Connecting with People Through Loyalty

OUTdrive episode 129 with Mark Ross-Smith

OUTdrive Episode 129 with Mark Ross-Smith

Every loyalty program should be designed to do one primary function: connect people; connect people to the things they want, to the rewards they can earn, or the status they want to attain. For example, we see commercials all the time for companies emphasizing their points, miles, and perks for frequent flyers. In this episode, airline loyalty thought leader Mark Ross-Smith joins OUTdrive from across the world in Malaysia for an introspective on building a successful loyalty program.

Mark is the CEO and co-founder at StatusMatch, a global status management firm that works with some of the world’s largest airline brands. His company enables individuals to maintain their status level when they switch to a new airline or hotel chain. Mark has 20 years of experience leading loyalty programs in travel and telecommunications, most recently at Malaysian Airlines. Mark is also the founder and editor of the industry blog, He is a globally recognized, award-winning thought leader and known as one of the “brightest minds in loyalty.”

Tune in for a dynamic conversation with Mark on the marketing behind loyalty campaigns, the impact of big tech on airlines, and an international perspective on rural America.


  • 2:00 – Mark’s background and his career journey through telco and startups that eventually led to a niche in the airline loyalty industry
  • 6:45 – Mark and Cliff discuss the similarities and differences in their pursuit of entrepreneurial career paths
  • 9:30 – Mark shares his insight on getting into the internet business early on and how it has evolved
  • 10:45 – Details behind Mark’s industry blog,, how it came to fruition, and how it led to his position at Malaysia Airlines
  • 16:00 – Mark’s marketing and industry insights from his time running the Malaysia Airlines loyalty program
  • 18:00 – Details behind Mark’s company,, which helps consumers maintain loyalty status when they switch their business to a new airline or hotel
  • 21:45 – The audience that StatusMatch is trying to reach and how audience behavior impacts the strategy used to reach them
  • 24:30 – How Mark generates new customers for his business and the tech value his company brings
  • 27:30 – Mark describes what it’s like living in Malaysia
  • 29:30 – Mark and Cliff discuss the positive perceptions of rural America from the other side of the world
  • 32:00 – Mark shares his final thoughts on loyalty and getting to the root of what it means in each industry