Bill Hanifin

CEO, Hanifin Loyalty LLC

Bill Hanifin brings over 25 years experience encompassing customer centric marketing, payment systems, and corporate banking to benefit the clients he serves. Bill has concentrated on developing and implementing Customer Strategies designed to address a range of business objectives from account acquisition and sales performance to improved customer retention and increased share of wallet and brand preference.

Bill has worked with companies in the airline, banking, hotel, retail, telecom, and business services sectors providing a range of services including Strategic Marketing Plans, Project Management, Financial Measurement, and Operational Solutions. A partial Client list includes American Express, BBVA Bancomer, Banco BHD, FirstCaribbean Int’l Bank, Grupo Posadas (largest hotel chain in Mexico), JM Associates Federal Credit Union, LaQuinta Inns, Scotiabank, Visa, and

Bill is a Founding Member of the Customer Strategy Network, a global network of independent relationship and loyalty marketing practitioners. He authors Loyalty Truth, a blog covering all aspects of Customer Centric marketing, and serves as North American Contributing Editor for The Wise Marketer, a global publication covering the loyalty marketing industry.

Bill is an accomplished speaker and trainer and is a requested presenter at industry trade conferences sponsored by Airline Information, SourceMedia, the Direct Marketing Association, Visa, Loyalty 360, and the Institute for International Research. He has led public and privately organized workshops in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, EU, and Asia Pacific regions.

Bill is a prolific writer on the subjects of Millennial, Loyalty, and Relationship marketing. In addition to his blog Loyalty Truth, his articles and quotes have been published in American Banker, Colloquy, Cards & Payments, Card Technology,, DM News, Fox, Smart Money, and

  • Posted on: 07/14/2016

    Publix buys its way into the Richmond market

    Rather than just port its Florida-bred culture to Virginia, Publix should take this opportunity to fill in some gaps that exist in its home-state model.Publix stores do not offer a gathering place for shoppers, i.e. a cafe for coffee and snacks, nor does it offer a fresh food outlet for lunch and early dinner. Wegmans and others do very well by filling this need and Publix will be well served to expand its model in this new market. In doing so, maybe it can fix the increasingly long wait times at the Deli. The irony in Florida is that Publix subs are fantastic, but the wait times make lunch for workers on the go untenable.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2016

    Amazon declares victory – Prime Day II concludes

    Although I am tempted to say that sales figures are the most important metric by which to measure Prime Day, I think we are principally witnessing the reinforcement of a powerful brand through Prime Day 2016. What other retailer could create a sales event which is likely to stand on the calendar with equal significance to consumers as Black Friday, Boxing Day, etc.?I fully agree with my fellow contributor who said that Amazon is becoming a "way of life." Triggering a spike in Prime memberships is the metric to watch to validate that statement. Amazon understands the linkage between Prime memberships and profitability, as I once read (believe attribution to be Javelin research) that "Every 1 million new Amazon Prime members adds 1.5% to total revenue."That is a figure to be tracked by market analysts and provides evidence of how smart customer marketing and development of customer loyalty can be directly correlated to profitable growth and market cap.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2016

    Forget Prime Day – It’s Cow Appreciation Day

    Only a handful of brands are capable of succeeding with a promotion of this nature. Those brands must have the capacity to engender "Cult Loyalty." This a term coined by Barry Kirk at Maritz Motivation. You can find a copy of his "4 Dimensions" white paper at their website for a full take on his views.Chick-fil-A is one of those brands. Their store opening celebrations are legendary in generating large audiences of passionate fans. In a world of selfie-crazed consumers, I can see lots of people filling up their Snapchat and Instagram streams with pictures of their visits on "Cow" day.My only concern is the execution of the promotion. I trust that Chick-fil-A allowed sufficient time for promotion. The greatest value of the promotion might be from the lead-up time to the event. Consumers preparing, sharing and publishing photos of their planned activity might generate as much value for Chick-fil-A as what takes place on the day of the event.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2016

    Do robots make sense for online delivery?

    Other than crowding the streets with these little minions, and the probability of package theft and machine vandalization, I can't see any issues here!Beyond the sarcasm, I wonder if the better societal investment would be to optimize a model similar to "Delivery Dudes" in order to provide employment opportunity for people in lower-wage ranges as opposed to pushing this element of retailing to a mechanized solution.Let's not forget the importance of customer experience in retailing. Self-checkout and delivery by drones and robots takes one opportunity for communication and service away from the retailer. Once the cool-factor evaporates, I question the longer-term benefits of this strategy.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2016

    Are self-checkouts dooming impulse purchases?

