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: 10/10/2016

    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.
  • 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.

Contact Bill