Upgrading the Customer Journey the Italian way with ‘La Dolce Vita’

5 Questions to Martino Picotti, Director at RIX Rewards about an Italian living in Dubai and how brands can benefit by adding a bit more “Dolce Vita” to their products and services.

Tell us a bit about the lovely photo of your family and how you ended up in Dubai as an Italian.

I picked this family photo as it represents and summarizes very well the lifestyle you can find both in Italy and here in Dubai. In Italy we call it “La Dolce Vita” – the sweet life.

24 years ago, after having lived in Australia and Belgium, I finally landed in Dubai at the end of 1999. While I consider Italy definitely one of the best places on earth for a wonderful vacation, I would probably find it quite difficult to adjust living there again. After many years abroad, I have learned to appreciate being exposed to an international culture, a super-efficient public sector, a very safe environment, a high lifestyle level and sunny weather all year round. It is really that modern, fast, exciting, and safe environment that made us fall in love with Dubai and stay here.

“The idea is to go beyond discounts by adding a bit of ‘Dolce Vita’ through lifestyle rewards. This naturally leads to more sales and stronger relationships with consumers.”

We all love Italian brands. How much “Italy” can you really experience in the Middle East?

Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Gucci, Versace … we all know the famous Italian brands and obviously they are all well represented here, probably more even than in many other cities around the world.

Some would be surprised, but it is not just these brands, it is the Italian culture in general, that is very present here and much appreciated. Surely, it is partly because of the glamourous aspect of it but much more I think, it is the Italian lifestyle, that really gets to people. I realized this specifically during the time I was managing Maserati here in Dubai.

You know as Italians, we always look out for a bit of “Italy” wherever we go and you can definitely find it here in the UAE. Having said this, you might want to stop by for a coffee or dinner at the Armani Hotel or Bvlgari Hotel.

At RIX, you are responsible for Italy and the Middle East. Tell us a bit about the promotions with De’Longhi and Maserati.

We have the privilege to work with the best brands in the world and design for them customer-centered promotions. With De’longhi we developed a campaign around “Free Flights to the Coffee Capitals of Europe”, obviously including some Italian destinations as well. The idea is to move away from discounts and give people that bit of “La Dolce Vita” by incentivizing purchase behaviour through lifestyle relevant rewards. It was a massive success where we increased sales by +82% in that segment.

We are currently also doing something similar with Maserati in Dubai, where we transform the “test drive” into a “taste drive” shifting the focus from the “vehicle” to the “experience with the vehicle” reflecting the Maserati customers lifestyle and the renown Italian culinary passion. Again, this element of sweeting up the experience by adding a premium, makes a whole difference to the customer journey.

“Today, it is not enough anymore to just sell products. We have to look at it holistically as an experience journey, from lose initial awareness touchpoints, to nurtured relationships way beyond the purchase.”

Talking about Maserati, after having worked in the Automotive industry for years, how do you perceive the current developments?

The Automotive industry is going through a very significant transition not only in the products and engine but maybe even more importantly in the experience itself.

Apart from the obvious discussion on electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, etc. what’s also changing is the consumers relation with these products and how they use them. From possession to sharing, especially the new generations. Sharing will be the future in my opinion. Just as much as we see new “unconventional” brands being really dominant in the EVs field, we see similar patterns in the sharing economy now.

These developments naturally lead to greater demands for new and disruptive customer-engaging solutions. So, besides working with Maserati, we are currently in discussion with many brands around the world.

Going back to “La Dolce Vita”, why do you think rewards are such a game changer when it comes to promoting products?

For me “La Dolce Vita” in the Automotive industry means to essentially shift the focus from product to people. Today, brands are challenged to look at customer experience much more holistically from the initial touchpoint with potential customers, to nurturing relationships beyond the purchase. It is not enough anymore to just sell a product.

As per the transition mentioned earlier (sharing solutions) at the end of the day, I am convinced that all what will be left in the end will be the human experience. Therefore, offering experiential rewards it’s the right kind of extension of a brand experience. It gives the opportunity to increase customer touchpoints with the brand, enhance engagement and drive sales in the short run and loyalty in the long run – a Win-Win for both consumers and brands.


At RIX, we work with you to create rewards that transform your sales promotions into magic brand moments, empowering you to increase sales and market share in the short term, while boosting long-term brand equity.

Want to see how we can rid your brand of discounts? Get in touch.

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