PROFILE

Bill Hanifin

CEO, Hanifin Loyalty LLC

Bill Hanifin brings over 25 years experience encompassing customer centric marketing, payment systems, and corporate banking to benefit the clients he serves. Bill has concentrated on developing and implementing Customer Strategies designed to address a range of business objectives from account acquisition and sales performance to improved customer retention and increased share of wallet and brand preference.

Bill has worked with companies in the airline, banking, hotel, retail, telecom, and business services sectors providing a range of services including Strategic Marketing Plans, Project Management, Financial Measurement, and Operational Solutions. A partial Client list includes American Express, BBVA Bancomer, Banco BHD, FirstCaribbean Int’l Bank, Grupo Posadas (largest hotel chain in Mexico), JM Associates Federal Credit Union, LaQuinta Inns, Scotiabank, Visa, and VitaCost.com.

Bill is a Founding Member of the Customer Strategy Network, a global network of independent relationship and loyalty marketing practitioners. He authors Loyalty Truth, a blog covering all aspects of Customer Centric marketing, and serves as North American Contributing Editor for The Wise Marketer, a global publication covering the loyalty marketing industry.

Bill is an accomplished speaker and trainer and is a requested presenter at industry trade conferences sponsored by Airline Information, SourceMedia, the Direct Marketing Association, Visa, Loyalty 360, and the Institute for International Research. He has led public and privately organized workshops in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, EU, and Asia Pacific regions.

Bill is a prolific writer on the subjects of Millennial, Loyalty, and Relationship marketing. In addition to his blog Loyalty Truth, his articles and quotes have been published in American Banker, Colloquy, Cards & Payments, Card Technology, Bankstocks.com, DM News, Fox News.net, Smart Money, and MSNBC.com.

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  • Posted on: 12/03/2019

    Will its ‘culture of recognition’ be a game winner for Dick’s Sporting Goods?

    Most people agree that creating better in-store experiences is a mandatory step that retailers need to take to press an advantage over online competition. Involving store associates in the experience is not only important, it might be the first thing that should be addressed. If retailers are to put a stake in the ground to protect their turf, they should start with increased focus on training and recognition of their valuable employees.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2019

    Why are brands so bad at identity resolution?

    The top business objective noted by CMOs in the survey is to improve customer satisfaction. Today, customers have high expectations for the way their data is used. Without improving the ability to consistently identify the customer, increasing customer satisfaction levels will be a constant struggle.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    Should customers just be paid for their data?

    This is a string that we could regenerate every 6 months and revisit current thinking. There are at least two partitions to this discussion: The first is the unscrupulous access to data that is the subject of the Cambridge Analytical episode. We all know this is horrendous and its this type of activity over the years that have captured the attention of regulators. The other side of this is the choice that we all have to opt-in to anything as consumers. I view the current system as "buyer beware." Here's just one example: while I might have had some fun with my FitBit, now that it has been acquired by Google, I'm more conscious of where my data may end up and how it might be used. As a result, I might ditch that device or opt-out of data sharing, but keep using the device locally. The trouble with the current system is that, as a consumer, I don't know whether to trust what happens with my data even after I've opted-out. Is it really erased? Is it still held in aggregate for corporate use? I would like to know. I don't think the answer is to monetize, at least until someone comes up with a practical way to manage that process. In the meantime, the answer is for brands to make good on their promise of delivering value in exchange for the data they collect. That should be the promise that consumers hold them to, or risk losing their business.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    Should customers just be paid for their data?

    As a consumer, I would not agree with this statement. I opt-in where I am interested in the brand, want to learn something, or think I'll get a price advantage. If I get what I want and am ready to move on, I might opt-out. If I don't see the value from my investment in time and contribution of personal data, I'll opt-out. The trouble with the current system is that, as a consumer, I don't know whether to trust what happens with my data even after I've opted-out. Is it really erased? Is it still held in aggregate for corporate use? I would like to know. I don't think the answer is to monetize, I think the answer is for brands to make good on their promise of delivering value in exchange for the data they collect.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    Retail apocalypse? How about a disruptor meltdown?

    I find it interesting that in some cases, some of the disruptors have been "disrupted" themselves by fast-followers. I considered that Casper was the leader in launching the online mattress business, however they were quickly joined by Purple and Leesa. Suddenly there is choice in a market that was only recently an eye-opener as a new DTC brand. The exclusivity of the business model and hurdle to competitors should be something given greater consideration in this expanding online retail market.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    Is the environment Amazon’s Achilles heel or opportunity?

    The package waste is obvious if you're a regular Amazon shopper. But when Amazon offers 1 day shipping, we all jump on the opportunity. It's tough to have it all, i.e. immediacy in getting what we want while being responsible stewards of the planet. I'm encouraged that consumers responded the MIT’s Sustainable Logistics Initiative when the benefit was framed in terms of environmental impact. When will a solution for this problem turn up on Shark Tank? If not that channel, surely someone will come up with a solution? If I were Amazon, I'd like that solution to come from within its own walls.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    CBD and plant-based meats are the next big things in store brands

    Attending NACS this year, the growth in CBD products was astounding. The noise around CBD is at a high level and the challenge for retailers and manufacturers is to communicate their product benefits clearly to the consumer. That's not so easy when products are being launched by the bushel load and regulation of many of these products is subject to the same "flexible evaluations" as vitamins and supplements. The plant-based trend is strong among all types of people and the appeal of plant-based diets is broadening to everyday athetes as well as the core group of vegans and eco-concerned people. The big trick? To make all of these products more credible, to manage to label better, and to keep costs down at the retail level.
  • Posted on: 10/18/2019

    Have Giant Food and Stop & Shop nailed ‘frictionless’ checkouts?