    I do think shoppers adopt a different mindset depending on how they check out.When checking out with a cashier in a traditional manner, the shopper thinks "they do for me." Absent interest in validating how items are rung up or discounts taken correctly, shoppers have time to let their minds wander and impulse purchases are more likely to occur.Shoppers choosing to use self-checkout have an underlying motivation. It is probably related to speed, convenience and some degree of personalizing their experience. In this case, they are thinking "I do for me" (ignore the poor grammar, as I illustrate this in raw thought). In this, the shopper is more "heads-down" and consumed with the task of checkout.To create any sort of enhanced experience with self-checkout, a retailer would have to create a winding queue (think finisher's chute if you are a runner) where the shopper passes by several displays on their way to the machines.The way most self-checkouts are configured, shoppers are thinking just about completing the job and getting out of the store, not adding anything else to the cart.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2016

    Sears extends iconic brands in surprising ways

    Looking at this question from a practical point of view, Sears is wise to pursue further monetization of its core product brands as an answer to its otherwise flagging fortunes.Mr. Lempert has made structural changes to the Sears business by closing stores and shifting ownership of real estate between entities. As a further protection of the core assets, it seems a sensible strategy to accentuate the positive in the world that is Sears. DieHard, Craftsman and Kenmore are strong brands and they can not only be extended through additional product introduction, but also sold through external channels.The future value of Sears as an entity may come down to the value these brands create.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2016

    Walmart promotes and takes heat for ‘Made in USA’ goods

    With the risks of brand damage visibly apparent to Walmart executives, it would seem a problem that could be easily resolved.I'm a believer that most problems of this nature can be resolved if there is willingness among executives to make it happen, and if the resources are committed to execute an agreed upon plan.Why would Walmart allow this gap to continue to exist? Maybe only their executive knows. I would like to see RetailWire interview Walmart executives and get their take on the answer.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2016

    What does it take to deliver on the promise of customer centricity?

    Successfully becoming more customer-centric is a matter of willingness to invest and maintain commitment to a strategic plan. It sounds so simple, but don't miss the subtlety here.Too many brands continue to talk the talk, but limit their potential for success through intermittent investment in data analytics, employee training, or their customer marketing initiatives. Becoming "customer-centric" is not a promotional plan that one runs over a particular fiscal year. It is an enterprise wide commitment to excellence that demands resources from many disciplines within the company.As you evaluate this general statement, think about how many retailers talk about customer-centric strategies and invest, but later get off the track due to operational or financial pressure. In those moments of truth, we see retailers, grocers and others return to promotional campaigns highlighting coupons, discounts, and price driven marketing. While giving those benefits to customers are beneficial, they will always be tactics and do not sum up to make an organization customer-centric.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2016

    What’s the next step for content marketing?

    I suggest five key areas where retailers can focus to improve their approach to content marketing.
    1. Keep your agenda trustworthy: Strive to strike a more effective balance between promotion and hype.
    2. Resist hyperbole: Challenge yourself to find more creative words to describe yourself to customers, and work harder to home in on specifics that differentiate you from the rest of the market.
    3. Be aware of your volume: Resist buying into the belief that more noise leads to results.
    4. Be yourself: Resist the urge to sell ahead of capabilities. Your content should reflect what you can deliver and execute with excellence.
    5. Personalize your killer instinct: There are many ways to express your focus, intensity and commitment to excellence in business. Find your own way to express your killer instinct. Remember that while the marketplace might tell you humility is a sign of weakness, it can in fact be a conscious way to express strength and confidence.
    Content and social media marketing strategies are meant to establish the brand as knowledgeable, authoritative, helpful and friendly, leading to creation of trusted bonds between brand and consumer.The byproduct of this trusted relationship is winning share of mind with current and potential customers. One day, maybe today, next month, or next year, that share of mind can pay off as the consumer gives an unconscious "right of first refusal" to the brand when ready to make a purchase.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2016

    How important is ‘place’ among the P’s of retail marketing?

    Store location is critical to success from two angles. Customers must be able to experience the brand promise and sample enough product line breadth to become engaged. Retailers need to balance the need to create this customer connection with real estate and operational costs.Co-location of stores as suggested in George's article seems to serve both objectives well. This is not to say that all stores should be co-located, but there certainly are markets where greater customer impact can be combined with lower costs to render optimal results.A co-located store can take on the role of "showroom" and, if the experience in the store is well executed, can be the catalyst to trigger more online purchases.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2016

    Does Publix have an unrealistic share of Florida’s grocery market?

