We firmly believe that rewards when delivered strategically can change behavior. We see this across all the programs we have the opportunity to participate in. And, while there is quite a bit of debate on whether monetary rewards work, there is no question from our experience that an enticing reward will drive the results businesses desire.
A long, long time ago, in Newton MA, when I was 11, I used to bike down to the local convenience store to buy candy and gum (often on my way to school and with my parents unaware). Since I had a paper route I had my own discretionary spending budget – which had room for an occasional $.25 treat.
On one trip I noticed that there was a promotion running on Snickers bars. If you mailed in 50 Snicker Bar wrappers they’d reward you with $5.00. An offer bordering on a real fortune! Right then and there I decided to do it – it was going to be all Snickers all the time. I dedicated that summer to the quest of rounding up 50 wrappers. I asked my parents, my friends, my friends parents, everyone I knew to give me their Snicker wrappers. Slowly, they came trickling in. Now that I think back – I bet my parents ate a few more Snickers than they intended in order to help with the project (thanks Mom and Dad).
The pile was growing in my room … I counted that pile every day. Can you imagine how long it took to round up 50 wrappers? One day I met the goal, put a rubber band around the massive stack, packed and mailed them off to some distant office. I checked our mailbox every day for the next 4 to 6 weeks, waiting for my $5. One day it arrived – in the form of a check (a dud reward for an 11 year old – but still there it was)…five whole dollars! My dad traded me the check for a five dollar bill – and I was instantly independently wealthy (compared to my friends at least). All the hard work paid off. The promise of $5 changed my behavior for the entire summer. As a side note, I have become a lifelong enthusiast of Snickers as a result of that experience – and not just because they taste awesome, they paid me $5.00!
Today, loyalty programs and promotions are far more modern – but the basic fact still remains: Integrate the right reward in your program and you’ll see results. Some of us will do quite a bit for a reward.