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Successful companies invest time and money not only to attract new customers, but to keep the current ones as well. Studies have shown that attracting a new client is 25 times more expensive than keeping the existing clients, which means the marketing investment made for maintaining the existing clients is far more profitable.

Improving customer retention rate will always result in higher profits for the company. The 20/80 rule applies here, which means 20% of the existing clients will generate 80% of the company’s profits.
A loyalty program is the best way to maintain a long-term relationship with clients and partners. Basically, rewarding customers for repeat purchases and partners for reaching certain performances in selling the product are ways to build a relationship meant to last.

However, it is a big challenge. How can you create a long-term relationship using your rewards program?
A popular idea is that B2B clients choose a brand or a company for rational reasons like instant offers or volume discounts. We agree with that, however we think there’s more to it.

Consistent prizes. Cutting off prices, rebates or spot offers are money savers and quite attractive, but they have a time limit. This type of promotion is a channel incentive type in which the customers take action only on short term. The disadvantage is that you cannot build a long-term relationship using this type of mechanism. Furthermore, it can be easily copied by the competition.
A program through which clients accumulate points and have the option of choosing the products they are interested in from a personalized catalogue are important elements for the customer. The consistency and uniqueness of the catalogue products will influence the perceived value of the program in the eyes of the customer. A successful prize catalogue is the one we created for Rewards Direct. It is being used by over 150 clients because its perceived value is very high.

Creating an emotional bond. Customers often choose to stay in a program because they feel part of a community and have developed a strong emotional connection with the brand. If you are a salesman, you have probably been in the situation where customers have chosen some other brand over yours, even though your offer was better.

An emotional connection is created when the customer feels that he’s receiving a complete experience that is based on motivation, communication, genuine interest in their business and access to useful information. It seems hard to believe, but many customers make purchase decisions based on emotions. A brand communicates and is actively present in the day to day life of their clients and partners.

Access to the program. The easier is the program to access, the more trustworthy it becomes for clients and partners. Access from mobile devices is crucial and the program must be present online as well.

Clients and partners must always have access to their account, their messages and notifications sent via email, access to accumulated points, news or the prize catalogue. An integrated communication where a simple click on an URL received on email, WhatsApp or text message leading the user to the desired page is an important component of a successful program.

Just as important is the time it takes for the page to load. It must be very fast so that the users don’t lose interest and leave the page.

The pages we have developed over time for our clients on Rewards Direct and Rewardiful are optimized for any type of device, no matter the complexity of the program or the volume of information.

Loyalty programs are an excellent way of creating a long-lasting relationship with your clients and partners. All you have to do is follow our recommendations above, add a sprinkle of creativity and constant communication. Long term bonds are built in time and with consistency.

Incentive Awards 2019
The rewards solutions created by the agency Create Direct have been shortlisted for two categories at IMA Europe’s Incentive Awards 2019 that took place in London on September 26th. Each category had 5 shortlisted projects, the best 5 of all projects submitted for Incentive Awards.

For the category Best Use of a Technology in a Programme, Create Direct was shortlisted for Rewardiful, a Saas solution for developing trade campaigns, loyalty and rewards programmes.

The second nomination was for Rewards Direct in the category Best Technology Provider or Solution. Rewards Direct is a complete, customizable, rewards management solution.

Create Direct’s solutions have been shortlisted alongside projects from Germany, UK, Italy, Belgium, Sweden and Norway. Almost 2 weeks before, the agency’s loyalty & rewards solutions have been awarded with one gold and two silvers at the IDN Creative & Strategic Forum 2019 that took place this September in Bucharest. The awards won by the agency were for Innovations, Loyalty and Best Customer Strategy.

