Under the Hood of Shell’s $100 Million Loyalty Program

Shell Oil CMO Dan Little.
Shell Oil CMO Dan Little. Credit: Shell Oil.

Did you know that Shell Oil is the only major fuel brand that still operates in all 50 states? The company boasts 14,000 sites across the country, in fact. But the proprietary gas stations of big box retailers and grocery stores have become formidable competitors in the last 20 years, and now account for about half of the market, increasing the pressure on Shell to drive loyalty.

“Forty-two percent of all U.S. drivers frequent or come to Shell,” says Dan Little, the company’s chief marketing officer. “But when it gets to loyalty, which is a measurement of frequency, we’re pretty much middle of the pack versus the other majors.” Little and his team hope to change this statistic with an innovative, many-pronged approach to building consumer loyalty.

The road to more rewards

The inspiration for Shell’s first loyalty program, called Fuel Rewards, came from a 2009 partnership with Kroger supermarkets. When Shell began allowing Kroger customers to spend their rewards at Shell stations, it soon became clear that both parties were profiting from the partnership. “A fuel discount, we found, was very emotive for consumers,” Little says. “The price of fuel can change behavior.” The goal of the next program? To scale this lucrative model nationally.

This year, Little’s team relaunched the program with a new name — Instant Gold Status — in response to a unified request from its customers for more rewards. In addition to accepting local partner points, Instant Gold Status gives members an automatic 5-cent per gallon discount with every purchase, countrywide. The only stipulation is that they visit a Shell station six times within 90 days. Any less than that and the member returns to Silver Status, which still affords a 3-cent per gallon discount.

Prior to the relaunch, Little says that only 10-15% of its customers were true brand loyalists — “road warriors” who drive a shocking 70-80% of Shell’s profit margin. “We have an ambition to move that to three times…

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Marketing Day: Facebook Messenger ads, Prime Day drives Prime memberships & more

Here’s our recap of what happened in online marketing today, as reported on Marketing Land and other places across the web.

From Marketing Land:

Driver’s Choice: 5 Questions With Mazda CMO Russell Wager

Mazda Driving Matters

Mazda isn’t feeling the summer doldrums. The automaker is trying to grow its US market share by moving its brand and vehicles upscale, so the brand doesn’t have the luxury of standard summer clearance promotions to move 2017 models at a time of year when that’s exactly what many of its competitors are doing.

Instead, Mazda is running a branding campaign, “Driver’s Choice,” which features real people (premium car owners) in a sort of blind taste test of Mazda versus other vehicles. Mazda conceals the identities of its own models and identifying marks of premium vehicles in the same segment. The upshot: The majority of those surveyed preferred Mazda vehicles when they didn’t know the identity of the brands.

That aligns with what Mazda Vice President of Marketing Russell Wager has been trying to do for the past few years: give Mazda’s brand and vehicles a premium cachet at affordable prices. So long, the “zoom-zoom” imagery of the sporty but inexpensive Mazda; welcome to bold comparisons with Acura, Infiniti and other avowed premium brands.

Russell Wager Mazda

“This is continuing what we’ve started with our communications, telling people about our quality and that with Mazda you can get what you would be expecting from a premium brand,” Wager (right) told brandchannel.

As part of its efforts to buff up the overall brand, Mazda is also nurturing a number of sub-brands and subsidiary concepts that enhance overall appreciation for its cars and marque.

These include Skyactiv, a suite of technology and weight-saving features across all of its cars; “Koda,” which Mazda calls its dynamic exterior design language that is resulting in highly streamlined new vehicles; and now “Jinba Ittai,” which Mazda says is the connection that drivers feel with the vehicle, which it has been enhancing with heightened mechanical responsiveness in its smaller vehicles.

Mazda also is pursuing certain demographics more determinedly. The brand just launched a new digital campaign aimed at the Hispanic community, aiming to tap into the group’s existing positive affinity for Japanese-made products, Mazda said.

Snap falls below $17 IPO price for the first time

Snap stock has fallen below its IPO price of $17 for the first time, roughly four months after the maker of Snapchat went public in March.

After briefly touching the $17 threshold in mid-June, Snap’s stock price fell to an all-time low of $16.99 at market close on Monday. That means all the investors who bought into the disappearing-message app company’s much-hyped stock market debut have officially lost money.

Most people who bought Snap stock, which opened its first trading day at $24 — soaring 41% out of the gate — have lost even more. An Uber driver who invested when shares hit $25 on Snap’s IPO day has lost 32% of his money. And Snap has shed more than $10 billion in stock market value in the meantime, with its market cap, which once topped $31 billion, now at about $20 billion.

