It’s summertime! Which means peak season for craft beer producers as they compete to fill customer’s cups with sweet elixir. It also means that our VP of Marketing and Creative Services, Nichole Gunn, is back with some incentive program strategy in her second publication for Beverage Master’s Craft Spirits and Brew Magazine!

Published back in February, Nichole’s first article focused on the “why” of incentives for beverage manufacturers, arguing the importance of distributors and wholesalers in how a beer makes its way to the consumer. In the magazine’s latest edition, Nichole breaks down the “how” of incentive program strategy, detailing six key steps as part of an effective incentive program in the beer distribution channel.

6 Steps to Building an Incentive Program

When it comes to standing out in the distribution channel, incentives are a powerful motivator for channel partners to sell your product. Building a channel incentive program, however, is much more than simply brainstorming reward options.

As Nichole explains, “it is important to be mindful of your marketing spend and to focus on designing your program to generate a meaningful ROI.” The best incentive program strategy sets up beer manufacturers for the highest rate of return, which is why she suggests following these six steps:

  1. Determine a specific and measurable goal for your program.
  2. Evaluate your audience and your competitive situation.
  3. Choose rewards that are relevant and will inspire target audience.
  4. Generate promotions that will target KPIs (key performance indicators) and help determine progress.
  5. Market your program often to stay top of mind of with your indirect sales reps.
  6. Make use digital platforms to drive your program and measure results.

Utilizing Technology as a Key Part of Incentive Program Strategy

The foundation of a truly successful incentive program strategy lies in accessibility and data collection. Luckily, incentive program providers are ready and equipped to help you compete:

“Today’s incentive programs, like most business platforms, are software-driven. Gone are the days of analog catalogs, manual processes and investing in channel marketing strategies that don’t produce measurable results… As data, analytics, automation and providing digitally connected channel partner experiences continue to become increasingly important, incentive companies have shifted their focus from just providing reward fulfillment to offering complete channel sales and marketing solutions.”

Choosing the right incentive program provider comes down to the incentive technology they offer. Nichole suggests confirming the following capabilities of your incentive program for ease of management and goal achievement:

  • Does this incentive program software integrate with my CRM and other data collection platforms?
  • How will this software enhance my ability to communicate with supply chain trading partners?
  • What advanced features, such as gamification and sales enablement tools, will my online platform use to keep participants engaged and to help them succeed?
  • How will my incentive software help collect data and analytics needed for effective channel marketing?

As Nichole explains, advanced incentive software technology will guarantee “an engaging and accessible user-experience that is a strong reflection of [your] brand,” keeping your product competitive and top of mind.

Less Time on Incentive Program Strategy, and More Time Brewing!

Having provided companies with incentive programs for over 25 years, Nichole emphasizes an important statistic regarding our client’s relationships to their program:

“In a 2019 survey, Incentive Solutions found that 70 percent of our clients, including several notable craft beer producers, spend less than two hours a week managing their incentive program. Additionally, some incentive companies provide the option to take full responsibility for program management to free up your resources for other priorities.”

A well-strategized, technologically innovate incentive program will market your brand and provide a return on your investment, all while leaving you time to focus on making the best possible product. Here at Incentive Solutions, we are confident in our ability to help beverage manufacturers grow their business. Take advantage of one of our free consultations, and see how an incentive program can change your business!

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<strong>About </strong>Luke Kreitner

About Luke Kreitner

Luke Kreitner is the VP of Sales at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that specializes in helping B2B businesses accelerate growth, increase sales, motivate channel partners and retain B2B customers.

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