Customer Loyalty, Employee Loyalty, Personal Services
CEO, CO-FOUNDER, CHIEF GROWTH OFFICER
Circles has revolutionized how corporations build life-long relationships with their customers and employees. By forging intimate relationships, our loyalty programs drive behaviors that drive increased profitability for our Fortune 1000 customers.
Founded in 1997, Circles delivers a disarmingly simple and unique key ingredient — the ability to get close to people. Circles believes that in the future the only loyalty programs companies will consider are those which have a measurable effect on their bottom line. Circles’ intimacy-based programs are the only ones that deliver on this promise today.
Business Growth Challenge
Circles was a very early stage company breaking into an entirely new market. The initial business model assumed that companies would be willing to pay to provide “concierge services” as an employee benefit. Finding a few anchor clients was the first order of business.
The second area of growth would come from quickly identifying and testing key vertical markets that could support a new business model – one based on providing these services and getting paid on a transactional basis. Would the hospitality industry? the auto industry, or financial services be the targets? If not, then which ones rose to the top?
The third area of growth was to leverage partnerships on both the back end and the front end. The back end required identification of nationally scalable services and then a business model that worked for Circles and the provider. The front end was identification of partners whose footprint included access to customers in key segments.
Deliverables and Results
Engagements included (1) market research and value proposition testing to develop new vertical segments; (2) business development strategy and execution vis-à-vis industry leading players in each segment; (3) evaluation of partnerships to deliver the product over wireless technology; (4) service delivery partner program development; and (5) evaluation of new lines of business – e.g. service rewards.
Jacqueline has been a Business Advisor for two of the venture-backed companies in which I have been a Board member. In one case, she functioned behind the scenes to help the co-founders evaluate and then establish a foothold in a new market by identifying industry leading strategic partners for both the front and back end of the business. In the other case, she functioned as a Chief Marketing Officer providing strategic advice and hands-on assistance to create a multi-tiered partner program. These companies were in a typical entrepreneurial state of flux throughout her engagements, but she was able to provide a stabilizing force and react quickly to solve problems and attack opportunities both within and outside of her scope of work. Her experience in the corporate world and disciplined approach – combined with her interest in “getting things done” is a valuable resource to new companies who need this experience real-time and cannot grow it fast enough in-house. She is on my short list as a strategic advisor for early stage companies.
Hal Shear, Catalyst for Effective Directors and Boards
Jackie is an exceptional business development resource. It is like having a strategy group, business development department and sales force all wrapped into one person. She quickly understands complicated business propositions, and the opportunities she unearths are often the non-obvious ones, which is where so much of the value comes from. She then knows not only how to get to the right person, but how to sell them on the concept and get them to take the next step. She has been a real champion for our company’s success.
Janet Kraus, CEO and Kathy Sherbrooke, Chief Growth Officer - Circles