Even as stocks of competing social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter rose Monday, shares of Snap tumbled more than 1%, as Wall Street fretted that some of its biggest shareholders will dump their stock en masse later this month.

While many of Snapchat’s IPO backers are currently prohibited from selling the stock during what’s known as a lock-up period, the expiration of those restrictions is less than three weeks away, on July 29. Even Snap’s bullish supporters are getting jittery about a potential stock plunge if those IPO shareholders decide to sell the first…

Jawbone Liquidates as CEO Tries Again With Stronger Health Focus

Credit: Bloomberg News

Jawbone is liquidating, though its CEO is starting again with a company that moves out of the fitness-tracker business in favor of health-related products, an area that deeper-pocketed rivals also are entering.

Founded in 1999, Jawbone was once a darling of Silicon Valley and regarded as a pioneer in wearable technology. Yet the company missed payments, had manufacturing issues that led to refunds for its fitness device and cut employees, despite raising multiple rounds of funds over a span of more than a decade. The closely held company also struggled against bigger competition that moved into the wearables market.

Now Jawbone is going out of business and investors, including BlackRock and the Kuwait Investment Authority, are tallying losses from more than $900 million in equity and debt funding the fitness gear maker raised over the years.

For his part, CEO Hosain Rahman has founded Jawbone Health Hub, according to people familiar with the matter. Many Jawbone employees are moving to the new company, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the issue is private. The Information first reported the news Thursday.

The liquidation comes after multiple strategic changes and failures. Last year, Jawbone put its wireless speaker business up for sale to focus on health and wearables. It also ended production of fitness trackers and sold its remaining inventory to a third-party reseller. Last January, the company raised $165 million from lead investor Kuwait Investment Authority at about half its 2014 valuation of $3.2 billion, according to Pitchbook Data.

Jawbone has also been locked in legal battles with Fitbit since May 2015, when Jawbone accused Fitbit in a lawsuit of plundering employees…

CMO Today: AMC Launches Ad-Free Service; Disney’s Upfront; Alibaba’s Marketing Push

Jon Hamm as Don Draper in a scene from the final episode of AMC's
Jon Hamm as Don Draper in a scene from the final episode of AMC’s “Mad Men.”

Good morning. As we head into the holiday weekend, how about celebrating the only way I know how: sitting back, putting my feet up and watching some ads. Budweiser has a Fourth of July spot starring actor Adam Driver, who surprises a military family. Meanwhile, Ancestry.com has recreated John Trumbull’s “Declaration of Independence” painting. No newsletter on Monday and Tuesday, folks. See you on July 5.

AMC is launching a commercial-free service called AMC Premiere that will cost $4.99 a month, The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Flint reports. The new service, which will also include some exclusive content and movies from the network’s library, will be an add-on for Comcast cable subscribers, and they won’t be able to get any sort of refund for the AMC standard channel. AMC’s logic is that some customers will do anything they can to avoid ads and $4.99 a month is cheaper than downloading individual shows. Still, given all the other subscriptions consumers have to handle to get access to their content at the moment, five bucks seems steep for just one channel. I can imagine churn will be high when subscribers’ favorite series come to a close.

Disney is so pleased about the way its upfront negotiations played out, it’s shouting about it from the rooftops, Variety reports. Disney said the volume of upfront ad commitments was up by a “high single digit” percentage across broadcast, cable and kids TV. Variety estimates that ABC could have shored up anywhere between $1.84 billion and $2.13 billion in commitments for its prime-time schedule. Disney said it pushed up its CPM (the cost to reach 1,000 people) by “low double digit” percentages for late-night and kids-TV. It’s extremely rare for a TV company to release a public statement about its upfront achievements. As Variety’s Brian Steinberg tweeted: “The last time a company made a public statement about TV upfront results was June 2005 — when ABC made a press statement and filed it w/…

LinkedIn Leader Shares How to Build a High-Performance Content Marketing Team


The content marketing industry is flooded with “rock stars,” and this has led many to think a content marketing strategy is about individual prowess. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Peek behind great content marketing efforts and you’ll nearly always find a driven, well-organized team.

Jolie Miller, content strategy and acquisitions leader at LinkedIn, has spent much of her career leading the quiet, disciplined work of high-performance content teams. Here are her practical tips for what it takes to build, manage, and drive them.

CCO: Can you paint a picture of your personal content journey? When did you first take the creation of content seriously, and what about the process did you find (and do you still find) interesting?

Miller: I started in the content business over 10 years ago in the publishing world, where our product was educational content. One of the things I was most excited about then and have only grown more passionate about now at LinkedIn is the idea of over-delivering on value with the content you share. It’s content that truly exceeds users’ expectations that creates those moments of delight with a brand.

