By Leigh Hardin, Director, Sales – Channel Partnerships
Four ways to take advantage of disruption in the incentive marketThe saying that “everything is bigger in Texas” may ring true for cowboy hats and cattle, but luckily that was far from my experience at the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) Executive Summit held in hot and steamy Houston last month. The Summit’s small, intimate size enabled and encouraged networking with peers while participating in engaging content sessions. After-hours networking brought people together who have worked with each other or known each other for, in some instances, twenty years and allowed folks to share insights and updates about our ever evolving space.
As I attended the various sessions, a common theme presented itself: technology and change. From “Rewards 3.0, a lesson in Disruptive Reward Management for the Next Generation,” presented by Rob Purdy of Global Rewards Solutions to “Taking Advantage of Digital Disruption in Incentives and Loyalty” presented by our very own Vice President of Channel Partnerships,Martin Hood, the message was clear – you can’t outrun change, however you can be left behind. Nothing is immune to the disruptive nature of the Internet.
Martin demonstrated how disruption presents us all with many opportunities: consumers, employees, corporations, merchants. While disruption may sound like a scary word, Martin offered some practical ways to take advantage of the opportunities disruption creates, which I think are valuable beyond the context of the Summit:
- Embrace change and opportunity — Disrupt or be disrupted. As the landscape in our industry continues to shift to cater to a more digital audience, assess how to engage and incentivize your team to help drive that change from the top down. Take advantage of the people in your organization who are looking for the opportunity to share ideas and help bring forth change.
- Have a plan but be agile — Focus and identify on what resonates with your customers. While change does take time, don’t take too long to implement something or you’ll miss many opportunities. Be agile and move quickly.
- Take advantage of digital gift card disruption — Whether you’re looking at digital disruption from the point of view of an incentive provider or a merchant, the opportunity is equally huge. To take full advantage, invest strategically. Consider the content, the discount, and most importantly, the technology. Your digital platform needs to deliver a great customer experience, offer security, minimize risk and provide scalability.
- Create win-win partnerships — Strive to find partners that complement your business – and vice versa. Once you have those partners, seek creative ways to work together through innovative promotions and programs, for example.
Leigh Hardin is Director, Sales – Channel Partnerships at CashStar. With several years of experience in the Incentive and Gift Card industry, Leigh is dedicated to helping businesses with incentive programs. Comment on this post or Leigh with questions or set up some time to talk shop.