Incentivising Your Market Research
If you’re planning your end of year marketing campaigns already, looking to gather stats, or even to gauge customer satisfaction levels - you’ll already be thinking about creative ways you can maximise responses to surveys, questionnaires or case study requests. Whether you work in B2B or B2C marketing, you’ll know that when it comes to getting data and feedback – there’s no such thing as a free lunch!
That’s where incentives step in- and gift cards have exploded as a way for smart marketers to deliver a prize that’s seen as desirable and valuable – whilst still keeping a cap on spending budgets AND removing all the administrative hassle associated with sending out, say, 500 branded T-Shirts, or sourcing a holiday package.
Win A Gift Card on Google brings back 28,100,000 results, Win Cash Prizes brings 25,700,000.
The problem with cash is that people find it boring. No, really…..
Research firm Wirthlin Worldwide asked 1,010 people how they spent their last cash reward or incentive. Far from being spent on a treat, a new hi-fi, a book, a day out - 58 percent used the cash to either pay bills, add to savings, or worse - they couldn’t even remember what they did with it. In contrast, gift cards provide guilt free shopping – something that we all love.
Businesses are turning to digital gifts and gift cards to make incentives meaningful again. A study by the Incentive Federation has shown that the non-cash incentives market is thriving with 74 percent of businesses in the USA spending $76.9 billion annually on incentives. Importantly half of this market is driven by smaller businesses that sit around the $1 to $10 million annual revenue area.
46 percent of American businesses surveyed said that they were running non-cash programmes - spending $22.6 billion per year. Non-cash sales incentive programs are present in almost one-half of U.S. businesses, and non-cash customer loyalty programs are used in one-third – which should indicate the sheer popularity!
Many marketing professionals choose to use gift cards and eCodes as the ‘carrot’. In fact 98 percent of businesses running non-cash incentive programs include gift cards, spending $54.3 billion each year.
But how much value should you give away in return for your data gathering, research and surveys?
There are two main ways that incentives are offered– the first is to give something to everyone who participates, the other is where you are entered into a draw to win a larger prize. Selecting an incentive for your research project is about placing an appropriate value on the time and input of the respondent whilst weighing this up against how much you can afford to spend.
But which incentive works best? Let’s look at the downsides of each method.
Something For Everyone Incentives
Giving something to everyone that enters can quickly escalate into a cost heavy exercise, so your gift card value has to remain low and could be seen as too low to coax any real investment, either in time to engage, or quality of answers supplied. Bear in mind that for multiple deliveries of incentives physical delivery can be an administrative headache if you are using the wrong provider.
When it works:
Something for everyone incentives might suit your demographic. A study that is looking for feedback from busy professionals is probably well worth an investment in a direct reward of a set value and could elicit more responses than a ‘chance’ to win. If your research and future marketing, product development or projects hang in the balance of the answers to your in depth questions, we would advise that you offer a small value incentive. If you still need to control spending – for example if you are hosting the survey on your website or via social media, you can limit this for the first 100, 50 or 250 entrants. This caps your spend but also creates a bubble of interest and a time critical rush.
The other method is the entry into a prize draw. The immediate downside of a high ticket competition is the ‘luck’ factor. Some people may enter, but they may complete the answers in a hurried fashion in order to obtain the prize. If it is an open survey it can also attract the wrong types of respondent. Bear in mind that if your prize is too good or to high in value – even if that equates to the same spend you would commit to incentives in a smaller group, people can doubt the validity of the draw.
When it works:
If you want general feedback and you won’t be delving into too much depth with your questions, or if you want to raise your brand profile, we recommend that you choose a prize draw for a high value gift card. To further increase interest, don’t be afraid to split the ‘big ticket’ prize into smaller values – so a £500 gift card becomes five £100 gift cards.
To avoid the ‘too good to be true’ factor, we would also encourage you to publish the winner’s name, (once permission has been received) on a public platform such as your website. Don’t forget to write up your legal terms and conditions, especially if you are using social media or email to run your campaign, and try passing the details through a trained legal professional to make sure your offer is above board.
The use of gift cards in marketing incentive programmes is growing and will continue to grow as more companies take advantage of their flexibility, ease of use and low administrative costs.
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