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: 10/11/2022

    Has McKinsey given the consulting industry a black eye?

    The problems with global consultancy are two-fold and the path to solution is unique to each issue. 1. What to do about suspect business practices and the improprieties noted? This is not a problem that needs to be solved through regulatory oversight. The solution is best originated by the leadership of the Big 4 cleaning up their respective shops. Firms can differentiate by electing to not participate in certain types of projects or to represent bad actors. David Slavick commented how the option always exists to avoid specific categories due to philosophical or foundational policies. Those choices paint the firms' brand and over time the marketplace will (or should) walk away from firms that continually pursue questionable clients and projects. 2. Do their services bring value for money? As I understand it, the biz dev process in this sector revolves around the C-Suite. When CEOs gain the confidence to not hire one of the Big 4, the balance of fees and services will begin to balance out. Maybe CEOs and their Boards need to have candid discussions about "why" they need to hire Big 4. The slogan "you can't get fired by buying IBM" dates to the '70s. It represents dated thinking and should not apply to global consulting going forward. There are plenty of alternate options available and the C-Suite needs to garner the courage to pursue them.
  • Posted on: 12/23/2021

    Is the Great Resignation really about quitting the rat race?

    The resignations are best illustrated by a dumbbell curve. Younger workers in front-line, lower-paying hourly wage jobs are right to assess if this should be their future. Why not take time to review and assess, especially when the government has made it possible to stay at home and gather thoughts. The research evidencing how older workers are leaving the workforce makes sense also. This is more of a great retirement, rather than resignation. Maybe we will see a large influx of retirement age folks applying their skills and experience to charitable causes and non-profits. Wouldn't that be an unexpected by-product of the pandemic? The middle of the curve are people who may be contemplating lifestyle changes and considering their options but don't have the ability to just resign and look for the next gig. The good news is that many people are engaging in self-assessment through the course of the pandemic and are making small changes that are in their control.
  • Posted on: 12/23/2021

    Is showrooming still a concern?

    Showrooming can't be stopped. Consumers are fully mobile now and, if we can't convince people to stop staring at their phones while driving down a busy highway, how can retailers think they can manipulate them to reduce showrooming in their stores? Showrooming does encourage footfall. Best Buy is a great example of where people want to see, feel, and touch merchandise before buying. They want to have a conversation with a store associate rather than a chatbot to learn more about which product meets their needs best. If some of these store visits result in an online purchase, so be it. The retailers need to continue to focus on store experience, local delivery, and other benefits that give consumers reasons to continue to stop by the store. Showrooming can be recast as fully positive if the retailer has the right perspective.
  • Posted on: 12/23/2021

    Should Nordstrom spin off Nordstrom Rack?

    The spin off of e-commerce arms of retailers (Kohl's, Saks, etc.) is motivated by investors who see a financial opportunity. I don't believe they take a long term view of the impact on the overall business but are happy to enjoy the payday resulting from the transaction. This discussion is different. Nordstrom may have lost some flash and Rack is struggling. Applying financial machinations to the business does not address fundamental business issues. If Rack is in dire straits as described, maybe a divestiture would make more sense than just a "spin off."
  • Posted on: 12/23/2021

    What do last-minute holiday shoppers want?

    Almost as valuable as discount offers are the reminder emails I am seeing advising of deadlines to purchase in order to receive shipment before Christmas. Everyone enjoys a price break, but this year, holiday stress for most shoppers is tied to "when" a gift will arrive. Smart retailers are extending a helpful hand by these purchase reminders. Yes, this is also a way to add urgency to purchase, but in this season, it's ok.
  • Posted on: 12/02/2021

    Did Cyber Monday hit its peak in 2020?

    The issue is that Cyber Monday is not a one-day focused event any longer. It is a signpost of awareness for a month-long cyber fest of discounts and offers. Judging by my inbox (and I don't think I'm alone in this), the offers started rolling in during October and there is nothing that convinces me they won't continue up until the holiday. Of course, ordering and receiving are two different matters and the impact of supply chain on fulfillment of cyber offers means anything ordered from Dec. 1 on is at risk for Christmas delivery.
  • Posted on: 12/02/2021

    Who will win the first RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge?

