So, what is Return on Incentives all about?
We have 1 simple objective, help our clients to increase the lifetime value of their customers.
The way we do it, we help you use incentives and rewards to encourage loyalty, make your business their first choice. We also help you give your employees a little more motivation too.
That’s the basics of it.
Ok, I get that, but really, how does it work?
We start with a conversation, you and us. We talk about many things, the weather, your troubles, favourite films, what your wider objectives are, who are the really helpful folk in your office, who steals the milk, what customers really expect from you, the identity of the one who never makes tea and also what you expect to achieve with using rewards as part of your wider marketing and sales plan.
There are a couple of results from this:
- We are all clear on what you are looking to achieve and how it works towards your wider objectives
- If a loyalty programme or rewards campaign is actually the right thing to do
You read that right. If it is right for you.
We are returns driven marketeers and if it looks to us like our proposition won’t deliver what you need then we will say so and bid you adieu, most probably with a few ideas for you to explore.
I get that, so if it is the right thing, what next?
Now for the fun bit, that does require hard work. We create the structure of your activity.
I should add that the hard work is ours. You get to make lots of decisions and feed us lots of information and data. We want to know all about your customers, their motivations, what they love about you, what they hate. We want to know about your business too, what will get them excited, what we need to consider for the implementation, who the key people are that will be positively engaged and who the fun sponges are that will make this sort of thing hard to succeed.
What are these decisions you speak of?
Some are really fun, like what sort of incentives you’d like to create for your customers. A trip on the Orient Express (when allowed), big screen TV’s, online escape room experiences or gift vouchers.
Others are super important, like how spend and redemption targets need to be set, frequency of communications, the campaign theme and the mechanics of paying for it all.
The critical ones come first, which is the core structure. Invitation only or do you want open registration? Do you want multiple tiers? Our campaign builder tool helps to set this core structure that everything else hangs off.
Is that it then?
Once we know the fundamentals of what your activity is going to look like, that’s when we need to start filling in all of the information, targets and mechanics that sit around it.
When it comes to a rewards campaigns, your rewards and targets that’s mostly it. There is still a fair bit more work, which at least is mostly ours because that’s about creating the customer journey and your colleague journey so everybody is crystal clear on what is happening and what is expected.
You mentioned setting spend and redemption targets, tell me more
If you know exactly what you want your customers to spend in order to redeem a particular reward then happy days, that makes this stage a little less painful for all involved, only joking it’s not that painful!
This is where our backgrounds in data and modelling comes in. There are many ways of setting targets, one of the ways that we have set targets in the past has been to encourage customers to pay for their own rewards. We used sales and margin data to work out what we think a customer would normally spend and then how much extra they need to spend in order to cover the cost of their own rewards.
This is the sort of thing that makes the difference between a rewards programme being seen as a cost to a business and actually providing an incremental ROI. See what I did there!
Whilst that lot sounds grand you do always have to consider how achievable a reward is within the context of the target that the customer is expected to achieve. For example, are you really going to spend an additional £5k in order to get a £10 amazon voucher?
This is the sort of area that can be tough going if you’re trying to figure all this out yourself, which is why we use our experience and data to guide us all through this and create targets that make your activity a success.
Ultimately, if your targets, your rewards and your comms don’t all work together then these sorts of things are going to fail.
Ok, so we’re not going to fail, what else are we going to do?
Communicate. This isn’t some sort of field of dreams, build it and they will come situation. We need to tell people about it, we need to tell them what they can achieve, we need to keep them engaged and we need to nudge, nudge, nudge them along so they get their reward and you get your returns.
We like to use tech to help out in this area. Obviously, we have the campaign themes and creative that gives us something to talk around but what we really love to do is to find out how people are engaging with our communications.
How they use the platform, how they browse the website and how they spend their money. We use all this information and data to design and implement smart customer journeys. Of course, there will be regular progress updates but there’s much more to it than that.
Let’s say Customer A logs into the portal to see how many points they’ve got, they then look at the tier 2 rewards and take a close look at an orange picking experience. 2 days later they get a points update email, they come back to the platform and look again at the orange picking experience. They really like the look of those oranges. So, what we do is we know what they’re interested in so we have seemingly ad hoc communications in place to draw on their behaviour.
This means we send a communication to Customer A highlighting tier 2 rewards as something to aim for with a focus on, you guessed it, an orange picking experience.
It is this reinforcement that will drive people towards achieving their targets and redeeming their experiences therefore meeting their objective, meeting your objective and no doubt having a warm fuzzy feeling about the whole thing.
It’s building this programme of communications that moves around between more typical progress updates through to highlighting particular interests and even promoting your own commercial interests e.g. sale on oranges, which all means that we keep engagement high. High engagement means more people achieve their targets and you’d better achieve your objectives. Everybody’s happy.
So, the third thing is…the rewards themselves
Yes and they are crucial because if you don’t offer rewards that inspire then they won’t engage. Choosing rewards can be difficult, because there is no limit to what you can choose and in the back of your mind you know that a lot of people will just pick gift vouchers.
But you can’t rely on gift vouchers to be inspiring and enthralling. Yes, you want rewards that are going to capture the imagination, things that people look at because they wouldn’t normally consider buying them for themselves. A really important thing to remember is that these aren’t rewards for you!
Me personally, I’d definitely be inspired by the opportunity to race a GT car around Silverstone but that probably wouldn’t do it for you. Which is why you need to think about what your customers might want and offer a range of rewards and experiences that excite more people.
This is doubly important because not only do you want to engage your customers but your colleagues too. £100 worth of Argos vouchers could be a tough sell. A long weekend away in a 5* hotel could be a different matter, a much better conversation for your colleagues and customers to have.
Ok, is that everything?
Yes, pretty much.
There’s fundamentally 3 things to get right, what you’re offering, how to get it and how to tell people about it.
Taking a relationship and CRM marketing approach is part of communicating and engaging, our analytical approach to targets and redemption criteria helps to make rewards achievable and accessible (not to mention the simple to use redemption portal) and finally the rewards themselves that inspire and are only as limited as your imagination… and your budget.