Rebates, rewards and incentives are one way marketers seek to break through and gain a sales advantage over competitors. We have found that the most successful programs are wisely targeted, effectively communicated and hold genuine value for the customer. If you’re considering implementing a program, here are some quick tips to get you started.


Tip 1: Carefully craft your goals.

It’s important to set clear goals for what you want to accomplish with rebates, rewards or incentives. If your goal is to differentiate your brand from competitors and get new customers to include you in their consideration set, you want to make sure the value of what you offer is sufficient enough to grab attention and interest.

If you’re trying to regain lost market share, you may want to consider not just a si­ngle of­fering, but a bundled approach that expands the value to the customer and draws them back to your brand.

It is critical to match value to the key characteristics of your market; use research, demographics and web analytics to establish realistic value parameters.


Tip 2: Build your program promotion around a hook.

Giving your program an easily repeated name or slogan will drive recall, and that can boost participation. In a recent bundled rebate/reward program for Caterpillar, the tag line was: Cat Pays You Back. The words were easy to read and say, and they stuck with customers and dealers. Not only does it roll off the tongue, but it also describes the primary value in the program up front: a fuel rebate program.


Tip 3: Promote the program in product channels and people channels.

For the Cat Pays You Back marketing campaign we leveraged Caterpillar’s owned channels marketing the program on Cat equipment pages. Aligning the program where customers will be shopping for the product generates traffic. We also created online registration for the Cat Pays You Back fuel rebate; the ease and convenience helped gain more participants. Rebates, rewards and incentives are often shared across social channels, so creating sponsored posts or related contests or giveaways can also be effective.


Tip 4: Consider expanded bundles to increase value.

Bundles have become popular because they give customers more options and can offer greater perceived value. Cat Pays You Back bundled the fuel rebate program with free equipment condition monitoring reports and a parts delivery guarantee. This allowed the marketing message to be more robust and provided a platform for additional content about managing equipment and fleet costs.


Tip 5: Measure and optimize results.

You’ll learn a lot about your customer base by measuring their interaction with your marketing campaign, as well any related content you have provided. Include enough variety in messaging that you can assess what works and what doesn’t. Optimize based on the goals you created at the beginning. Sharing the results with other stakeholders can also lead to other touch points or new ideas.


Keep in mind:

Rebates, rewards and incentives create great opportunities for companies in any industry, as long as it’s done right. In this scenario, manufacturers, dealers and customers all win—customers gain added value, dealers gain sales and Caterpillar retains customers.