How to create a successful incentive marketing campaign?

by | 15 May, 2023 | CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Incentive marketing is a marketing strategy to increase awareness, acquire new customers and build loyalty. However, it is important to launch relevant campaigns during a strategic period. Brands must therefore start by defining a clear objective, because the same approach will not be used for all campaigns.

For an awareness objective, we will prefer contests, for a customer acquisition objective, we will go for the BOGO (buy one give one) approach to encourage the first purchase, and for a loyalty objective, we will offer a gift that encourages repeat purchases.

Tips for creating an efficient marketing incentive campaign

A simple marketing incentive mechanic

A reward is always an incentive for consumers. One of the drawbacks of a reward is an overly complex contest mechanic. So make it as simple and understandable as possible. Let consumers know the ins and outs in a few words or a single short sentence.

For example:

  • subscribe to a newsletter and win a 5€ gift card.
  • Buy one product, get one free
  • Buy 100€ worth of products and win a 10€ gift card.
  • Buy using a new mobile app and win a 6€ gift card.

An easy-to-use reward

The reward is also a decisive element for participating in an incentive marketing operation. It must be clear, interesting and easy to use, both for the consumers and the brand.

Let’s take a digital gift card for example. Consumers value it, and it is easy to spend. For the brand it’s quick and easy to create and can be sent using digital channels (email, SMS, social networks).

Personalized rewards

Nothing is better than a winner receiving a personalized reward from a brand, rather than the average product that everyone has.

For the greatest impact, personalizing the reward is key.

It’s better to offer a personalized gift card with the winner’s name and a dedicated message than a simple promo code or cash.

Targeting the right audience with the right rewards

Depending on the reward offered, you will not have the same targets. If you offer one of your brand products, it will depend on the category of products offered.

As well as if you offer a physical or digital gift card.

It is up to you to decide on the target of your incentive marketing campaigns to determine the reward.

For a limited time

Nothing motivates consumers to enter a contest more than the fear of missing out on a chance to win. To do this, the marketing incentive must be limited in time.

Of course, you need to think about the best time frame to give consumers enough time to enter, but not too much time either.

Be generous

You have to be generous enough in the contest mechanics and the reward. For example, the Dunkin Donut loyalty program rewards faster than the Starbuck’s program. Therefore, they win more new members.

Basically, you have to balance the value of the reward with the business objective behind it: acquire new customers, retain others, etc. The higher the value, the more likely the objective will be achieved, but beware of the ROI.

Highlight the benefits

No incentive marketing campaign without communication. Before, during and after the campaign, the brand must set up a communication plan, select the channels that match its objectives and its target, and repeat the incentive messages. The reward must be highlighted, but talking about its universe can also be beneficial if the brand gains awareness.

Create interactive content

Creating interactive content will allow participants to share, comment and talk about the campaign. A great way to increase participation.


In addition to the excitement of winning, the brand can create a mechanic around the game to keep the attention on the campaign throughout. Be sure, however, that the game mechanics are simple and do not require too much effort from the participant.

Related to your brand

Incentive marketing campaigns are great opportunities to communicate your brand universe. Not only through the messages, but also through the game mechanics and the rewards.

For example, the gift card is brand currency and is a powerful representation of your universe.

After the event, don’t forget the winners and participants

Incentive marketing allows you to build a database of potential customers in specific circumstances. It is worthwhile to continue working on it after the event.

Digital gift card white paper

Scheduling and increasing the number of incentive campaigns throughout the year

Testing and increasing the number of incentive marketing campaigns throughout the year is the best way to find the right combination and achieve business goals. By thinking about campaigns that are quick to set up, with easy-to-create rewards like gift cards, a brand can optimize its time and resources and have time to try more options.

As for when to launch campaigns, it depends on the goals set. If you want to increase awareness, focusing on the year’s highlights will be the right thing to do (Christmas, etc.). If you want to level out the sales throughout the year, then the off-peak periods will be preferred.

Monitor ROI and goal achievement with your incentive marketing campaigns

For any project launched, don’t forget to measure the return on investment, either for each campaign launched or globally. Before starting a campaign, choosing the right KPIs to monitor is essential.

Also, you should be able to track all the different elements of the incentive mechanics and the rewards themselves.

For example, it will be easier to track the use of the gift card by the winner(s). The brand will be able to know if it was spent, when, at which point of sale, which product was purchased, the average order value, if there was an additional payment, etc.

Incentive marketing has proven its worth for many brands. Whether it’s to increase brand awareness, customer acquisition or loyalty. There are plenty of incentive marketing actions and campaigns to launch. But what might work for one brand will not work for another. You have to keep in mind all the different elements to create a successful campaign. The most important thing, in the end, is to monitor the ROI to test and refine.





Highlights to keep in mind

You must test and increase the number of incentive marketing campaigns throughout the year

The launch of a campaign will depend on the objective set

Tracking the ROI of marketing campaigns is important

We need to find a way to create marketing incentive campaigns quickly (simplified mechanics, easy-to-create rewards, etc.)

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