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The CRMC 2019 Recap – Retailers, Loyalty, and Fireworks

Another CRMC (The Customer Relationship Management Conference) has come and gone. And once again, it did not disappoint.

We heard some incredible insights from top retail executives. There were ample networking opportunities and unique entertainment options at night.

As one of the premier events targeting the customer loyalty and CRM industry, I would highly recommend CRMC for anyone in retail marketing.

It was difficult to pick just a few of the best experiences to talk about, but here is my recap of CRMC 2019 in case you missed it.


Clarus Commerce fireworks cruise at CRMC 2019.

Day 1: Wednesday

Hope Tannenbaum, Sr. Director – CRM, Loyalty & Research at Foot Locker, shared more details on its revamped loyalty program. The company’s focus with the program is to solidify customer relationships and reward those customers in new and unique ways.

Many retailers now realize that simply providing discounts to loyalty members is not going to cut it.

Foot Locker has stepped up in a big way, with activities where you can earn Foot Locker points and a rewards catalog with member-only items, merchandise, and experiences.

Foot Locker served as a prime example of a recurring CRMC theme this year around enhancing existing loyalty programs.

That evening, Clarus Commerce hosted a boat trip on Lake Michigan, complete with retail executives, vendor partners, fireworks, cocktails, and some unexpected weather!

Despite a dense fog rolling onto Lake Michigan just 45 minutes prior to our launch, the ship’s crew members, clearly wearing their sales and marketing hats, assured us this would be an amazing experience.

And they didn’t lie.

You haven’t experienced a fireworks show until you’ve seen them in fog!

We were surrounded by a multi-colored haze for 30 minutes before huddling under the ship to keep warm. The bar opened and everyone had a chance to network and meet some brilliant marketers.


Buddy Teaster and Julie Roy Speak at CRMC 2019.

Day 2: Thursday

There were so many amazing sessions on Thursday. However, I’m partial to talking about the “cause marketing married to loyalty” session with Buddy Teaster from Soles4Souls and Julie Roy from DSW.

These are two organizations I greatly respect, support, and follow.

They shared the story of how their partnership built a philanthropic component into the DSW Rewards program.

This component has been incredibly successful, driving higher purchase frequency and engagement for DSW. It’s also helped millions of people in dire need of shoes, which in many cases, has a profound impact on their health, happiness, and future success.

With Millennials more focused on giving back than other generations and supporting those retailers who believe in similar causes, I expect more retailers to follow in the footsteps of DSW.

Read more about how corporate social responsibility affects customer loyalty.

On Thursday evening, there was plenty of Chicago entertainment offered up by various vendor partners at the show.

After scanning the many choices, I decided to check out the 250ok event, featuring a trio of musicians led by Kyle Cook from Matchbox 20, and it didn’t disappoint.

The intimate environment and acoustic show allowed everyone to feel like a part of the performance. Kyle and the band were amazing, entertaining the loyalty and CRM experts in the room with their own songs, as well as hits from Matchbox 20.


Frank Neumann and Clay Walton-House speak at CRMC 2019.

Day 3: Friday

CRMC officials saved the best session, in my opinion, for last.

I was particularly stoked to see the gnarly presentation by Frank Neumann from Vans and Clay Walton-House from Lenati (please note my shameless attempt at dropping some skateboarding lingo).

They shared great insights about Vans Family and its unparalleled loyalty program that includes personalized experiences, exclusive members-only products, and unique rewards to support Vans overall company vision.

Frank also touched upon the significant importance of the company’s philanthropic efforts in giving back to its Vans communities.


Loyalty Programs Are Alive and Well

Another CRMC is in the books and the state of retail customer loyalty programs is alive and well.

I’m energized by hearing what amazing things retailers are doing to revamp their customer loyalty programs. I’m also excited at the prospect of helping support many other retailers interested in enhancing their customer loyalty experience.

I can’t wait to see what will happen in the next year. I am already looking forward to CRMC in June 2020 back in The Windy City.

What was your favorite experience at CRMC 2019?


ebbo helps brands achieve their customer loyalty goals with full-service, end-to-end solutions and also creates original educational content straight from the experts to help loyalty marketers stay on the cutting edge of customer engagement.

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