With any endeavor involving an audience, communication is always key.
Whether it’s a personal relationship or a professional partnership, you always want to ensure that whoever you’re communicating with understands your message. But what if you have more than one message you want to share with your audience—maybe even at the same time?
This is one of the challenges that confronts managers of incentive programs.
It’s all well and good to communicate consistently with your program audience about the program itself. In fact, we’ve always felt that marketing communications is one of the most important factors for driving program engagement.
But clients today expect more from their programs’ communications strategies, and they should.
An incentive program is a vehicle with a captive audience, but this audience often has more than one option available to them. While your incentive program is designed to entice potential participants to engage with your brand rather than another, there will always be competitors lurking out there waiting to snatch up available pieces of mind-share and market share.
It’s important, then, to take advantage of every possible opportunity to champion your brand’s message, and this includes any incentive or special promotion you might be running.
By integrating your corporate communications with your incentive program communications, you can add another touch-point in the sales ecosystem where your company’s value proposition is reinforced.
Integration Prevents Disintegration
What does this look like?
The underlying goal here is to empower your program communications campaign to act as a surrogate for the company’s sales organization, helping to support the overarching corporate message of “why purchase from you rather than your competitors.”
It’s also important for this integration to work the other way as well. Corporate communications can work to increase the growth of participation in your program.
It starts with a few simple strategies…
- Align your program theme with your overall brand. This can include subtle marketing elements like logos, colors, fonts, and banners, and while these don’t necessarily have to be identical with your corporate messaging, they should at the very least be complementary and produce an association in the minds of participants.
- Always Be Linking. Provide links in your reward website that connect directly back to your corporate website or eCommerce site, and vice versa. One client of ours has had great success with a promotion this way.
- Implement single sign-on. Single sign-on (SSO) is a method of combining an online ecommerce portal with your reward website login. Installing one area to login for both portals allows for greater communication opportunities for both your brand and your program, and makes the online experience more intuitive and accessible for your audience. In a world where accessibility issues can really hurt the online portion of your business, SSO is a great way to seamlessly integrate two unique online experiences.
- Cross-marketing campaigns. It may sound simple, but you should also be marketing your program in your existing corporate marketing campaigns. This way, both customers and potential participants of your program can be reached on multiple fronts: your own corporate marketing and the program marketing. These campaigns can take the form of digital/print announcements and newsletters, corporate emails, trade show initiatives, videos, and webinars, with the objective of expanding mindshare and, potentially, the participant pool for future incentive initiatives.
- Another avenue for you. You can also utilize your incentive program portal as a platform for corporate announcements and initiatives, such as a new product launch, a new branch opening, a unique value-added service, or a special corporate promotion that’s being offered. These types of company-wide initiatives, which may originate outside of the incentive program, can and should still be communicated through the vehicle of the program.
Why is all this important? Your program has a built-in captive audience that’s already been given a reason to engage with your brand—namely, the incentive rewards that you’re offering. Providing these active participants with yet more avenues for brand engagement only makes sense.
The most successful incentive strategies go beyond marketing for just the program alone. Supplementing your program messaging with corporate communications that highlight the benefits of doing business with you can create a powerful voice that reinforce the reason your participants are there in the first place.
Finally, supporting your program with your existing corporate marketing campaigns increases your captive audience pool, creating more on-the-ground advocates of your program, which in turn drives successful results.