Rewards programmes and how to smash them!

8 principles of a successful rewards programme.

Now more than ever, customers old and new need incentivising, motivating and empowering to remain loyal to your business. When executed well a rewards programme can be used to increase market share, drive sales and build brand loyalty but what are the fundamental principles involved in making it a success? 


Amy Ellison

Marketing & Rewards Manager


1 . “Teamwork makes the dreamwork”
Cheesy, but true. 

If you have ever run an in-house rewards programme you will know that they can be tricky to get right, extremely time consuming and require a wide range of skills which can often be overlooked when allocating your internal resources. Success comes from having the right people doing the right job. A winning rewards team will consist of consultants, planners, creatives, data analysts, IT developers, marketeers, digital specialists, and reward facilitators and only through working collaboratively will they get results.

2. Audience is key
Choosing the right customer

Your audience determines your entire campaign strategy so selecting the right customers to be part of your programme is crucial. You need to consider what their existing relationship is within your business, what opportunities they could present and how you can segment them in the most effective way. Once you have this then you can start to map out potential ROI.  

3. Win hearts and minds
Rewards to be excited about.

Whatever your objective might be, in order to achieve it you are going to have to encourage your customers to change their buying behaviour and therefore you will need the right rewards at the right value to do this.

If you are spending more money on rewarding your customers than you are making from their increase in profit, something is drastically wrong but equally you need to find the right reward for the level of investment – no one is going to want to spend thousands with you if you offer them a £50 voucher for example.

So whether you reward your customers with the latest award winning tool, a must-have gadget, a holiday of a lifetime or simply a discount on their next purchase with you, the rule of thumb is that you need a reward that will encourage customers to spend more money with you but is still making you money.



4. Aim for the bullseye
Targeted campaigns achieve the results

Game changing results come from knowing your audience and being able to create campaigns specifically targeted to energise and encourage the customer through their journey. These campaigns need to be personalised, engaging and ultimately get your customer excited about the prospect of qualifying for their reward – the more creative and innovative campaigns the better!

When creating an initial campaign plan for a reward scheme you must also think about the best ways to communicate with your customers and how you can encourage them to hit their target.  Are they tech-savvy? Would they prefer printed encouragement? Can you target them on multiple platforms? How often should you communicate with the customers? Are there any points in the scheme where you can maximise on their results? These are just a few of the questions that you need to think about and address.

Image by Clay Banks
Image by Clemens van Lay

5. Mapping for success 
Creating a flawless customer journey

Once you have established which audience you want to target and developed a marketing strategy relevant to them, it’s time to look at the individual customer journey and the mechanics involved to facilitate their reward. 

There should be a clear and intuitive process in place for how a customer registers, how they track their sales and how they claim their rewards if they qualify. In order to engage a customer, you will need to give them the capability to monitor how they are progressing and track how close to their target they are. A transparent and seamless process throughout the scheme is going to improve your customer relationship and make them want to be a part of the scheme again should you repeat it.  

The process to redeem a reward also needs to be smooth. Once they have hit their target, the customer needs to feel confident that they will receive their reward promptly or that it will be arranged on their behalf swiftly. The redemption process should simply require the customer to click to claim, after all they have done the hard work by bringing in the sales to qualify! Whatever the reward on offer you will need an experienced team in place who will be able to fulfil the rewards with ease (at least from a customer perspective) and offer exceptional customer service.

6. Be a Marine
“Improvise, Adapt and Overcome” 

When running a reward programme you are continuously learning about how the customers respond to your programme and then adapting areas to maximise the result.  Inevitably unforeseen things will happen and it is important to have the capacity to react and alter certain aspects to reflect the situation. 

7. Be a cheerleader
Motivate your sales team and get them on your side

The sales team are vital in making any loyalty programme a success as they are the people that know their customers the best, know their capabilities and can therefore push them to make further sales.  As such you need to think about implementing a strategy that will help them to promote the programme, track their customers and see their sales overall. A staff incentive programme is also a great way to incentivise a team especially when run alongside a customer programme.


Data on a Touch Pad

8. Data is King
Track it and measure it

Analysis is fundamental in achieving a successful programme. Data tells a story of how your customer and your programme is performing. Through consistent analysis and interpretation, you can track the results of each campaign and determine what’s working and what’s not. With this insight you can then adapt each part of the customer journey accordingly to maximise results. With great analysis you can also identify new opportunities and influence further ways to help drive sales. 


Getting it right

A rewards scheme relies upon many factors to make it successful and only through experience can you really determine how to execute the right programme to generate your aims and objectives. Done well a rewards campaign can give you incredible results, very happy customers and fantastic ROI.

Ultimately if you want a successful rewards programme you have to dedicate the time and resources needed to getting it right. If you don’t have either of these then I suggest you give us a call!