How to Build Customer Loyalty By Understanding Your Company’s Data

Guest: Dani Cushion Chief Marketing Officer, Cardlytics

When it comes to building customer loyalty, Dani Cushion believes that the creativity is in the data. In her role as CMO of Cardlytics, she and her team work under the power of “purchase intelligence,” or the ability to know where your customers are buying when they’re not buying from you. As Dani has learned throughout her career as a marketer, it’s all about defining who is loyal and figuring out why.

On this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite, Drew and Dani discuss why defining your existing loyal customers can help you understand where you’re missing profits, as well as why using insights on aggregated data doesn’t mean creative marketing is dead. As Dani admits, “it ain’t sexy,” but working to have a extraordinary customer experience will result in unmatched loyalty.

Get to know your customers by following this advice – listen here.

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What You’ll Learn

“Defining your loyals” is step one in the process of building repeat business

Dani explains the importance of “defining your loyals” on this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite. She shares that one of Cardlytics’ clients earned an additional $6 million in sales, simply because they identified and retargeted a segment of their existing repeat customers. By knowing who your potential loyals are and the problem they’re trying to solve, you can tap into a new area of business.

Gathering insights from your data doesn’t equal the death of creative marketing

Cardlytics’ success is built on their ability to combine purchase data and creative marketing. In order to build customer loyalty, marketing teams need to use both strategies. Just because you’re aware of your customer’s data does not mean you should stop reaching out to them with engaging and creative marketing stories. Drew and Dani both agree that “the creativity is in how you use the data.”

2 do’s and 1 don’t for CMOs looking to build customer loyalty

Dani’s top 2 “do’s” for CMOs seeking a greater ability to build brand loyalty are to always look at the broad picture of loyal customers and to listen to what they’re saying. Without an accurate picture of what your customers want and their past buying habits, you won’t make much progress. She also encourages CMOs to never be scared to try something new. The most innovative marketing strategies to build loyalty only began because someone was willing to take a risk – and that someone can be you!


  • [0:30] Loyalty and customer acquisition are both essential topics on Renegade Thinkers Unite
  • [1:51] Dani’s Renegade Rapid Fire segment
  • [15:54] The importance of building loyalty into your marketing plan
  • [20:00] Digging into the purchase behaviors for your existing customers
  • [25:35] Using analytical insights to understand customer loyalty
  • [33:13] Dani explains Cardlytics’ in-house loyalty program
  • [37:30] 2 do’s and 1 don’t for CMOs looking to expand their customer loyalty knowledge

Connect With Dani:

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Drew

Meet the Guest

Dani Cushion is the Chief Marketing Officer at Cardlytics, where she leads the company’s marketing and communications efforts. Dani brings more than 15 years of experience in global brand and agency marketing roles. Prior to joining Cardlytics, she ran brand marketing, research, events, communications, and product marketing at mobile ad platform Millennial Media as the senior vice president of global marketing and communications. Previously, Dani oversaw partnership marketing at Sirius XM, promoting the company’s major media partnerships, including MLB, NHL and Oprah. She began her career in sports marketing & media at Major League Soccer, Swiss-based ISL, and Omnicom agency Millsport / The Marketing Arm. Dani graduated from Lehigh University, with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, and minors in Philosophy and Economics.

Quotes from Dani Cushion

  • If you're not inquisitive as a CMO, if you're not building bridges, you're probably not being as impactful as you could be.
  • Don't be afraid to be creative and try something new.
  • CMOs need to take a more macro, whole-wallet view of what else their customers are doing when they're not shopping with you.
  • Bots do not have bank accounts. Your customers do, so direct impressions towards them.

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