Elements of a Successful Bonus Incentive Program

by: Nichole Gunn June 27, 2016

What elements are present in all types of bonus incentive programs? The bonus incentive program drives brand loyalty. There are two primary ways to use them:

  • To reward employees for great work
  • To reward customers for their patronage

Within these categories, there are many applications:

  • Customer sales incentives designed around spending perks.
  • Business channel incentives for new customer referrals.
  • Employee performance-based awards.

The bonus incentive program is an important tool for business. When you’re ready to take advantage of this proven method of increasing customer and employee loyalty, where will you start?

We’ve found that the best bonus incentive programs have three primary elements.

Effective upfront design

The best advice when considering the design of a new bonus incentive program is to think of the end-user. Designing a loyalty program with the audience in mind requires an understanding of what motivates them to purchase your products.  Can you create rewards that play to the unique wants, needs and priorities of your customers?

If the bonus incentive program is for employees, it’s important to make sure the rewards are attainable. If the goals are set too high, the program won't be effective.

Next, consider how you will communicate the benefits of the program. Using multi-channel marketing tools to build excitement around the rewards program is extremely important. If your customers don’t know about the program, it won’t be effective. If the bonus incentive program is for employees, they must have a clear picture of how their performance will earn them added perks and rewards.

Well run internal control systems

Designing and tracking a bonus incentive program for employees or customers is crucial for a “win/win” encompassing the target audience – and your business. Calculate incentive costs at maximum capacity, then measure programmatic short-term goals against the long-term goals of your business model.

Using analytics to benchmark your progress is crucial. Does your bonus incentive program measure revenues and expenses of the program and utilization trends? Given utilization trends, what are the projected costs to your business in six months? Can you segment data by customer or employee characteristics? How robust is the analytics platform behind your bonus incentive program?

Proper administration of a bonus incentive program

Many bonus incentive program companies outsource their incentive technology to a third-party vendor. Finding a bonus incentive program company with an in-house information technology team will increase your program’s success.

A one-stop shop will allow more flexibility in program design. It will eliminate the frustration of working with outsourced vendors. Why would you add a “middle man” between you and the technology?

Incentive Solutions is that one-stop-shop. Our solutions have all the elements of a successful bonus incentive program, whether your goal is customer loyalty or enhanced employee performance. You are one step away from a complimentary consultation that will help you get started.


About Nichole Gunn

Nichole Gunn is the VP of Marketing at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that delivers advanced, agile B2B customer loyalty and channel sales incentives programs.