Traditional companies have seen the market get tougher and tougher as their business model get’s disintermediated squeezing margins, software vendors encroach on their space, new award options are developed by outsiders, and thought-leadership is usurped by just about everyone. All things that point to an industry resting on its laurels.
Loyal readers know I don’t recommend specific companies (our model is about program design – not fulfillment) but I’m not against highlighting companies that I think are doing good stuff. In the past, I’ve referenced, Globoforce and I Love Rewards – and now I need to add MotivAction, LLC to my list of companies to watch.
The Big Deal
MotivAction, LLC out of Minneapolis, MN recently issued a press release about a new platform for their award programs and I really like the concept. Called “The Big Deal” (might want to check with Shanter - I wouldn't want to get on the real Big Deal's bad side) – this new patent-pending technology adds a layer of game play and special access to the traditional earn and burn strategy employed by most companies.
"The Big Deal" in a nutshell...
Paraphrasing their recent press release:
Companies pick specific activity goals. Once those goals are achieved by the program participants, they “unlock” access to specific, time-sensitive deals on awards. The deals are determined by the client and are communicated via the program website, email and mobile communications.
The key here is that the “award” is not only the points that the participant would normally earn for activity in a program – but the access to deals. The participant isn’t just working to earn a “point” – he/she is now working to be one of a select few that can get behind the velvet rope and redeem their points for lower priced awards. Leveling up so to speak.
I’ve not seen the process in action but I can guess that what may be offered in the catalog for $100 in points could be offered through “The Big Deal” for say $75 in points – but only for a limited time and only if you hit specific metrics in the program.
The Real Win Here
While MotivAction seems to be selling the “deal” aspect (ie: lower point values on awards) I don't think that is the real win.
The real win is increased program performance. Here's my thinking...
1. Scarcity – By establishing a threshold for access to the deals you increase desire.
We all want something we can’t have. Another Cialdini principle in action! By making access limited – you increase focus and attention on the goal thereby increasing program performance and the influence the program has on results.
In addition, making the offer time-sensitive (short term) it increases the scarcity factor. Not only is access limited based on my performance (I got in and you didn’t neener, neener) but I have to redeem within a time frame creating an urgency that normally doesn’t exist in point award programs. And that means...
2. Redemption = Engagement.
Many companies see unused points as a positive thing especially if they are in the old model of bill on redemption – meaning they don’t pay until someone actually orders an award. However, unused points are really a big negative. When participants redeem they get to experience the award and the feelings that award brings them. No one ever got excited looking at a bank statement (well maybe Bill Gates does) – but put a 55 inch LED TV in the living room around SuperBowl time, and you got a party!
Redemption is the surest sign your people are engaged in the program. This new twist on the program should increase redemption – which in turn should increase engagement with the program.
3. Redemption = More Performance.
I’ve said this before – when you have big balance of points in your program bank account you don’t need to perform. Why? You can redeem any time. But as you spend down those points and experience the thrill of the new doodad or that trip – you want to do it again. But you’ll need to earn more points (positive feedback loop or vicious circle? You decide.) In either case – redemption begets earning. It’s a fact. The more I redeem, the more I like it, the more I need to earn to redeem again.
The Big Deal creates more reasons to redeem and therefore should increase the reasons I need to earn and ultimately – increase the results of the program.
4. Increased program communications.
Traditionally incentive programs have stayed on a standard schedule of one communication contact a month. It’s what we did when we printed everything and in many cases it’s what we did when we went electronic. This program creates additional program communication triggers. I would think they would communicate the “deals” when they are announced, when people are close to unlocking a level, when the time for redemption begins and ends. All events that require an increase in the amount of communication with the participant about the program. That is a good thing. The more I talk about the program – the more the participants are aware of it and incorporate the earning possibilities into their daily behaviors.
So... “The Big Deal” by MotivAction, LLC – nicely done folks. Nicely, done.