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Every day, Canadian consumers are willingly providing their personal data to major brands through loyalty programs, digital footprints, marketing communications and more. They understand the value exchange that these programs are built on. Consumers join a program for the perks, and in exchange, they provide access to their shopping behaviour to help brands provide a more valuable experience.

However, if you ask consumers, most would say they are not getting fair value in exchange for their data. Many brands are capturing data without having the infrastructure or capability to translate the vast amount of data points into relevant and meaningful value for their customers. They promise a simple, relevant and valuable experience, but aren’t following through. 

As Canada’s most recognized loyalty program, with more than two thirds of Canadian households actively participating, AIR MILES understands this disparity between customer expectation vs. reality. As an industry leader in the loyalty sector and expert in big data, AIR MILES is creating win-win relationships that provide value for its coalition of partners and its 11-million active Collectors. And it’s doing so while rewarding Canadians every two seconds through innovating on its strongest asset — Collector data.

Innovation in response to consumer needs

Since 1992, AIR MILES has been part of Canadians’ everyday experience, and the program has the unmatched ability to deliver value to its partners and Collectors alike. With a coalition of over 300 leading Canadian and global brands, including Sobeys, Shell, Rexall, and LCBO, AIR MILES Partners represent 80% of Canadian household spend. This network provides the framework for AIR MILES to collect, segment and act on big data in ways that create meaningful and rewarding offers, communications, and benefits for AIR MILES Collectors.

“We strongly believe in the value exchange we offer our Collectors, and the corresponding impact it delivers to our Partners,” says Rachel MacQueen, Senior VP of Marketing and Collector Experience at AIR MILES. “It’s not enough to understand our Collectors. We need to use that insight to deliver the right offer, to the right Collector, at the right time. The leading-edge work we are doing in machine learning and automation is enabling us to deliver personalized experiences at scale ensuring both Collectors and Partners get great value from the Program.

If you ask consumers, most would say they are not getting fair value in exchange for their data.

Using AI and machine learning to improve the AIR MILES Collector experience

Data analytics are among the driving forces in AIR MILES evolution. The AIR MILES data platform allows the collection and synthesis of 6,000 attributes per Collector, enabling a richer, more personalized experience through offers, marketing campaigns, and in-store experiences. 

Data collection at this scale benefits the consumer through a personalised experience that translates this data exchange into meaningful value for consumers. Just ask fans of beloved brands such as Amazon, Netflix. Hudson’s Bay, or Nike. The way these brands are enhancing the customer experience — where product recommendations and individual experiences are now table stakes — is turning casual customers into loyal fans due in large part to how they are collecting and segmenting data. 

AIR MILES has an intimate understanding of individual interests and habits of Canadian consumers, which allows the loyalty program to recommend experiences that reflect its customers lifestyles and delivers more value back to the Collector. While it seems simple, it’s a premise that is all the more impressive given that over 85% of companies’ big data projects struggle or fail.1

“Looking ahead, we’re planning to implement significant changes to the program in 2020 that we know will disrupt the loyalty landscape and excite Canadians coast-to-coast,” says MacQueen. “We’re tapping into our proprietary tools and technology and responding with a brand evolution that will cement AIR MILES’ leadership position within the Canadian loyalty landscape and drive even more value back to our Collectors. We can’t wait to share that with all of Canada.” 


1Gartner Analyst – Nick Heudecker, November 10, 2017

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