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: 10/27/2016

    It’s the Millennials’ world

    The premise that a silent competition exists between generational groups to garner the attention of brands is flawed.The attention afforded to Millennials by marketers over the recent past is founded in Millennial comfort with personal technology and their expressed desire for authenticity from their favorite brands. These characteristics have influenced the way many Boomers and Gen X'ers interact with brands. Effectively both groups have learned from Millennials and have incorporated similar approaches to making purchase decisions into their own lives.The lesson for retailers is how to become more proficient at data-driven marketing and how to incorporate new communications channels into their marketing efforts. Doing so will not jeopardize their relationship with Boomers, it will widen the net to become more relevant to all customers, regardless of their generational affiliation.
  • Posted on: 10/27/2016

    Driverless truck delivers 50K cans of Bud on supply run

    No matter was pre-disposed opinions I may hold regarding the potential of self-drivers, I have to respect the results of this successful test. The goal of using the technology to provide the human driver relief and extend his/her driving time can add to productivity for over-the-road truckers.I hope the goal is to use the technology to supplement the human "leadership" of the machine rather than replace the human altogether. My comment should not be interpreted as being scared of the technology. It is in recognition of the gradual process that should be adopted in implementing these changes.Public safety is too important to be in a hurry here. Using the tech to add to drive productivity makes sense and this test is a strong step forward.
  • Posted on: 10/27/2016

    Does talking to a human still matter?

    As much as I want to embrace the future of AI, I can't say that I know anyone who says "Let me talk to a machine." I do know many that say "I desperately want better customer service."When AI works well, the consumer will truly not care if they are talking with a machine or a person. Yes, they will cognitively know the difference, but as long as the decision-making process is efficient and serves the customer needs, the source of the voice on the other end of the line won't be so important.At the moment, there is a wide disparity in the efficacy of machine based customer service efforts. I am aware of technology in development that detects potential fraud based on voice analysis. When certain attributes of the customer's voice are identified, the caller is referred to a specialist. The transfer takes place without letting the customer know they have been tagged as a potential fraudster.This is an area where machine intelligence may be adopted even sooner than in direct communication with customers.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2016

    Will retailers lose retiring boomers to experiences?

    Developing a strategy to attract Boomers into the future, retailers should consider not just Boomers themselves, but their sphere of influence in their families. Boomers become grandparents and stay connected with two generations of family as a result.Retailers should continue to explore the creation of entertaining "how-tos" that support the purchase of a particular item, e.g. grilling classes for those buying a Big Green Egg. At the same time, creating connections across generations is a way to tap into the Boomer dollars that are spent as an investment in their own families. I like the Lego example suggested by one of our panelists and think there are many more across games, sports and even electronics.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2016

    Will the Galaxy Note 7 snafu send Samsung up in flames?

    The visibility of the problem is widespread, as flight attendants on a flight last week included a special message directed to passengers holding a Galaxy Note 7. Beyond placing them in airplane mode, passengers were asked to turn them completely off during the duration of the flight.Samsung has the opportunity to recover quickly if it finds a fix for these devices and communicates the plan for repair clearly to consumers. Long term damage may be linked to how consumers evaluate the root cause of the problem. A spectrum of opinions will be drawn depending on whether the root cause is faulty design, a bad batch of batteries or another unknown problem.Also in favor of Samsung is that the immediacy of information dissemination online often highlights the "latest" big story, meaning that if Samsung does its part, consumers will soon move on to another headline.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2016

    Why are retailers struggling with Big Data?

    The potential of Big Data is enormous and retailers (or other marketers) who seek to grapple with the entirety of that potential may fail to execute well in any area.I am an advocate of collecting just the data that you plan to use in a thoughtful manner. Identifying specific objectives and customer behaviors needed to reach those objectives leads to creation of a short list of data-enabled offers that can be measured for success.In easy language, keep it simple, narrow the field of what data you collect and make sure you execute well on specific promotions, campaigns, or offers. Success in small steps creates the foundation for a richer embrace of the potential of Big Data.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2016

    Is a grocery price war inevitable?

    A focus on customer service would be a solid way to navigate the deflationary time predicted to be ahead. As an example from my local market, I have noticed that while Aldi has highly competitive prices on selected items compared to competitors, they often staff with only one cashier station open.The result is longer wait times for checkout, meaning the consumer effectively must "pay" for the lower-priced product with another currency -- time. Knowing that some customers shop Aldi only for price, some segments will not be impacted, but Aldi would be well advised to monitor customer feedback.Great customer service can take the consumer eye slightly off the price and grocers fighting for market share can use this strategy to gain market share in every environment.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2016

    Amazon and Fanatics play ‘anytime, anywhere, anyhow’ commerce on game day

    Amazon is increasing the presence and importance of its brand through these real-time events. What might have been a "sponsorship" some years ago is now transformed into a sale and service event that enhances the fan experience.Given the NFL control of the game experience on and off the field, I am interested to know if Amazon needed the league's approval to hold this event.
  • 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.

Contact Bill