Treat Your Program Like a Home Improvement Project

Today we welcome Dave Minnelli as a guest blogger. Dave is Senior Director, Strategic Insights and Design for Maritz Motivation Solutions. In this role, Dave leads a team of analysts who transform behavioral and attitudinal data into actionable insights that drive improved program design and business results.

I, like most people, enjoy a good home improvement project. OK, really I don’t, as my wife will attest (and the honey-do list continues to grow longer). However, stick with me on this.

Imagine you are going to paint a room. You go to the home improvement store, pick out a color, buy a bucket of paint, brushes, tarp, etc., then prep and paint the room. Say $40 and 2-3 hours of your time. Now imagine a friend of yours asks you to paint a room for a relative of theirs, and assume (after some cajoling) you agree to it. Are you going to apply your own judgment, pick out the color and paint, hoping the relative likes it? Or are you going to ask the relative what they’d like, first, before you invest your time and money?

As a loyalty, incentive or recognition program owner, you are investing multi-million dollars and lots of peoples’ time to develop a program that helps you reach your goals and corporate objectives. However, you need to achieve these goals through other people – the program participants. For your program to generate superior results, your participants must get what they want in the context of your business. Are you asking your participants what they want and will work hard to achieve? Or are you designing a program that reflects what you (or your senior leaders) want? If the latter, you could be wasting your investment.

My suggestion: Take a proactive approach to program design. Unleash the power of your data by looking through the lens of behavior, deriving insights that drive action and results. You can unlock distinct participant behaviors, attitudes and perceptions, as well as unmet participant needs and wants by analyzing transactional, survey and ethnographic research data.

At one client, we identified some interesting behavior within their channel loyalty program – those channel partners who purchased one or two products from the client remained relatively stagnant over time. However, those that added a 3rd product began to see explosive growth. As a result, we designed an incentive to drive increased breadth of purchases. This incentive drove more than double digit incremental sales growth (well ahead of market growth rates) and an $11 to $1 return on investment.

So the moral of the story: Look like a hero! Make wise program investments by understanding your people.

Now back to the honey-do list. Oh wait, isn’t there a game on TV?

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