Looking for ways to boost engagement in a B2B loyalty program?
Auction techniques remain an inexpensive, highly interactive, fun and under-utilized method to recognize and reward your best customers while keeping them engaged.
By: David Harwood, CLMP
If you are unfamiliar with loyalty auctions, the concept is very simple:
- Use loyalty auction software to set up online auctions with a specific pool of rewards, products, services, or prizes.
- Allow customers to bid on rewards and experiences using the points they have accrued in their loyalty accounts. Or create a completely new currency like ‘auction credits’ which only have a value for tactical auctions activity (no liability).
- Deduct the points associated with the highest bid from each winner’s loyalty account; return all the points associated with the losing bids to the unsuccessful member’s accounts to be used in their next auction event.
- With only one winner per auction, your ability to control reward expenses is tightly managed and accurately budgeted within known/fixed parameters (unlike other rewards).
- As the auction runs, participants will bid multiple times until they reach their auction credits limit or win the auction.
- Throughout the auction the participants receive feedback on their success and competitive bids to keep them engaged and motivated to win.
- With only one winner per auction your reward can be blockbuster without breaking the bank. Alternatively, run many smaller auctions with a larger number of lesser value prizes that will still be motivating and engaging to your participants.
- Everything is fun for the bidding members! Publicize the winner with the subtle message that “this could be you” if you only had more points in your account.
All you need is some imagination and the appropriate level of auction software integrated with your loyalty management system.
This technique is especially relevant in the B2B, channel, or employee loyalty space because the universe of members is typically much smaller than a consumer program. Fewer bidders mean a greater chance of winning! Analyzing the auction results is faster and less burdensome. Plus, you have the added communications channels associated with B2B sales or channel partners and internal HR or departmental platforms.
Most importantly, the point balance distribution across the entire membership is usually narrower than it would be in consumer markets. With more members having greater chances to win and the required points balance to get them there, the event turns out to be competitive, highly engaging, and loads of fun.
Remember, you never really know the value of a reward until you auction it off!