailer involvement in the local community.
Grant Heminger, vice president of marketing for Speedway LLC, discussed his companyï¿½ï¿½s member-only rewards program and the emphasis on knowing the numbers to continue to drive loyalty.
Rounding out the panel, Greg Parker, president and CEO of The Parker Companies, talked about the success of his PumpPal loyalty program ï¿½" spurred in large part by a desire to take credit card profits from Visa and MasterCard and give them back to consumers. The ACH debit card program has brought Parkerï¿½ï¿½s stores about 45,000 PumpPal customers.
Discussion on customer engagement continued with an overview of Grouponï¿½ï¿½s value proposition of brand building and discovery by Matt Drinkwater, vice president of East Coast sales for the company. One memorable case study he shared: linking Unilever products with a local Chicago groceryï¿½ï¿½s loyalty card, which brought 4,000 customers in just three days.
In addition, two prominent retailers shared their visions of how social media influences how they go to market. Mike Newman, NOCO Energy president, reminded attendees to build social media and mobile platforms, not with their comfort level in mind, but thinking about where customers are. NOCO also has full-time social media staff monitoring and responding to consumers. Additionally, the company sent staff to stores with iPads in hand to instantly capture and record customer comments and perceptions ï¿½" which provided immediate and actionable feedback.
Brad Call, general counsel and executive vice president of Utah-based Maverik Inc., delivered a spirited discussion of the companyï¿½ï¿½s seven customer segments: the adventurer, blue collar, emerging adult, health & fitness, Hispanic, women with children and white collar. Maverik takes full advantage of television and local sponsorships to brand build and ensure customer loyalty.
Today is the last day of the Leadership Forum and will feature an overview of the snack food category and an exclusive interview with Kraft Global Foods Chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld.
Look for thorough coverage of the Leadership Forum in the April issue of NACS Magazine.