    While it is easy to point out the flaws in self-checkout including the use case for ScanIt, something in me wants to root for a solution to be found that really meets the needs of shoppers, while returning an ROI for grocers. Like some others commenting here, my experience with "traditional" self checkout systems is that they don't save significant time, require attendee intervention, and can be frustrating. ScanIt is an interesting approach as it allows shoppers to scan as they go, possibly saving time over having to check out all items at the point of exit from the store. In terms of the functionality, I wonder how ScanIt handles items scanned but later returned to the shelf (have you ever shopped with children?) and the implications for shrinkage.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2019

    Will becoming a UPS pickup/drop off point drive craft sales at Michaels?

    If you agree that a key point of leverage for brick-and-mortar retailers is their ability to deliver high-touch services and create experiences in-store, then Michaels’ deal with UPS makes sense. My bet is that the pickup/drop-off arrangement will source new customers coming into Michaels stores who in the process will discover the Michaels brand. For existing customers, they will enjoy the ability to get what they need to complete a project and mail it from the same location. That spells convenience. There may be some non-productive traffic in the store as result of the drop off point, but I believe it will be minimal and not a significant "con" when weighed against the "pros" of this agreement.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2019

    REI opens outdoor adventure gateway concept

    Building an emphasis on experiences and helping customers understand "what to do with my gear" is a brilliant move by REI. Maybe not an absolute key to success, but definitely a highly preferred path is for REI to stay true to its pledge to be more "collaborative than competitive" with local guides and resource providers. Local knowledge is a scarce commodity and access to "locals" who understand a particular area is a sought after commodity that can create a feeling of cult loyalty among customers. Since REI is building on its reputation to sponsor workshops, classes and guided day programs, it has a perfect opportunity to leverage rather than exterminate local guides to execute on trips and clinics. Presumably REI has lots of positions to fill through opening the new store, so costing in the outside resources should equate to a practical business expectation. Supporting the Mt. Washington Valley Trails Association is a good start, but don't stop there.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2019

    Will Erewhon become the next Whole Foods?

    If the description of Erewhon as "crazy expensive" is actually true, I give them little chance to create a widely accepted national footprint. At the risk of giving away a good idea, I think the big winner in "better for you" foods will be a retail grocer that adopts a Trader Joe's/Aldi's approach with healthy products in stock. In other words, the first grocer to make healthy food affordable for the masses will become the dominant player in the long run. This opinion is held separate from views on whether private equity firms are "good" partners over the long term. Capital is needed for growth, but standards of the deal structure needs to adapt in acknowledgement of failed retail partnerships with private equity. Will retailers learn from the past mistakes of others? Time will tell.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2019

    Should companies have to pay you to use your personal data?

    The seven points outlined by Mr. Yang compose what I think the norm "should be" today. The trouble with how data is managed by brands today is that, while they comply with requirements to disclose privacy policies, the policies are too complicated for most people to read and understand. To be a friend of the consumer, Mr. Yang should advocate for current regulations to be implemented in such a way that consumers will be able to understand in plain English the data that is being collected and how it is managed or transferred. It should also be an absolute requirement, not an option, for brands to disclose when a breach has occurred. The part of this I do not agree with is that "you should receive a share of the economic value generated from your data." That is a reasonable statement on the surface but reaching agreement on formulas to determine what that "economic value" is will be a nightmare if not impossible. If marketers are proficient at their trade, they should be delivering economic value to customers in exchange for the data shared. If the consumer doesn't see the value, they have the right to opt out. We must give attention to the importance of data management but let's first do a better job of practicing the current regulations already in place.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2019

    Best Buy makes a big bet on health tech

    Recognition of the opportunity to provide healthcare-related tech to members of an aging population is a brilliant extension of the Best Buy brand. The opportunity is to create relationships through technology with seniors and others who can benefit from these products. The missing piece in today's consumer electronics market is to fill the gap in understanding so that people buying tech can get the greatest benefit from it. Often we buy up the next cool gadget only to see it land in a drawer soon thereafter. If Best Buy can provide the service, information and education to empower people of any age to take full advantage of the gadgets they buy, they will have a successful new area of business that will support the stated 2025 goal to double what Best Buy calls “significant customer relationship events.”
  • Posted on: 07/08/2019

    Is Walmart at an online crossroads?

    Walmart should maintain its focus on the ultimate goal - leadership, success, and profitability in its e-commerce activities -- but should review strategy and jettison the parts of the current plan that are sucking cash out of the business. Maybe growth through acquisition of boutique brands seemed like the way to get an edge on competitors at the time, but it seems that approach needs to be reevaluated. Also, Walmart has taken on the image of the follower rather than leader vis a vis Amazon. I think the drive to deliver in one day or "next day" is bait that Walmart did not have to take. Walmart needs to keep its focus on success in e-commerce, just chart a new and proprietary course.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2019

    Do direct-to-consumer digital brands have advantages over traditional retailers?

    DTC brands are successful in part because they focus on a focused product line (e.g. cosmetics) or a product that meets a specific need (e.g. fitness). Their Achilles heel in many cases can be their manner of funding. When venture and private equity money is the source of life and growth, pressures to meet investor expectations can unravel an otherwise organized growth plan. Because they are lean and don't have the baggage of traditional retailers, they have a distinct advantage over the offline competition. That doesn't mean they won't venture into the physical world. Customers like to "showroom" and I believe the transformation of the retail landscape will be evidenced in malls full of DTC kiosks or small stores where customers can see, test, and learn - also buy. It's been said before, but traditional retailers have to take advantage of their physical connection to the customer and focus on stellar customer service and in-store experience. The potential advantage to be created is obvious, so why aren't more offline retailers showing progress in these areas?

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