Aeroplan partners with TD to create emotional connection by leveraging data to help members achieve their travel goals

According to our 2015 Aimia Global Loyalty Lens survey, 80% of consumers are willing to engage with brands and share their personal data, but only eight per cent think they receive better services and benefits as a result. Brands’ failure to better understand consumers and what they value or perceive as being of value and their inability to leverage that understanding to make business personal is probably one of the main root causes of misinformed customers. Nevertheless, connecting with them in an emotive way can help demonstrate the added value of brands can provide.

TD Bank joined Aeroplan in 2013 as primary financial services partner and credit card issuer and offers co-branded Aeroplan Visa credit cards. This partnership allows TD to provide additional value to its current customer base, attract new customers and engage with the five million active Aeroplan members in achieving their vacation and merchandise goals faster.

With both a co-branded Visa and a membership in Aeroplan, Canada’s premier coalition loyalty program, TD Aeroplan Visa cardholders are able to make their purchases go further by collecting Aeroplan miles when they shop at any location or online from its growing network of more than 75 world-class partners, representing more than 150 brands in the financial, retail and travel sectors. At the same time, coalition partners, such as TD, share access to a large storage of advanced data analytics and to our predictive modelling capabilities to help shape business strategies and decisions, whilst avoiding the burdens of operating costs, setup times and technical challenges.

The partnership is proving beneficial for TD, Aeroplan and other partners; and has been a key contributor to our eight per cent increase in the active Aeroplan credit cardholder base since its launch in 2013.

As part of our commitment to continually provide value to customers, we made significant enhancements to Aeroplan since the launch of the partnership with TD. We wanted to ensure customers were aware of the full value and benefits delivered by their TD Aeroplan Visa credit card. Our goal was to demonstrate why, as Aeroplan members, it makes sense to have their TD Aeroplan credit cards used for their everyday spend.

As such, we developed and executed on a strategy, based on data analytics, with a three-step approach to identify and segment accurately, create an emotive connection and engage with members through personalized communications.

Identify and segment accurately: The first step was to leverage data analytics to accurately segment members to ensure the development of relevant, targeted and personalized communications. Personalized communications creates intimacy and loyalty as it speaks to members’ habits and lifestyles. Members need to be rewarded for their unique personal behaviours and be recognized for these to drive greater engagement with Aeroplan. Using data already available, we identified segments of Aeroplan members that were most likely to be interested in a TD credit card and the improvements made to the program.

Create an emotive connection: The second step was to leverage an additional data set available for consideration: as part of their experience, Aeroplan members are asked to set travel goals for their membership as encouragement to earn Aeroplan miles to redeem for the ultimate vacation. With this emotive information, we identified members who may be open to a conversation to understand the value and get the most out TD Aeroplan Visa credit cards.

Engage through personalized, value-added content: Personalization is not as simple as using the correct name in the email. It requires that companies demonstrate an understanding of what customers want, and when and where they want it. They need to structure offers and interactions that respect customers’ preferences and provide tangible value. Thus, by positioning Aeroplan as a companion in achieving their personal travel goals, we were able to contextualize and personalize the conversation in a meaningful way. This creates appealing value-added content, catering to the specific travel goals of each customer and, at the same time, offer them a real and achievable way to make them reality faster.

This personalized campaign generated a new high in email open rates and response rates. Furthermore, the focus on targeted, personalized, emotive and engaging communications resulted in many new TD Aeroplan Visa credit cards, as well as two actionable insights:

  1. Members we know more about were more likely to respond to the personalization campaign. As such, it would make sense to continue encouraging new and existing Aeroplan members to tell us more about themselves.
  2. Status members were also more likely to respond. Aeroplan recognizes top accumulating members with Aeroplan status and perks. Given this new insight, continued communications to encourage growing status will engage members in ways that benefit both customers and partners.

By leveraging Aeroplan’s Goalsetter campaign to support TD’s credit cards offering, we connected with members on an emotional as well as transactional level. This personalization campaign was built on data analysis that ensured the delivery of meaningful content and offers towards a personal goal and one for which Aeroplan is there to support. Accurate segmentation ensured the relevancy of targeted communications. Implementing a customer-centric approach in collecting data and analytics to inform communications helps companies to connect with customers in a meaningful way, anticipate their needs, and reward and thank them for their loyalty.

Creating emotional connections with customers is not an easy endeavour but, as our experience with TD shows, using data and insights to inform and personalize interactions with a customer-first approach can go a long way in re-earning their engagement.

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of Direct Marketing.

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John Boynton

John Boynton is chief marketing officer at Aimia, a data-driven marketing and loyalty analytics company. He is responsible for the development of innovative products and marketing and leveraging valuable member insights to ensure a rich and relevant member experience for the Aeroplan program.