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Customer Relationship Management Conference: Key Takeaways from CRMC 2024 

The ebbo team at CRMC 2024

The ebbo team is hot off the heels of 2024’s Customer Relationship Management Conference (CRMC), and this year did not disappoint. Held in Chicago, the theme was “Humanity > Technology” — an energizing concept that drew in over 300 marketing minds from across the country. If you missed the buzz, never fear — we’ve gathered the hottest topics and coolest takeaways you can begin implementing within our own marketing and loyalty strategies. 

1. Data-Driven Discovery with a Creative Twist 

Gone are the days of generic cross-sell attempts. A key topic we saw repeatedly was the power of data-informed discovery, but with a creative twist. Speakers emphasized using customer data to understand preferences and create targeted, humanized cross-sell opportunities in more engaging ways. Think: personalized games, experiences and challenges that incentivize customers to buy from multiple categories based on their purchase history.  Mining data to create a more personalized discovery experience gives customers new — and often more enticing — ways to connect and interact with your brand. 

2. Linked Loyalty: Frictionless Convenience, Deeper Engagement 

The concept of “Linked Loyalty” was another exciting takeaway. This approach is all about convenience: customers link their credit or debit card to a brand’s loyalty program for automatic discounts and rewards at the point of sale. This ends the need for remembering loyalty cards, codes or logins, creating a smooth, seamless customer journey. Likewise, with linked loyalty, customers can go beyond discounts by choice, creating opportunity for deeper brand experience and more personalized rewards and benefits.  

3. First-Party Data: The New Loyalty Program MVP

The power of first party data took center stage at CRMC 2024, and the value for loyalty programs and beyond generated a lot of exciting noise. First party data collected directly from customers can supplement data gleaned from other sources, creating a 360-view based on preferences and actions they’ve taken with the brand. Personality quizzes, engaging trivia and games, targeted surveys and promotions not only reinforce customer connections, but offer up valuable insights to create highly-personalized loyalty programs and more effective marketing campaigns overall. 

4. Paid Loyalty Has Entered the Chat 

Brands are catching on to the concept of paid loyalty. These programs bundle up their best benefits in exchange for an ongoing fee, encouraging increased purchase frequency and average order value, and adding new revenue streams to a brand’s bottom line. Furthermore, by offering both a free and paid tier within a loyalty program, brands give their customers agency in choosing the level that’s right for them. Panera Bread’s Unlimited Sip Club stood out as a shining example, not only enticing members with valuable unlimited benefits, but allowing them to integrate a seamless customer experience across various channels.  

5. AI: Supercharging Personalization — and Customer Decisions   

From Anthropologie to Zara, companies are increasingly integrating AI into their CRM tech stack. CRMC sessions showcased the power of AI in several ways, from guiding customer decisions and product discovery to digging deeper into data to understand customer behavior. The result? Effective, hyper-personalized marketing campaigns targeted with the best channels and messaging for each customer.  

Putting it Into Practice 

Overall, the need to acclimate to this new tech-based frontier was loud and clear — but keeping it human by building personalized, meaningful experiences and digital trust was equally important. With our top takeaways in mind, here are three actions that brands can take to add a human touch to their loyalty programs, starting now: 

  • Go beyond the expected. Offer choice with a tiered program that meets customers where they are, create unique experiences that foster engagement, and surprise them with exclusive offers and thoughtful perks. 
  • Get Meaningful: Craft personalized touchpoints along the way that nurture connection and leave a lasting impression — like challenges based on preferences and purchase history.  
  • Fuel Engagement: Don’t just aim for one-off interactions. Develop ways to connect with customers monthly, weekly or even daily with engaging rewards-earning activities and promotional overlays like sweepstakes and gamification.  

Want to learn more? At ebbo, we’ve been innovating loyalty since 2001 and we’re ready to help. Contact us today to learn the latest trends and strategies to supercharge your existing loyalty program — or build one that’s net new. Get started today. 


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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ebbo™ is an all-in-one loyalty company. With our data driven strategy, full-service approach, and the unwavering support of the people behind the platform, our dedicated team will work with you to understand your loyalty goals, innovate solutions and help you build customer engagement on repeat.

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