5 Reward Buyer Wishes Incentive Reward Vendors Should Be Able to Deliver


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While the basic premise of an incentive program is pretty simple, managing an incentive program isn’t for the faint of heart. From research and strategy development to customer support and reporting—the list of moving parts is long, and the job is complex. Reward buyers often look to incentive reward vendors to help map out a corporate incentive plan and identify the best reward solutions.

As simple and high-impact reward vehicles, gift and prepaid cards have transformed the incentives industry by becoming a preferred choice for rewards. According to a recent study by Hawk Incentives, people prefer prepaid reward cards. When given a choice, 48 and 62 percent of surveyed consumers preferred prepaid reward cards over other reward types for $25 and $100 rewards, respectively. But, identifying the most desirable rewards for your program is only half the battle. When you’re looking for an incentive program solutions provider to help you out, what is it that you’re really hoping they can do for you?

We have narrowed the list to five typical reward buyer wishes that vendors should be able to deliver on.

1. A Deep Understanding of Prepaid Reward Card Options
When you’re searching for the right rewards, start by partnering with a full-service provider that has a comprehensive reward portfolio. More than that, your vendor should have a deep understanding of the available reward card options—and recommendations about what your participants want. There are many available rewards that sometimes are overlooked. If a vendor does not have a broad understanding and offering, you may not get the right rewards for your business or brand’s unique incentives challenges.

2. Compliance Management
Incentive programs for large companies are often complicated. Add the constantly changing regulations on prepaid cards, and it can take a lot of your time and resources to ensure that your rewards are in compliance. When searching for a vendor, it’s important to look for a partner with a compliance-centric culture that will work to protect your business and your stakeholders by continuously monitoring applicable regulations. Valuable vendor partners are familiar with the laws and regulations surrounding reward compliance, and manage that burden to keep you focused on program performance. Their assistance in helping you use rewards in a secure manner in terms of data and distribution, ensures your reward recipients are well-protected.

3. Program Management from End to End
Your vendor should be able to offer you the capability to manage your program from end to end—from what the program and rewards look like and where they can be used, to the approval process and how they are delivered. Your vendor should be able to receive your program goals, challenges and instructions and take it from there. It’s convenient for your business to be able to benefit from a vendor’s licenses with partners like Visa® and Mastercard® along with their knowledge of the program approval processes, but it’s also valuable to be advised on when to build your own card, what your card branding should look like, etc.

4. Speedy Incentive Delivery
Vendors can help you improve the odds of participants associating a positive incentive experience with your brand by providing rapid rewards. According to research from Hawk Incentives, respondents say the ideal reward is delivered in less than a week. Innovations in technology now offer near-instant rewards, allowing participants to redeem easily, sometimes with as little as a few thumb swipes on a smartphone. This can mean a faster, more rewarding experience, which can effectively engage your program participants and drive desired behaviors.

5. Flexibility of Product Capabilities
To provide the most effective solution for your business, a vendor should provide flexibility in its product capabilities and options with fully customizable cards in a wide range of denominations and various fulfillment options, including single-load and reloadable cards. For some, this means building a custom card from scratch – from acceptance locations to branding and features. Simply put, a vendor’s breadth of products and options needs to be able to match the size of your business and the scope of your program in order to maximize the program’s potential. Depending on the size and global reach of your business, it is also worth examining the international capabilities of any potential vendor. Dedicated multilingual support for your team and your program participants might be necessary if your program will span several currencies and languages.

With convenience, variety and customization, it’s easy to see why so many companies are choosing prepaid reward cards for their corporate incentive programs. Identifying a full-service reward card vendor with deep knowledge, end-to-end program management capabilities and vast product offerings will ensure you are offering the right rewards to the right people, therefore creating a better incentive experience for your stakeholders and your organization.

Theresa McEndree
Theresa McEndree is the Global Head of Marketing & Corporate Brand for Blackhawk Network. In this role, Theresa oversees a multinational team focused on brand, product marketing and revenue generation. With more than 15 years of B2B marketing expertise, she is a sought-after thought leader with a thumb on the pulse of marketing, retail brand and shopper trends. Prior to Blackhawk, she held senior marketing positions at FreedomPay and Ecount, a Citi company.


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