Cosmin Lăcătușu, CEO at Create Direct: `The awards and nominations we have received are a confirmation that we are market leaders not just on the local market, but on the Eastern European market as well. Our solutions are already being used by prominent brands in countries like Bulgaria, Ukraine, Hungary, Turkey and Romania. The solutions we offer cover a wide spectrum of business objectives and are suitable for any type of business, region or industry. Furthermore, we have the expertise of handling the marketing communication, as well as the logistics behind the programmes. We have the resources of being the logistics supplier for all the Eastern European countries. So, when it comes down to it, we offer much more than software solutions. We offer a complete business solution that ensures long-term success. `

IMA Europe acts as a Strategic Industry Group within the USA based Incentive Marketing Association and its purpose is to develop the benefits that incentive marketing offers to all kind of organizations across Europe. The shortlisted solutions proposed for the Incentive Awards have been judged by a panel of industry leaders and experts like Mark Smith – Head of Microsoft Solutions, Alan Price – Group Operations Director Peninsula, and Jonathan Grey – CEO Ovation Incentives.

Create Direct agency is specialized in developing business solutions for loyalty & rewards programmes, lead generation campaigns, performance marketing and GDPR marketing compliancy.

When we create a program to stimulate the sales channel or partners, which we will call incentive channel , we have certain program objectives related to the increase of sales performance.
As with the incentive programs for consumers, expectations are linked to the partner’s influence or sales force acquisition behaviour. Moreover, the B2B motivation programs derived from B2C programs, but obviously the methods and levels used to incite are on a different level.

How does an incentive channel work?
An incentive channel program will always have as strategy the increase of sales performance by influencing the partner’s acquisition behaviour, a sale performance that can be linked to objectives as balancing the mix of sold products (by increasing sales for profitable products), reaching value thresholds or both.

Let us imagine a sports footwear company, that has set as objective to increase sales for women’s sport footwear, but that wants to raise profitability by selling children’s footwear. In establishing the incentive program for sale, a sale that will include both types of sports footwear (women and children) will be more rewarded and will bring the partner more benefits.
Creating attractive motivation mechanisms will determine the program’s success, influencing the partner’s behaviour, but also his relationship with the brand.

Type of incentive channels mechanisms:

1. Discounts awarded on value thresholds. It is the most common way to stimulate sales, being an excellent volume generation mechanism. Discounts can be set at general level, brand or category/product class;

2. Registration of the products in the campaign. Creating a platform through which partners are to receive points following the purchase of products from distributors (indirect distribution), or following the uploading of a transaction report – sell-out (direct distribution). They will receive points that they can “burn” in exchange for prizes;

3. COOP programs (as they are known). Establishing within the partnership a common marketing objective by allocating a percentage of the sales, which will be awarded to the partner for supporting marketing activities. For example, the budget resulting from a COOP program can be used to support the promotion of new products at the store level;

4. Boosting the sales force. Create an incentive program dedicated to the sales team where they receive material benefits. The benefits go directly to the sales force, the action having a decisive role in selling products to traders at the expense of the competition.

Of course, the mechanics mentioned above are those most commonly used, but they can be improved or can grow in complexity depending on the necessity and type of business.
The success of an incentive channel program is based on a few aspects that hold both external considerations: seasonality, the market context at that time, the level of engagement of the partners in the program, but also of internal considerations such as: the level of stocks , the supply capacity of the sales channel, the structure of the product mix, the benefits granted and the communication capacity of the program at the channel level.

The incentive programs should not be seen as loyalty programs.
The incentive programs and loyalty programs are often considered the same thing, but the difference is that the incentive program stimulates a type of action with a time frame, while the loyalty program is long term and focuses on keeping the partners to stay with the brand.
In other words, the long-term support of partners requires an involvement of the brand alongside them, an effort to support knowledge exchange, the identification of market opportunities where both sides have shared interest and last, but not least, a permanent communication.

More than providing product information, brands want to influence their partners in adopting new technologies and techniques for increasing sales while staying in line with new trends. Building a loyalty program requires time and resources capable of sustaining communication and logistics activities.

That’s why we created Rewardiful and Rewards Direct, two platforms built specifically to support loyalty programs.
Want to know more about our platforms? Request a meeting with a specialist in loyalty programs.

It is already well known the importance of long-term customer motivation to stay with a brand or company. B2B Rewards Programs are quite recent as a marketing tool, but increasingly used, and most often they work as a differentiation tool for your brand.

