We spoke to Susan LeBlanc, Director of Marketing at SCENE about the importance of cultivating diverse perspectives within organizations, the keys to developing effective and engaging customer rewards programs, and what the future of the loyalty and rewards industry has in store.
Tell us about your experience working in the customer Loyalty & Rewards industry.
My role as Director of Marketing at SCENE has been very rewarding. The organization has a vision for the program that’s easy to get behind, and the corporate culture is welcoming and inclusive.
In the past, I’ve worked in multiple industries — from gaming to education to non-profit — and for every size of organization, from start-ups to international entities. Loyalty has become a personal favourite of mine, where my passion for psychology pairs well with the mandate to make the customer base happy.
Loyalty marketing is about more than simply driving up revenues for partners. It’s about connecting the member base with partners that they want to engage with, in a personal and relevant way that drives long-term loyalty. Ensuring that members are satisfied with the program is my number one priority, and I’ve really enjoyed applying this consumer-centric approach to everything we do.
How do diverse perspectives within an organization help shape programs and consumer experiences?
In my organization, people managers are encouraged to hire for diversity of thought and experience, and this approach has brought together the most passionate team of individuals that I’ve had the pleasure to work with.
Several managers mistakenly hire like-minded individuals. It’s easy for this to happen through the hiring process when you find yourself getting along well with a candidate who thinks like you. The trouble with this is that you often end up talking to yourselves in the market, rather than your real consumers who are highly diverse.
When you hire for diversity of thought and experience, you gain viewpoints from every angle and are able to uncover things you would’ve missed had you only hired like-minded individuals. This ultimately leads to a better customer experience.
I’m a strong advocate in my organization for hiring people from all backgrounds, from different industries, races, languages, genders, and ages. These individuals won’t always agree with one another, and that’s exactly the point because in the real world your customers don’t all agree with one another either. Having different opinions in the workplace brings this to the forefront as an opportunity to shape the consumer experience.
It must be done right, of course. The key to making diversity in the workplace function well is to foster a culture of openness and respect, from the top-down.
How have you seen the loyalty space evolve in 2021?
There’s a real trend toward being in people’s hearts, not just their wallets. As part of this trend, consumers are looking for more experiential rewards along with their earn-and-burn opportunities.
There’s also been a trend toward everyday interactions. Consumers are no longer looking to save thousands of loyalty points for a trip across the ocean. They also want to earn and burn their points every day, in ways that are convenient and work best for them. SCENE has evolved to suit this trend by adding more everyday options for earning and expanding the rewards available to members. So far, the feedback has been very positive!