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The Extraordinary Power of the Ultimate in Marketing Incentives

By Deborah Kurfiss, Umbrella Content Marketing Director on May 4, 2023

As a marketer, you use all kinds of methods to influence people to buy. That should include strategically developed marketing incentives, offering rewards to your own clients or your clients’ customers in exchange for an action you desire. Marketing incentives are also used to reward loyalty both from customers and employees.

Marketing incentives vary widely ranging from offering consumers discounts on soda pop to offering VIP customers trips to Paris or Bali. Incentive marketing may be used to get new customers, reward loyal customers, get referrals, build customer loyalty, to promote a new product, increase brand awareness, and, of course, in the end, to increase sales.

Benefits of Using Marketing Incentives

Let’s explore the benefits your clients can get from incentive marketing depending on their goals.

Customer Loyalty: Marketing incentives can go a long way toward fostering loyalty. When customers feel they are being rewarded for their loyalty, they are more likely to continue doing business with a company. Marketing incentives that are on a higher level can generate positive feelings towards the company, and let’s face it, people want to do business with people and businesses they like.

Increased Sales: Marketing incentives can motivate customers to make purchases they may have been hesitant about completing.  By offering a discount or free product, businesses can increase sales and revenue.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing: When you offer attractive marketing incentives, it gets people talking. If your incentives are attractive enough, your clients are going to tell their friends and colleagues about the great deal you are offering.

Data Collection: Marketing incentives can also be used to collect data about customers and prospects. As a B2B example, this could be as simple as making a white paper available to in exchange for some basic information such as the person’s role, size of company and email address.

Referral Gathering: It’s important for businesses to have structured referral programs. If they don’t, they are just leaving money on the table. Part of such a referral program may be offering rewards for quality referrals.

People Value Experiential Incentives More than Goods or Transactional Incentives

When it comes to giving your clients or your clients’ customers incentives, experiences are much more memorable than transactional incentives such as discounts or gifts such as buy this and get that for free.

Discounts are forgotten as soon as they are used. Gifts give a warm feeling for a short period after receipt, but that warm feeling quickly fades, a phenomenon that psychologists call hedonic adaptation.

But people remember great experiences for years. They value them more than cash or physical goods. A recent survey showed that 78% of millennials (the largest age demographic) would rather spend money on an experience than a product. But that feeling is hardly limited to millennials. Consumers today spend 70% more on live experience and events in comparison to total U.S. consumer spending than they did in 1987.

Not only that, but nearly 98% of people create digital or social content at events and experiences. And all of them share these experiences online, so that means they are marketing for your client’s company (or your agency if you are the one giving the experience to your own clients).

And there is more to it than the actual event or experience. There is a period of build-up where people enjoy anticipating an experience such as a concert or a vacation. They enjoy taking photos. They share those photos and discuss their experience long after the experience is over.

As opposed to goods or money, experiences

  • Create lasting memories people treasure for years to come
  • Create emotional connections
  • Create anticipation
  • Enable self-discovery and adventure
  • Foster social connections due to sharing the experience
  • Enable self-expression as a way to enjoy and show one’s interests or lifestyle whether it’s discussing the experience with friends or posting on social media.
  • Require participation, which invests people in the experience and makes them more likely to engage with the company in the future.

While goods and money can certainly provide temporary pleasure and satisfaction, experiences have the potential to create lasting memories, emotional connections, personal growth, social connections, self-expression, and fulfillment that are more meaningful and fulfilling in the long term. This translates into a stronger bond with the company that made them possible.

Travel: The Ultimate Marketing Incentive

Experiential marketing incentives are far more memorable than other kinds of incentives, but what experiential marketing incentive really stands out? Experiential marketing incentives can take many different forms such as tickets to cultural or sports events or product launch parties. As borne out by multiple studies, the ultimate marketing incentive is travel.

For example, according to the Incentive Research Foundation, travel is the top-performing incentive category. They found that incentives generated the highest ROI of any incentive category. Companies that used travel incentives saw a 28% increase in revenue and a 15% increase in employee productivity. In a survey of incentive program owners, travel was cited as the most effective reward for increasing employee engagement, motivation and productivity.

What makes travel superior to other types of incentives?

Extremely High Perceived Value: A free vacation is a very high-value incentive that can create a significant sense of excitement and anticipation among customers.

Memorable Experience: A vacation is a memorable experience that can create lasting positive associations with the brand. Customers are likely to associate the positive emotions and experiences they had during the vacation with the brand, which increases their loyalty and likelihood of repeat purchases.

Exclusivity: A free vacation is often an exclusive incentive that is not widely available. This exclusivity can create a sense of value and scarcity that can increase its appeal to customers.

Social Proof: Vacations can be a shared experience, and customers are likely to share their experiences on social media or with friends and family. This can create a sense of social proof and increase the brand’s visibility and reputation. Sure, you can share photos of a product launch. But does that compare to a trip to London or New York?

Travel and vacations can be a highly effective marketing incentive, generating positive impacts on both customer and employee loyalty and engagement. People often work all year for a prized exotic vacation get-away.

What if you could offer your clients an expense-paid vacation? Or what if you could enable your clients to offer such luxury get-aways to their own customers?

Your customers, prospects and employees would be impressed and grateful, However, giving away free vacations can also be a challenging marketing incentive to execute when a business is doing it on their own. They can be expensive and logistically complicated to organize. Fortunately, there’s a solution…

Would Your Agency Like to Offer Its Clients Travel Marketing Incentives? Would You Like to Enable Your Clients to Offer Them to Their Own Customers?

Though travel ranks at the top for a marketing incentive that will impress clients, many marketing agencies and businesses as a whole shy away from it because of expense and complexity of execution.

Now that’s all taken care of. Through Umbrella you can offer your clients, your employees, your prospects and your clients’ customers luxury 3-to-7 day vacations to over 80 destinations, 30 in the United States and over 50 that are international. Most are at 4+ Star locations, and all are at least 3 Star.

How is it possible? We work with an industry insider that aggregates room inventory for 5,000 hotels worldwide. Because hotels are rarely at capacity, they reserve a percentage of rooms for us.

For a very low price, you can offer unlimited vacations to your own clients, prospects and employees or sell this service to your clients for their own customers.

Read more about travel marketing incentives here.

Or contact us here or call us at (866) 760-2638 to set up a free consultation.


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