Incentive marketing is a specific strategy to persuade people to do what you want by giving them something, an incentive, to achieve an objective. Often, these people are your customers and clients. Incentive marketing is your way to retain customers and clients loyal to your brand, company or services. Incentive marketing is also used to dispose of inventory or to push slow-moving products. Nonetheless, incentive marketing is an effective tool to increase your sales.

Incentive marketing – what size do you need?

Bigger isn’t better. If we convince ourselves that we were driven by external rewards, we are less likely to change our internal mindset. Simply, if the reward is bigger, we are more likely to conclude that we did it for the benefit of the reward itself. But if the reward is smaller, we are more likely to believe that we did it because we like it better and enjoy it more.

While big rewards can motivate action, smaller rewards can be more effective at generating deeper, lasting change by inspiring larger shifts in favourable attitudes and positive emotions. Social psychologist Leon Festinger observed this phenomenon over half a century ago when he proposed his theory of cognitive dissonance.


Incentive marketing examples

Digi – providing stimulus for the purchase of Royal Canin products

The Canary Islands is offering airlines an incentive of up to €200,000 to create new routes to La Palma.

Ticketmaster with Tillo -36% face-value sales growth in the UK and live across 12 markets 

BrawBand – a Scottish internet service provider – is using the gift cards as rewards to those who refer friends to their services.

Customers who visited Yolo Electronics outlet in Jiading enjoyed a 10 percent government subsidy plus the store’s own 10 percent discount on green home appliances.

British Gas, Octopus and Ovo to pay customers up to £100 this winter to reduce their electricity use at peak times

Currys revives Cash for Trash recycling incentive

GPs to receive incentive payments to deliver ‘accelerated’ care home Covid boosters


How to run incentive marketing – suppliers to consider working with

Roiward – allows you to create, launch and pay for your incentive and gift card campaigns, while fully controlling all of them. Have full traceability of each and every ticket you send, analyze the data generated by your campaigns and fully optimize, defend and learn from them. Also the only company that can provide you Amazon Products with just a few clicks – your customers will receive it in 24/48 hours automatically by API REST.

Bonago – No matter what challenge you face in your company, BONAGO Incentive Marketing Group GmbH offers you suitable, goal-oriented reward solutions for marketing, sales and personnel. Fuel cards, anniversary cards and even charitable cards are all on offer from this German business.

xoxoday – Thousands of businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to large enterprises, use Xoxoday’s business currency to send rewards, perks, incentives, & disburse payouts. When running your reward programs with Xoxoday, you can set up workflows and trigger and get access to a global catalogue of over 21,000 rewards from over 20+ different categories. We make the reward gratification experience delightful for end users.

Boost – Founded in 1987, Boost Group is the leading international full-service provider for loyalty programs and shopper marketing. They cab boost customer loyalty and engagement in sustainable, innovative and impactful ways through omni-channel solutions for shopper marketing, collectables promotions and loyalty programs. The solutions are aimed at influencing consumers’ buying behaviour, increasing sales volumes and customer engagement at every touchpoint, online and in-store.

Cashwave – Cashwave is a reseller and distributor of corporate gift cards, e-codes and gift vouchers into the B2B and employee rewards market who offer a wide range of products from retailers and e-commerce sites in 8 countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

Givex – this company offer a range of incentives – You can start identifying and segmenting your customer base by tracking and then rewarding them based on their spending with you. Deliver real-time points rewards at the time of purchase from any of your sales channels. Use their Member Tiers to provide unique privileged rewards to your most valued customers, while using targeted incentives to encourage casual customers to be more loyal. There are also Packaged Programs and frequency programmes – often in fast paced, lower margin businesses, where the most important information on the customer is if they keep coming every day. Not long ago the most cost-effective solution for this was thought to be the paper punch card, however as businesses grew, so did the fraud. On the Givex Platform the possibility of fraud is reduced. Data is generated with a unique algorithm that ties the card number to a specific merchant and confirms validity. Rewards are also given and redeemed in real time making the experience for both the merchant and the customer fast and simple.


Setting up an incentive marketing strategy

We met Mario Churchill to get his view on setting up an incentive marketing strategy.

“To set up an incentive marketing strategy, you need to define your objective or goal first- answering “why you need to do it”. One very common incentive marketing goal is increasing the sale of your product. To ensure this, however, you need to understand well the behaviour of your target customers and clients. We say “target” because you can never have an incentive marketing strategy that applies to all. “A glove made for everyone fits to no one.” Further, your target market should be able to achieve your goal, otherwise, it is useless to have such a program and devote your time and money to formulating it.

Now, define your budget. There are incentive marketing programs that do not require you to put out cash since you have to reduce the price of your product or the cost of your service. But no matter what type of incentive marketing you will be using, it is equally important to ensure you know how much you can afford. In the end, if you could define your budget, you know how much you have gained.

There are other important factors that you need to consider when executing your incentive marketing strategy. These include a promotion, program length and timing, reward, and geographic boundaries.

In promotion, your clients must know what your incentive marketing is all about. You can send it through email, newsletter, monthly fliers, brochures, posters, and other marketing paraphernalia that will effectively inform your customers about the incentive you offer. There is a budget involved here. Make sure that you have calculated it well during your initial planning.

The length of the program must be well-planned. Timing is also crucial. These 2 must go hand in hand and will define if your incentive marketing will work or not. To know when is the right time to launch this program, study the behaviour of your sales carefully during the year. Take note of the highest point and mark the lowest point. Usually, incentive marketing can be implemented during the months when customers least buy your product or take your services. Simply put: give them a reason to buy your product or acquire your service when they least need it.

The reward is another important factor that determines the success of your incentive marketing. When choosing merchandise for reward, consider its usefulness, durability, attractiveness, convenience, and uniqueness. Choose the kind of reward that appeals to most of your customers and clients. Since it involves investment, take note of the longevity of the product. Do not just buy too many and stack them in your warehouse. Buy within your budget. Consider the following factors, and give it away before the program expires.

The effectiveness of your incentive marketing will still depend on the response of your customers and clients, but if you take note of these issues, you will surely increase your chances of achieving your goals and pleasing your customers.

Further reading on incentive marketing