    Both ads are well done and hit an emotional chord. Kohl's completes the loop with the tagline at the end, "give with all your heart." That gives purpose to the ad, serving as a reminder that the season is about giving, not getting. That makes it a winner to me.
  • Posted on: 12/02/2021

    Rising food prices hit grocery workers hard

    Food insecurity and grocery worker should never be connected in the same sentence. Grocers offer all sorts of benefits to their workers and some, like Wegmans, land on the "best place to work" list each year. It seems that subsidizing food purchases is a natural extension of current benefits. Let's also remember the billions of dollars of food waste in the grocery industry. Could not some of that perfectly safe and edible product be offered to grocery employees for pennies on the dollar?
  • Posted on: 12/02/2021

    Does a four-day work week make more sense post-pandemic?

    This discussion is entirely different depending on what sector we are talking about and the workforce involved. In QSR, casual dining, and retail, the four day work week could yield good results via an energized and enthusiastic workforce that could give their best at work and still have a day for dreaming up their future or managing their side hustle. Caution is urged to consider all the impacts of a shorter work week, as workers would not align with a shorter work week if it came at the expense of benefits. For the corporate office settings, another conversation should precede the four day work week. Will all the talk about how the pandemic gave us the opportunity to reevaluate priorities and place values over busyness continue or will that productive talk track fade to black like the proverbial New Year's resolution?
  • Posted on: 11/29/2021

    What caused the thin Black Friday traffic?

    Black Friday was losing luster before the pandemic as it has become more of a kickoff to the holiday season than the big event itself. Consumers realize the deals and offers keep on coming throughout the holiday season and don't have the urgency or excitement about Black Friday as they did in the past. Add to this trend the early start on the promotional season this year and that might explain weaker performance on Black Friday this year.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2021

    How big a win is Sephora for Kohl’s?

    Partnership between complementary brands is a smart strategy and one that we'll see many brands pursue in the next year. We've seen Dick's and Nike connect their loyalty programs and the Kohl's/Sephora alliance is another strong example of this trend.
  • Posted on: 10/29/2021

    Should brands and retailers stop destroying unsold merchandise?

    Anyone with an inquisitive mind about sustainability might first ask about why Amazon often suggests that customers keep an item that doesn't fit or had some other problem. More than anecdotally, I have asked the owners of my local UPS store how many returns they process for Amazon and I was surprised to learn they are instructed to discard the majority of items rather than ship them back to Amazon. In the case of Truly, here's an idea that would complement their brand and protect against margin erosion through discounting. Finishers of Tough Mudders are offered a free beer. There is often a free beer offered at marathons and similar events. Truly could negotiate with a large event organizer and supply beverages for free, just asking the event organizer to pay for shipping and organize logistics. Seems like all would be winners in this type of scenario. Anyone like that idea?
  • Posted on: 09/20/2021

    Will Taco Bell lovers sign up for a taco a day?

    The daily taco subscription will drive additional visits and sales, plus some breakage for the company. I'm not sure of the economic arrangement between corporate and franchisees, but I assume they will each benefit from the subscription funds. We don't have to answer the question of whether customers will buy one taco every day. But the fanatical patrons will see an opportunity to get a deal on their favorite food items and will probably stop by for an additional visit or so each week. I would guess this campaign is time-limited in nature and that after assessing the results and impact on the business, Taco Bell will decide what the next phase of subscriptions will look like.
  • Posted on: 08/09/2021

    What benefits do premium loyalty program members value?

    Premium loyalty programs are one approach among many to engage with a customer base. To me, this is one of several tacks a brand can pursue in a tiered approach to marketing. Paid programs can bring great value to a small percentage of the customer base, but expectations have to be kept in check as very few retailers have the multiplicity of assets to combine into a program like Amazon Prime, the inspiration for many premium programs. No matter your approach, paid or otherwise, it’s time to embrace your customer base as your most important asset and adopt a clear vision of how you plan to build trusted relationships with them over the long run. Investors and shareholders are rewarding this approach with higher market valuations. Realize as you go forward that a formally defined loyalty "program" is not a prerequisite to achieving the big goal. Next-level marketers realize that absolute conquest of customer allegiance is not always a practical goal. Building trust, reinforcing brand affinity, and growing value is attainable and when you redefine "loyalty" this way, the pressure comes off some of this debate.
  • Posted on: 04/25/2021

    Amazon has mad upskills

    Investing in people is the most direct way to express a brand promise that centers attention on the customer. How trusting will customers be of a brand when they are aware that the brand takes employees for granted? Making an investment in training is worth every penny. The Amazon program is well-timed also as the cost of higher education has skyrocketed. More workers realize that picking up practical skills, regardless of the source, can help their careers flourish. This program is one that should be applauded by the general business community and possibly emulated by other retailers.

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