Rethinking Customer Loyalty Programs in the Digital Age

Erin Levzow, CMO/VP of Marketing, Del Taco Restaurants

Erin Levzow, CMO/VP of Marketing, Del Taco Restaurants

Erin Levzow is Vice President of Marketing Technology for Del Taco Restaurants. Prior to her current role, Erin was the CMO for Marcus Hotels & Resorts. In addition, she has served as vice president of customer relationship marketing (CRM), loyalty, and marketing for Hathway in Austin, Texas, a customer service experience company specializing in helping billion-dollar brands develop mobile-first strategies. Erin's extensive marketing and digital experience includes serving as senior director of digital, social, CRM, and e-commerce for Wingstop Restaurants in Dallas, Texas, and serving as vice president of marketing and technology for Freebirds World Burrito, where she oversaw the marketing initiatives for nearly 100 restaurant chains. She began her career at Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas and went on to work for MGM Resorts International and Palms Casino Resort & Palms Place Hotel and Spa.

“Ask lots of questions and never stop learning. It helps you uncover the challenges you're facing and generate better solutions to solve those problems”

She received a bachelor's degree from Illinois State University and holds a Master's Marketing Strategy Certificate from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. Erin brings a breadth of experience in marketing, marketing technology, mobile apps, ordering technology, and building loyalty and rewards programs across multiple industries. In her Vice President role at Del Taco, Erin will lead the marketing technology team by developing strategic, integrated programs to drive consumer loyalty and increase visit frequency. She is responsible for the Del Taco Mobile App, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) approach, third party delivery partnerships, digital ordering. In addition, she will help identify and lead other digital initiatives and emerging technology opportunities.

In the light of your experience, what are the trends and challenges you've witnessed in the MarTech space?

Emerging technologies are increasingly being used to support the implementation of more flexible working practices. However, this will present several challenges with time and resources to implement anything, and a lot of times, they don't pay off right away.  

All of the trends that we've seen over the last six to seven years are big data and personalization, which are still trending. Also, AI, when combined with Voice Technology can be the next big thing. As screens get more convoluted, we will need a medium to breakthrough, and that's exactly what this combination will offer us.

Could you elaborate on some interesting and impactful projects/initiatives that you're currently overseeing?

Del Taco launched the Del Yeah! Rewards program in September, which is Del taco's first-ever loyalty program. The new Rewards loyalty program features four tiers that unlock exciting offers, rewards, and experiences, which increase along with usage of the app. This allows us to ensure that the right message and offer get to the right customer at the right time. Del Taco is the latest to launch a rewards effort as one-to-one marketing takes hold at restaurants.

Can you draw an analogy between your personality traits, hobbies and how they reflect on your leadership strategy?

 When I am not donning the cap of Vice President of Marketing Technology, I love to attend the musical theatre. I hold a degree in theatre, which helps me excel in my pleasure time as well. And then, when I'm not doing that, I start competing in ballroom dance with Fred Astaire dance studios, which is a great learning experience. But, outside of that trace at work, I try and stay positive. We're not brain surgeons; we're having fun. We're selling tacos; let's have fun doing it. Also, continuing to appreciate what I do is vital to me the day that I have an aversion to what I do. I would prefer not to do it any longer.

What does the future hold for the MarTech landscape?

Marketing technology has become a big business over the last couple of years, and then COVID accelerated it and pushed everything forward. Our goal is to continue to grow at that pace and be able to receive the buy-in that we need to implement things that help our customers and guests have a better experience.

What would be the single piece of advice that you could impart to your colleagues to excel in this space?

My advice would be to ask lots of questions and never stop learning. It helps you uncover the challenges you're facing and generate better solutions that address the requirements of a world that is changing at a rapid pace. It likewise comprehends the underlying driver of why the technology works in the manner in which it does such that you can utilize it to the best of your ability in that space.

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