When driving loyalty becomes challenging, like it is now, you’ve got to start looking for the clumpy customers. Francis Silva may have a shortcut to help brands find them.
The executive vice-president of analytics and technology at Bond Brand Loyalty (also referred to simply as Bond) knows some marketers will recognize “clumpiness” as a term featured in research from the Wharton School of Business 10 years ago. The idea was that customers often buy in bursts – a pair of sweatpants here, a T-shirt there, and possibly some sneakers and socks later on.
For Silva, clumpiness (or binging, to use a more modern word), could prove increasingly key to identifying the actual customer journey people take, and to enhance their experience accordingly.
“If you can identify customers who are who exhibit this clumpy behavior, and if you can measure the size of their clump, as well as the inter-clump time, you can actually help trigger a clump for a customer,” Silva recently told 360 Magazine. “But the calculation of clumpiness is very complex. And it requires a set of parameters and unless you have experience in the space, it would take a long time to train your team.”
Bond has spent the early part of 2023 positioning itself as the ideal provider of both that level of expertise and the technology to execute on it. In January, for example, Bond released Synapze XI, a personalization intelligence platform powered by cloud-based data provider Snowflake. The following month, Bond launched BondX, an agency formed out of the merger of its in-house team and the acquisition of brand experience consultancy Drumroll.
This means Bond can offer experts that draw upon in-depth knowledge of factors such as historical basket sizes in a particular industry, as well as time per transaction, customer churn rate and more. Using Synapze XI, meanwhile, those same customers will be able to tap into customer data platform (CDP) capabilities that include deep analytics based on loyalty programs Bond has been running for years.
“We’re talking about a quarter billion dollars in sales in a day from some of our clients, and we’re talking about 30 million-plus members transacted on our platforms for specific clients,” he said. “We want to reduce the friction so they can get some insights from the IP and the experience that we have really quickly.”
Of course, the CDP market has become highly crowded and competitive, with standalone offerings from the likes of Tealium and Blueconic to those part of larger platforms from SAP and Salesforce. Bond isn’t necessarily trying to displace those vendors as it brings Synapze XI to market, Silva said.
“We have a POV that many of our clients can have more than one CDP, mostly because technology ecosystems are constantly changing. And we believe that we are the CDP for customer loyalty, and customer behavioral data,” he said.
More general-purpose CDPs are probably collecting data such as demographics and interaction data from customers, for instance, and can be difficult to manage and maintain. Silva said Bond’s approach is based on a concept it calls the Customer Genome, which uses thousands of customer data points to identify factors such as lifetime value, total cost of ownership for loyalty initiatives and return on investment (ROI) for such programs.
“We know which features matter,” he said. “Those advanced (CDP) models can’t necessarily do exponentially more than the simple models, both from a time and materials perspective as well as an ongoing costs perspective.”
That said, Bond is continuing to explore innovative approaches to customer data, Silva added, such as working with language learning models to generate segment-based offers in a matter of seconds. This can be useful for brands that want to capitalize on what he called the redemption halo effect, where a customer’s spend will increase and pick up speed when they are reminded that they’re reaching a loyalty redemption threshold.
Silva acknowledged that Bond’s recent moves may mean the company is compared with much larger or broader technology companies, but he said its guiding principle is to help brands enhance loyalty experiences based on simplicity and elegance.
“Everyone’s going to talk about the speeds and the feeds and how many fields they can have,” he said. “We’re about being practical and getting that right return on investment, and really just bring good domain expertise to real world problems.”
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.