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Making Penguins Fly: 3 Things to Watch at #CMAInsights


How did a penguin help one of Canada’s largest banks break the ice with its customers?

Most of us don’t associate paying our bills with living on a frozen continent (unless it’s been a really bad month), but the unconventional pairing is exactly what CIBC had in mind when it introduced its newest mascot, Percy the Penguin.

Putting Percy front and center helps it rise above the “sea of sameness” in bank advertising, said Stephen Forbes, CIBC’s executive vice president of brand, corporate and client relationships, in a recent article.

Percy’s debut comes at a time when CIBC and its competitors are walking a fine line of delivering a more relevant, personalized experience to customers while protecting their privacy. 

“What your clients are coming to expect from you is shaped by firms that might not even be in your market, but they are part of a client’s day-to-day experiences online or in person with other firms,” Jose Ribau, CIBC’s senior vice president and chief data officer, told the Canadian Marketing Association in an interview. “You can no longer just benchmark against your top competitors when it comes to client experience, you need to consider the other interactions your clients have each day.”

Open-source platforms and external data sources are also creating additional customer insights, pushing banks to adapt their traditional processes to stay relevant.

As the keynote speaker of the CMAinsights Conference Thursday, Ribau will discuss the impact these new data sources have on marketing analytics and customer privacy. He’ll share best practices for navigating this new territory and using it to build stronger customer relationships.

It’s a message that’s sure to resonate with marketers everywhere, no matter your industry or your mascot. In fact, we expect the entire day to be packed with valuable information and inspiring ideas, which is why we’re proud to sponsor the event.

Here are two other speakers you won’t want to miss.

Peter Danforth, Loblaw

It’s been three years since Loblaws rolled out PC Plus, a loyalty program that feels more like a game. But digital games are a dime a dozen, and hundreds of smartphone apps are launched every day. Only a few have that addictive quality that keep us coming back for more—the rest are used once or twice at most before we delete them.

What makes this one different? How has it helped the grocery chain translate customer engagement into revenue? And how has it handled the kind of privacy concerns that gave customers at other retailers like Target an uneasy feeling? When does personalization become, well, too personal?

Peter Danforth, senior director of loyalty and analytics, will share what his company has learned about the curious marriage between the art of marketing and the science of data. It’s sure to be enlightening for all of us who struggle with these same questions every day.

Suat Alaybeyoglu, American Express

Data is a company’s most valuable currency for building customer loyalty. The biggest brands have no shortage of data, but the real challenge lies in connecting it to a better customer experience. One of the ways American Express does this is through its Local Champion program, which offers loyalty rewards for customers who use their card in places they regularly visit, such as coffee shops or grocery stores.

Customers can watch their status grow as every transaction moves them closer to becoming a “local champion.”

The credit card giant also has partnerships with TripAdvisor, which allows it to generate dynamic lists of hotels and restaurants where users are likely to stay and use that information to offer enticing perks. Card users can even earn reward points while hailing a cab in New York. More recently, they can also connect their accounts to their smartphones for secure, Touch ID login and manage transactions wherever they go.

“Mobile has become the preferred service channel for some of our cardmembers and we want to make sure we can offer them a seamless and integrated experience with the American Express app,” said Suat Alaybeyoglu, vice president of consumer acquisition and management, in a recent news release. “These recent changes are another step in that direction and we will continue to invest and innovate in this area.”

Having worked with Suat in my former life at American Express, I’m especially looking forward to catching up with him and hearing him speak.

Marketers: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s event? Share with us in the comments below.

Topics Marketing


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