30 Sep PnP Loyalty: built by a marketer for marketers passionate about customers and data
Marketers have a passion for data. You can’t do marketing properly without it.
Evan Brody is a marketer with that passion for data. He is the founder of PnP Loyalty (which stands for Plug-n-Play Loyalty), a company in the 2015 RevTech accelerator class. I had the pleasure of talking with him last week about his company, marketing, loyalty programs, data, and entrepreneurship.
Evan sees loyalty programs as an opportunity for companies to better understand individual guest’s existing behaviors and then provide them with relevant offers and communications. Regular customers already like some of your products, which is half the battle of sales; loyalty programs are a way to learn what else they want so you can get them to visit more often and buy more of what you sell.
Old school “Mom and Pop” businesses often had a personal relationship with each customer and knew what each wanted or when to give out a comp or other perk. Their offers would create new behaviors and introduce new products. However, that idea needs to scale for a larger operation. You still need to get to know your customers, but purchase data provides a different way to get the same insights as a single store.
Evan gave me a few examples of how his product could help mid-size fast-casual food chains (25-1000 locations) or point-of-sale retail shops:
- Let’s say you have a group of regulars who only buy coffee from 6-9am. Most likely, they buy breakfast elsewhere or eat it at home since they are not buying it from you. What you’d want to do is give them an offer to get them to try your breakfast items. Then watch as pastries and breakfast sandwiches start being added to that regular cup of coffee.
- Or let’s say you have another group who consistently buys 1 sandwich from you each week. Create a challenge offer where if someone buys 5 sandwiches within the next 4 weeks he gets one free. Watch as a portion of that group begins to buy a sandwich multiple times per week instead of just one time. Through this offer, the customer has an incentive to dine at that sandwich shop over others and the new habit frequently extends beyond the promotion.
PnP Loyalty gets you access to data to make these programs easy to implement. Evan and his team created algorithms that use point of sale data from the register tied to individual customers and, based on 8 categories, automatically segments your customers into 5 tiers. The system detects trends and patterns so you can see who is purchasing, what and how often they are buying, where they are buying it, and then you can create rules for these groups to buy differently. It’s not “big brother”—marketers aren’t looking at individual customers; to the marketer, they are grouped into segments with similar traits and characteristics, creating a persona. Evan further clarified, “It’s about understanding opportunities within groups of your customers, so that a better more relevant relationship can be created, versus simply spamming your entire database in hopes that someone wants what you are promoting.”
This product has been a vision-in-process in Evan’s mind for a long time. While he ran the Slurpee® loyalty program at 7-Eleven Stores, he was able to experiment with these ideas, but he didn’t feel he was able to connect to customers how he wanted and influence change in purchase behavior.
People would sign up for the program and then redeem the unique codes on their cups to earn prizes. Unfortunately, the program depended on the individual to enter his own data and many would redeem multiple codes at the same time. He didn’t know when they purchased, how often they purchased, or what else they purchased with their Slurpee® drink. He only knew that they made a purchase. The program performed well, but it didn’t influence change for the customers or introduce new products – it was really just a rewards program.
He further experimented with loyalty in 7-Eleven’s innovation group, but progress was slow at a giant company. During this time, he started collecting requirements for how his dream system would work. This list became his checklist to evaluate CRM software and determine the right system to buy.
Needless to say, none compared to his vision.
He moved on to run marketing at WhichWhich, where he continued loyalty work. It was a faster pace, but the same limitations remained—tools and data. He continued adding to his vision, gathering requirements as they came up—and still, nothing matched it.
He decided to create his dream tool—PnP Loyalty, which leverages the requirements he was gathering over the years.
We talked about what it’s like to take that leap to pursue your dream and be an entrepreneur. Evan acknowledged that he always wanted to have his own company. But, he also admitted that being an entrepreneur, although rewarding, can be scary.
“It’s all on you to succeed. If you succeed, it’s from something you did. But if you fail, it’s from something you did or did not do. And there are days where returning to the safety net of being an employee sounds like a great idea, but you stick with your company, your dream.”
About a year and a half ago, he started creating PnP Loyalty, the product. In February, he went full-time with his business and was selected to participate in RevTech. He recently presented his company at pitch day, and is actively talking to prospective clients and investors. His team is growing with hopes of bringing on several full-time employees by the end of the year.
He’s leveraging the RevTech network to take PnP Loyalty to the next level. He’s now talking to installation partners about how to most effectively get his product installed at multiple locations—up to 700+ for a current deal, and learning from experts what works and what doesn’t. PnP Loyalty is on it’s way to becoming part of every fast casual and retail store experience.
PnP Loyalty would be a valuable tool for any marketer. In today’s world, you need to know your customer – and you can only do that through data. Evan and his team have made customer data from point of sale systems accessible, easy to understand and actionable. I can’t wait to experience a loyalty program from a PnP Loyalty customer and feel like I’m buying from the local mom and pop store.