What I love about content is it has the power to change people’s lives for a second or for a day or forever. Great content creates space for people to pause and reflect, and that space is where transformation happens.

CCO: Not all teams are high-performance teams. In your mind, what’s the difference?

Miller: A high-performance team has members that show up for each other because everyone wants to work together to deliver value. People do the small, little extra thing and the big, hard, amazing thing, and obsess about the details because they’re creating relationships and outcomes they’re willing to own. I’ve been fortunate to be on many teams like this.

In my experience, a team that’s not high-performing is a team that’s in it for the transaction – one project or one piece of content or one interaction, not the longer play of strong, healthy relationships, open communication, trust, and creating a better company together. It’s more about how quickly can I cross this off my list or get through that conversation and back into my day; it’s not about building something together with and for people. Needless to say, these teams quickly get toxic for people and can benefit from a fresh start and some turnaround leadership.

CCO: You’ve built high-performance content teams at all stages of a company’s growth. Can you walk us through the crucial first steps a leader of any company size should take to begin building a world-class content team?

Miller: It really starts with knowing what markets you want to win and what kind of content, delivered in the right way, will help you win those markets. What the business is aiming to do and do well is at the heart of starting your team. Then you’ve got to find people who want to join the cause with you. I often tell candidates that this isn’t a job, it’s a calling, and we’re looking for people who want to own and share that vision with us – people for whom it’s not going to feel like work. Creating good content is about passion.

I also often tell candidates that it comes through in the content you make if you had fun making it – the company’s culture bleeds through, and it has to be solid. So you’ve got to find folks who want to have fun growing a business with you.

Look for the people who you know will challenge what exists and what could be, and always seek out folks who will want your job. They’ll drive hard toward company wins with you.

CCO: Once the core team is in place, what are some simple project management strategies that will help the team keep driving forward?

Miller: The first project management strategy for any team is communication. Notice people. Notice things that are going right. Say something about those things, often. Have the tough conversations with candor and empathy, and have them earlier than you think you need to.


Content Marketing Industry: What’s Happening in Hiring [Research]


Hiring a new member for your content marketing team seems like a great thing. After all, whether you’re expanding the team or replacing a departing employee, you’ll have more resources to execute a successful content marketing program.

But finding and attracting quality creative content team members is a job unto itself. It’s a challenge faced by 45% of advertising and marketing executives, according to a survey of 400 U.S. industry leaders by The Creative Group.

In this post, we dive deeper into the data about content marketing hiring. We will explore talent costs, regions with highest demand, and how companies work to retain employees.

Hot markets

Which U.S. cities have the greatest number of content marketing jobs? Here are the top 20 with the greatest number of content marketing jobs, according to Conductor’s Inbound Marketing Jobs Salary Guide 2017:

  1. New York
  2. San Francisco
  3. Chicago
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Boston
  6. Seattle
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. Atlanta
  9. Austin
  10. Dallas
  11. San Diego
  12. Houston
  13. Philadelphia
  14. Denver
  15. San Jose
  16. Miami
  17. Phoenix
  18. Minneapolis
  19. Charlotte
  20. Orlando

Compensation figures

Starting salaries for content jobs are on the rise, as reflected in The Creative Group 2017 Marketing Jobs Salary Guide:

Screenshot 2017-06-19 21.42.50

Content skills in highest demand

Data analysis, and content writing and editing are the most important skills companies are looking to hire this year, according to 2016 Digital Content Survey, Altimeter, a Prophet company.

Here’s how respondents who were asked the four most important skills they were looking to hire in 2017 listed priorities:

  • Data analysis – 67%
  • Content editing and writing – 59%
  • Program/project management – 53%
  • Graphic design – 50%
  • Coding/development – 50%
  • Video production and editing – 47%
  • Marketing automation/software expertise – 42%
  • Social media expertise – 18%

Multiple talents needed in one role

Roles in content marketing blend creative, technology, and analytics so companies seek individuals with more than…

Pandora CEO, President, And CMO Leave Following SiriusXM Investment


The leadership changes at Pandora Media are taking place faster than expected: Today the company says that CEO Tim Westergren decided to step down, with CFO Naveen Chopra filling in as interim CEO.

President Mike Herring and CMO Nick Bartle also left.

In addition to relinquishing the CEO job, Westergren is leaving the board and will be replaced by Jason Hirschhorn. The CEO of digital content company the ReDEF Group is well known in media business circles from his work as MTV Networks’ Chief Digital Officer, President of Sling Media, and co-President of Myspace.

Pandora shares are down more than 1% in early trading. Yesterday they were up 2.2% after Recode reported that Westergren planned to leave once the company found a replacement.

Westergren, who co-founded Pandora in 1999, may have seen the writing on the wall early this month. SiriusXM