I want to share a couple recent stories because I think they’re cool but more importantly because they highlight a couple of really interesting things about modern employee reward and modern loyalty programs.
I have a 5 year old who plays in a t-ball league. At a game recently, a dad from the other team came up to me and asked if I worked with Tango Card. He told me that he worked for a company in Seattle that had a wellness program that he was a part of and that he had recently earned a reward for achieving certain fitness goals. He had received a Tango Card and used his Tango Card to get a Target gift card. He then went shopping at Target, got all kinds of “basics,” and had a blast doing it. He does not regularly do the shopping in his household, so when he got home he had a small hero moment. And, just today, I got an email from a customer that had received an REI gift card as a wellness reward. She had recently taken up trail running, took her gift card to REI, and got a pair of specialized shoes that she has now fallen in love with and is recommending to others.
I thought this first story was great for several reasons. I love that his company designed a program with a reward system that provided a reward significant enough to get him to engage. Then, he set and met a range of fitness goals and was rewarded for that. And then he had this happy experience using that reward that he had earned and that benefits his company ultimately through lower premiums and sick days. And in the case of the trail runner, I love that a wellness reward became this incredible shopping experience, part of a training routine, and created a product advocate. And both experiences began life as an e-gift card.
The insight and learning here, for me at least, is this. There is a reason that Gift Cards are so popular among consumers and shoppers year round. They have been the #1 requested gift now for 8 years in a row. It’s not just because they are convenient (easy to give), it’s because the recipient gets to choose how to spend their gift card leads to an experience that is remembered fondly and associated with the company that gave it. In fact, there is even favorable research on this: 65% of Gift Card recipients remember how they spent the card and associate it positively with the company that gave the reward (Loyalty 360, 2013).
We believe in the impact of gift cards, but sometimes our new partners have trouble visualizing the positive experiences a gift card can create. We recently put together a little cheat sheet with some awesome experiences people can have with gift cards that are already in our catalog. Check it out (click on the image to download pdf):
David has great experience starting, scaling, and managing large enterprise businesses. He was co-founder and Senior Vice President of Strategy, Sales and Marketing at FiberTower. He has a MBA from Stanford and an undergraduate degree from University of Vermont. He generally leaves his baja hoodie at home.