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Growing B2B Rewards: Loyalty for the Underserved, NOT Undeserved

At Kobie, we stress that quality loyalty isn’t just about racking up points and calling it a day. Reward programs must be enterprise level initiatives; part and parcel of what a marketing mix sets out to do. But above all else loyalty programs must be fun and engaging – not just for customers, but for employees too.

Sometimes loyalty isn’t as much about driving unique customer experience as it is about heightening the employee experience. Incentivizing employees to sell, up-sell and cross-sell products or services to their customers, while earning points and rewards in the process helps create more highly engaged employees with even greater product knowledge. This, in turn, helps to promote true brand loyalty as the employee bonds with the end-user and extends the engagement continuum.

Think of it as more of an ongoing “end-of-year bonus,” or recognition that carries far more value than, say, the “employee of the month” framed office snapshot. And while data on this type of B2B loyalty is scarce – with most of it still focused on B2C loyalty and not internal staffing – (for instance, the Staples Advantage program which offers companies with 20+ employees online ordering, free next-day delivery, and lowest prices at brick-and-mortar stores, among other benefits) it’s reasonable to conclude that if less than half of B2B operations report not having a department that is focused on loyalty and customer retention, you can be sure their staffs are equally underserved.

That’s why Kobie is working hard to fill this vital space, turning even B2B loyalty on its head and thus the reasoning behind this blog post. Recently our company partnered with GROHE, the leading provider of premium bath faucets and showers, kitchen mixers, thermostats and installation systems, to help improve and upgrade the company’s existing incentive program as well as increase product knowledge and member participation.

Inspired by their tagline, Enjoy Water, we named GROHE’S B2B loyalty program, “Enjoy Rewards.” GROHE Enjoy Rewards was constructed in a 3-tiered view with graduated earn rates by tier. Members earn points for every sale they generate, and with three program tiers that increase, the more they sell, the higher the value of points per sales dollar. Members can redeem points via a personalized prepaid reloadable MasterCard°, or choose from top brand name gift cards to redeem their points including Starbucks, Outback Steakhouse, Macy’s, and Target to name a few.

It’s vital to think beyond loyalty in “traditional” terms when developing a program for the growing segment of employee loyalty. I’s vital in part because happy employees are more productive, healthier employees. According to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, employers with wellness programs (which include methods of boosting morale and on-the-job enjoyment) can see a $3-$6 ROI for every dollar invested over a 2-5 year period.

So if consumer loyalty programs are starting to embrace more freedom, choice, and the ability to earn and burn rewards across a diversity of industry verticals in a fully mobilized, omnichannel environment, why should employees be left out?

The answer is: they shouldn’t.

There’s no denying that B2B loyalty programs will factor prominently in the years ahead, as B2B embraces what’s long been a staple of business-to-consumer ideology. Besides, no one likes being left out or not being invited to the party – especially if rewards programs are structured to give every partygoer “gifts.” We’ll be on the lookout for other B2B loyalty programs that are doing it right and reinforcing that “driving customer experience” (even when it’s starts in the auspices of employee experiences) isn’t just a throwaway line, but a genuine course of action at Kobie.

Author: Kobie Marketing

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