    I don't think there is such a thing as an "unreasonably high market share" depending on how that phrase is defined. Publix has earned its market share over the years through great customer service and smart merchandising.To say that Publix's market share is "unreasonably high" is akin to suggesting that Usain Bolt wins an unreasonably high percentage of the races he enters. Usain Bolt has just been better than his competition over the past few years and the same can be said of Publix over the past two to three decades.I don't think Publix needs to worry much about Safeway's small entry into the state of Florida. I do think it needs to think about evolving its customer experience forward to anticipate potential entry by Wegmans or another chain that offers an environment where customers can sit, sip and check their email in a cafe.Publix has prospered on its association with core values in Florida. It is the last brand standing from Eckerd Drugs, Barnett Bank and the like. Now would be a great time for Publix to look at its future through the lens of competing not just with others in the same state but beyond its borders.
  • Posted on: 06/17/2016

    ‘Got Cycling?’

    The idea of specialty retailers banding together to generate interest in their focus area makes sense. In the case of the cycling industry, the success of this campaign will depend on how well the organizers identify the root cause of cycling's alleged decline over recent past.For example, the number one issue that holds many back from getting on a bike is safety. The number of bicycle deaths in the State of Florida have spiked over the past two years and motorists too often get away without taking full responsibility for running over cyclists while under the influence -- of a substance or just a mobile phone. Statistics are similar in other states. Let's see what transpires in the aftermath of the recent Kalamazoo incident.All of this is a way to say that the group should focus on fun and getting the wind in the face of the consumer, but should also embrace a practical approach to helping the average person feel safer on two wheels. That might open up another season of bicycle happiness for cycling retailers and their customers.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2016

    Under Armour links purchase recommendations to fitness data

    The potential to present offers to users of the various "My" apps is reasonably clear. Realizing the potential from this opportunity is tied to how well UA rationalizes the group of brands mentioned in the lead post to this discussion.As a user of MyFitnessPal and MapMyRide, I have a clear understanding of the benefits from each app. Introducing Endomondo and UA Record into the mix confuses me.My recommendation would be for UA to spend time creating a fitness portal or some other method to unify these brands and provide clear benefit to people based on their fitness pursuits and interests. By doing so, engagement with the portal (app) will be greater and more sustainable. The resulting data from the interactions will be more powerful and in turn UA can create an offer mix that will trigger great results.
  • Posted on: 06/13/2016

    Walmart Canada to stop taking Visa at the checkout

    The move by Walmart Canada to cease accepting Visa cards is part of Walmart's long-term strategy to reduce payment processing costs. The question is, what is their real objective and, once achieved, will it benefit consumers?One should assume that Walmart and Visa have already negotiated heavily and that Walmart enjoys the best, or nearly the best, merchant discount rates from Visa among all retail. If that is true, then the decision to drop Visa in Canada speaks more to a longer-term goal, that Walmart wants to take the banks out of the picture altogether.Walmart was a supporter of MCX for several years and only recently pulled away from that group as they announced development of their own mobile payment solution. Maybe the goal for Walmart is to build on the motivations for MCX, but go one step further by developing, owning and operating its own payment system. It may believe it can sell this system to other retailers and create a business model at the intersection of MCX and Amazon Payments.Whatever transpires, consumers should know that in every instance in the world where interchange regulations have been put into place, there is no evidence that retailers pass the savings along to their customers in the form of lower prices. The argument of "we have to pass card fees to the consumer" rings hollow when savings are not shared so willingly.In the short term, there will be much confusion at checkout with lots of confused and angry customers blaming Walmart, not Visa, for this move. While the giants of payments and retail battle it out, consumers just want to buy diapers and beer and get on with their lives.
  • Posted on: 06/13/2016

    Walmart Canada to stop taking Visa at the checkout

    Bob has hit on a key point: that there is inconsistency among retailers in negotiations with card payment networks on a regional basis. It is easier to explain Costco dropping Amex in the U.S. than Walmart Canada dropping Visa. The logic of these moves are based on pure economics, but that logic falls apart seeing Walmart Canada continue to accept Amex.For our customer-centric group here, we all probably agree that the customer stands by with a dazed look of misunderstanding while the big retailers and payment companies fight their battles. Fortunately, consumers have short memories and probably won't punish Walmart in the long term.

Contact Bill