In its commercials, DirecTV takes a swipe at its competition, cable television, through a pioneer family of sad-sack “settlers” who accept so-so clothes, food and, yes, entertainment.

As loyalty operators, are we settling with programs that fail to get the most value out of data analytics or create true engagement? Before you answer that, here are some questions to explore:

1. Are you segmenting members for the past or future?

Segmentation should: leverage various data sources to model potential at the individual member level, test program offers and measure accordingly, and update frequently.

Evaluate a combination of purchase details, profile data and partner data to help estimate future rate of return. Weigh various approaches to segmentation and consider the methodology, timing and resources for each.

2. Are you investing in members appropriately?

Your value prop should motivate best members for preferred behaviors and offer something beyond tangible discounting. Some programs overinvest in a group out of line with their potential. Evaluate member sales vs. program funding, and analyze benefit costs by type vs. percentage of sales.

3. Are your members effectively engaging?

Consider: Are you achieving incremental financial benefit from additional redemption and engagement? Are you simply pulling ahead an expected transaction or generating incremental spend? Are you able to drive incremental margin through category strategies? The data is already sitting there; not putting it to better use is a waste.

4. Are your marketing efforts better for members?

Conduct a thorough campaign measurement, not just for a promotional period but pre- and post-campaign. Be sure to look at the frequency cycle of those targeted. While things like response rate, click-through rate and the like are important, don’t lose focus on leveraging the value of individual customer information to drive bottom-line financial improvement.

5. What is the ROI for your program?

Analysis of a loyalty program should evaluate three factors. Benefits, which may include, reduced attrition, increased value, account acquisition, membership fees. Costs, such as one-time startup costs, liability costs, operating and marketing costs. Results like return on investment, net present value, what-if scenarios and comparison to industry benchmarks (to assess the range of possible outcomes, such as incremental transaction lift, attrition improvement, enrollment, or penetration rate).

Remember: Loyalty programs are a gold mine of data, but companies must have a clear plan to mine that gold. Don’t settle.