Why PK has become a leader in loyalty
PK has recently been named a leader by Forrester Research in “The Forrester Wave™: Loyalty Service Providers, Q3 2021.” The report provides an in-depth look at some of the most significant loyalty program service providers, “shows how each provider measures up and helps B2C marketing professionals select the right one for their needs.” Each company’s current offering, strategy, and market presence were evaluated as part of the process, and PK received the highest possible scores across ten criteria.
We sat down with Martin Mehalchin, EVP of Retail and Consumer at PK, to learn his impressions of the recent Forrester Wave report and to better understand the reasons why Forrester has recognized PK for this honor.
What is “The Forrester Wave™: Loyalty Service Providers, Q3 2021” report?
“The Forrester Wave™: Loyalty Service Providers, Q3 2021” report helps companies understand what vendors exist in the loyalty marketing space and identify which ones align with that company’s needs. Each company’s current offering, strategy, and market presence were evaluated as part of the process. Forrester Research is the analyst firm with the most credibility in the CX space. As such, the report is considered by many to be the gold standard coverage of loyalty services. PK’s loyalty services are decoupled from any propriety technology platform, and we work with many of the modular platforms out there, so it seems to me that this Wave is squarely focused on what we do, which is to provide services around loyalty.
Why do you think PK’s inclusion in the report is such a big deal?
As I mentioned earlier, this report is considered by many to be the gold standard of coverage of the loyalty space. The 12 most significant firms that are involved in loyalty services were included in the consideration set for recognition. It’s a very thorough process, and as you can see in the report, the providers are evaluated on 26 criteria. It includes a rigorous customer reference process as well, so we see it as a reflection of our happy clients and the successful programs we bring to market. In my opinion, It’s really a badge of honor for the firm.
What, in your opinion, sets our loyalty services approach apart from other vendors?
PK orients on loyalty as an outcome, with customer loyalty being the end goal of what clients drive as a business. We don’t limit our thinking to traditional loyalty mechanics like points and tiers. In my opinion, we pioneered thinking about loyalty in the broadest sense. But more specifically, I think we provide a more left-to-right offering—not only strategy and design, but also technology advisory, integration into organizations’ overall marketing technology environments, and data and analytics to understand the behavior behind customers’ loyalty. We don’t bring a proprietary technology to our engagements, so a PK loyalty client can select any technology that’s the best fit for it.
Why do you think that our clients love working with PK?
I believe that the clients who love working with PK share our vision and philosophy around loyalty as an outcome and want to think about their programs differently. In my opinion, they tend to focus on innovation and implementing a program that’s flexible and adaptable, which will grow with consumer needs over time, rather than remaining static. As you can see in the report, “Client references refer to PK as ’incredibly responsive’ and like its proactive thought leadership.”
Where do you think the loyalty landscape is headed in the future?
We think that the trend towards membership-based programs that focus on experiences and access to products will continue to grow, and more traditional programs that are based around points, coupons, and tiers will become stagnant or shrink. With that, we’re focused on working with our clients on what we call connected membership. This includes companies in an industry that partner together on their loyalty membership programs, such as REI, The North Face, and Garmin joining together on a membership offering. Another example is how Nike brought their membership experience to Foot Locker stores—this is a nascent trend right now, and one that we believe will continue to grow. We also think that loyalty will become relevant to more industries beyond retail, travel, and financial services, to areas such as healthcare and media, with the move to subscription models and products like Disney+. We think loyalty will have increasing importance in those businesses.
About the intervieweeMartin Mehalchin is EVP for Retail and Consumer at PK, the experience engineering firm. He has dedicated his career to working with executives and managers to help them define their strategies and then translate those strategies into results. Among the clients Martin has worked with are Nike, Atlantic Records, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Expedia, Victoria’s Secret, Adidas and DuPont. Martin is a Board member and Chair of the Marketing Committee for the North Cascades Institute. His thought leadership has been featured in MarTech Advisor and Retail Customer Experience.