As we reflect on the success of PI LIVE Europe 2023, we hear from our headline sponsor to discuss the future of Blue Light Card (BLC), its growing team, tech, products, plans, and the hottest trend in affiliate marketing going into 2024.

We caught up with Alex Dalby, Head of Partner Acquisition, and Rebecca Clarke, Head of Partner Relationships at Blue Light Card.

Where do you see BLC going in the next few years from now?

Alex Dalby: We've already made some pretty significant improvements to our products and overall offering for our members. We want to be the marketplace for those in the emergency services, the NHS, and support workers to provide member savings but offer that in a personalised and unique way for our members. We want to enable them to continue to save across all major verticals, not just your fashion and holidays, but we want to support their everyday lives as well, such as their finance, insurance, and groceries.

We've also recently celebrated our first birthday in Australia, so we took the learnings from the UK and passed them on to the Australian team to enhance our offerings for our incredible Australian members.

We’ve got a lot in the pipeline, but we're also conscious of the pace. We don't want to move too quickly, as we want to ensure that we've nailed the business first, and put all of our efforts into each department. 

BLC has seen many new hires and it's a growing team. Why is now such an exciting time to be at BLC?

Rebecca Clarke: The main thing is our culture; we've got an amazing, unique, and inclusive culture which I have never seen anywhere else in any role or any company. We've recently placed in the top 100 for the greatest places to work, and we’re in the top 100 best workplaces for women. There are just so many things that people are so excited about within the company at the moment, and I think that's largely driven by our Culture Club, which is a group of employees across the business from different departments who come together to plan some amazing events. We had one of our brand partners come in and do spa treatments for Mental Health Awareness Day. 

We've got all the onsite facilities as well! We've got a pool table, table tennis, shuffleboards, and game consoles, so there are loads of things to keep everyone entertained. There's something for everyone and we try and be so inclusive with everything that we do. We've got a state-of-the-art gym on site, which I can say I've used once and couldn't walk for four days afterwards! My personal favourite is the snack draw which is full to the brim of every different kind of chocolate, a healthy gym snack. It is just the most fantastic place to work and I think you can feel that as you walk into the offices.

You’ve gone into a squad structure at BLC, could you tell us a bit more about this?

Rebecca Clarke: I joined the business around three and a half years ago during the height of COVID-19, we were managing accounts very well at the time and we drove some fantastic results for our partners and savings for our members. However, what we started to realise is that we didn't have a strategic focus on a singular category itself. We had account managers who were looking after fashion, motoring, or electric, but we wanted to hone in on those really specific categories so we could make sure that we were giving our partners the best service that we could and delivering the best offers to our members. 

What we've done is we've moved into a squad structure where we've got four squad leaders who manage between four to six categories and then they've got partnership managers underneath who are solely responsible for those categories. That's enabled us to have clear strategies and clear goals of what we want to achieve, what offers we want to deliver to members, how we work with partners, and how we service those on our app and website. We've seen this real focus that we didn't have before, we've seen wonderful results already and we're continuing to grow and deliver the results for our partners.

What are you currently putting in place to make the platform the best for its members? 

Rebecca Clarke: For me, it's that continuous improvement, so we're always trying to continually improve our platform in terms of tech and the offering, but our biggest goal is to deliver the most enhanced discounts for our members and to be able to give them in a way that they can receive that information and find them easily.

Something that we've had a considerable focus on over the last six to 12 months is to deliver enhanced discounts to our members. We're focusing on how to make the actual platform better and feel like a real marketplace. We want members to log in and browse what they're looking for and get excited by what we've got to offer.

Alex Dalby: The main focus is all about the members, we don't just kind of jump to conclusions. We've got a panel called BLC Voices, where we go out and we survey members and ask them about how they see the service improving and how they feel using the app.

We interview our members as well, and we listen to their very needs so we can put them into place. Our offer boost was probably feedback from members to help them on certain paydays or certain events around the year. It always reverts to what is most important for the members, but we actually get their opinions first and then improve.

You have significantly developed your tech and product at BLC, could you expand on these developments and what you're hoping to achieve?

Alex Dalby: It's mainly about future-proofing our tech so we're paving the way for an innovative experience for our members. We’ve already got a huge, engaged audience, but we’re trying to help our users find the deals that are relevant to them. 

I think we’ve moved on from the days of just putting loads of offers in front of members and hoping that they'll click on one of them. Instead, we want to be that place where we can filter down and serve our members the correct products or companies for them.

Rebecca Clarke: It's all about trying to make that experience personalised. We’ll still serve up the brands that they might not come across just in case they are interested, but I think it's that personalised approach that makes sure we are serving the content that they want to see. We're definitely on the journey to get there and we've invested into our products and tech teams over the previous 12 to 18 months so we're starting to see a lot of that come to fruition now.

What do you think the hottest trend in affiliate marketing will be for 2024?

Alex Dalby: I'm interested in AI, both preparing for the opportunities and the proposition that people put forward. We're researching into it a little bit and, I'm not from a tech background so I can't look into it too much, but I've always seen in various reports that AI is coming into play, especially when using it for personalisation. 

We’re also seeing quite a lot of influencers coming into the space and we're looking at how we might fit that into our industry as well, as we’re seeing the influencer and affiliate scheme structure come into play for the next year.

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