Why a rewards program for B2B? The time spent and the acquisition costs of a B2B client are much higher compared to a B2C client, which is why their motivation to stay with the company in the long run becomes one of the main concerns. And things get even more complicated when the same segment of clients is targeted by the current competitors, but also by those who have just entered the market.

The launch and management of a B2B rewards program requires communication, perseverance, but also some good practices that need to be applied for a successful program. Obviously, there are basic practices that you start with, and in time you develop and refine your own practices.

1. Keep the customer’s attention. The Ability to maintain customer interest in the rewards program must be the first goal. The customer’s rate of engagement is important because it reflects the customer’s interest towards your program.
Communicate and even establish a partner-level dialogue regardless of its performance in sales. Most of the time you will get valuable “insights” related to the program and you can give them recommendations related to how they can increase their performance.

2. Offers rewards based on performance. The program’s objective is to increase performance, and the establishment of a certain percentage of sales to return to customers in the form of an award is one of the most effective ways of rewarding. For example, through Rewardiful clients within the program earn points based on a percentage of turnover, which they later turn into prizes. Customers order their prizes from an online catalogue by transforming the points into products necessary for daily activity.

3. Create a personal relationship with your clients. Obviously, it’s not easy, but providing support to your clients will significantly increase their confidence in the program. You can grow in efficiency using automated marketing tools. For example, setting automatic alerts when the customer approaches a certain value threshold, announcing the entry of new products into the program or changes/improvements made to the program.

4. Attract new customers. Promoting the program to potential clients can be an additional sales argument to choose the products of your company. Offering welcome points and presenting prizes that can be obtained through the program can become significant reasons in their conversion as clients and subsequently as participants in the program.

Compared to B2C programs, B2B Rewards Programs have an advantage in terms of management because of the smaller number of clients and that’s why customer/partner level attention is much better distributed. Often, a B2B rewards program can be managed by one or two members of your company when they have a Plug & Play solution at hand.

A well-built B2B rewards program will cause your customers to think twice before choosing the products and services of the competition.
The acquisition of a rewards tool is only the beginning of the program. It’s all about perseverance and a good communication to make it a winner tool for your brand in the long run. Last but not least, a rewards program is built on recognition of merit and trust, especially when they come with consistency and on time.

For a company it is more expensive to attract new customers than to sell to existing ones. And more than that, existing clients spend much more than new ones, which means that loyalty and loyalty programs are extremely effective and costs are self-deductible.

What is a loyalty or loyalty program?

It’s a program that offers rewards to your customers or partners for a certain action, basically, to buy products or use your services. Rewards can take many forms, but the favorite method of getting customers is to receive loyalty points that can be later converted into credits with which they can buy products at the promotional price.

What preferences do customers have?

Customer preferences depend heavily on industry, industry, social class, urban or rural environment, so it is very important that when launching such a program, keep in mind the target customer and his behavior.

Once enrolled in the platform, customer behavior can be segmented in two phases. The first phase is testing, where customers visit and watch the platform for 2-3 months, gather points and buy a lower value prize. Shortly after, the second phase follows, where customers gather points, tumbling higher prizes, and then use the full number of points on the platform at the end of the campaign.

Overall, the redeeming rate is around 92%, which means that 8% of the points budget remains unspent, but with constant and sustained communication, but also a great prize pool, which also includes prizes a lower value, this rate may increase considerably.

What’s next after consuming the points?

The campaign does not end when the customer has ordered the desired prize, thus spending the points on the platform.

It is very important to receive your prize in time! When you order a product you are anxious to get it as soon as possible. Basically, Customer Experience is here and it is what differentiates us.

That is why we constantly update the stock of products and our logistic capacity allows us to deliver the prize in a very short time. “, Adina Georgescu, Create Direct

What impact does such a campaign have on your business?

Loyalty or loyalty programs are for your most involved customers. Even if they represent only 20% of your total customers, they are the ones that generate 80% of total revenue, spending more time over time. Such a campaign ensures that these customers feel appreciated and motivated.

With the data you get from your customer’s behavior and preferences within the platform, you can improve your marketing strategies and adapt or improve your loyalty program.

Make sure you develop your business and give your customers the right attention with a simple yet effective loyalty program that you can implement today!