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What is incentive marketing?

What is incentive marketing?

Building the best incentive marketing program with a digital platform

When you’re trying to reach hundreds or even thousands of customers or prospects at a time, you need a way to keep personalization high while maintaining simplicity. Fortunately, a good gift card platform can help you achieve both of these goals at the same time. 

What are the best ways to use incentive marketing and reach your target audience? In this post, we’re looking at the different use cases for gift cards in your incentives, and the ways they can improve your ROI while delighting your audience. 

What is incentive marketing?

Incentive marketing is a method of reaching a consumer or potential customer through the use of an appropriate promotional item or gift to establish rapport and increase customer loyalty. Incentive marketing campaigns work well for all manner of engagement-building campaigns:

  • Customer acquisition
  • Rewards programs
  • Marketing incentives 
  • Customer retention

Some examples of incentive marketing efforts and incentive strategy:

Introductory item

Provide a small gift as a means to warm up a website visitor, lead, or prospect. For example, a small coffee gift card as an incentive for a discovery call.

New customer gift

Give recognition for the commitment a customer makes. Thank them for the sale with a gift at onboarding.

Referral reward

Thank your customer for spreading the word about your business with a gift recognizing their referral.

Retention bonuses

Recognize long-time customers through a loyalty program offering gift card incentives or other meaningful rewards.  

Upgrade incentive

Promote more loyalty with your product or service by offering marketing incentives for customers to step up to the next tier or features.

Win-back campaign

Repair the customer relationship when things don't go smoothly by offering a token of appreciation for their continued business.

The best digital rewards for incentive marketing campaigns

Running an incentive marketing campaign is typically an ongoing effort for your marketing team. Building relationships with loyal customers and finding new consumers is a full-time job, and calls for a streamlined marketing strategy. Where direct mail marketing was once a preferred method for making a personal connection, changes in customer preferences and habits mean that incentive campaign strategy has changed. Engagement has gone digital.

Digital rewards are viewed as the preferred means of incentivizing engagement by - marketers and customers alike. Recipients agree that receiving a digital reward such as an e-gift card is a welcomed touchpoint that increases engagement.

They like digital reward options for several reasons:


Customers love getting a digital gift card because it arrives right in their inbox. They can use their rewards immediately and easily. Marketers enjoy this method of delivery because it avoids many of the manual tasks of a traditional direct mail campaign.

Endless personalization

Shipping physical promotion items carries the potential that your gift will miss the mark. With a digital gift card incentive, your offering can be tailored to each recipient. Depending on the type of campaign you are running, you'll be able to offer a variety of options and even let customers select rewards for themselves.

Brand awareness

Sending a gift is a sure-fire way to spark a connection with a potential or existing customer. Gift cards are especially good at forging better brand awareness. The majority of customers can remember a brand that sends them a promotional item more than a year after delivery.

How to run an incentive program at scale

If your job involves scaling effective incentive programs, you know that there are only so many hours in the day. While incentive marketing has traditionally focused on sending physical items, this is a labor-intensive method of garnering loyalty. In the new era of work from home, shipping physical items pose even more challenges.

To drive engagement, digital rewards are far more effective and digital incentive marketing is far easier to implement. They can be delivered anywhere in the world to the places where your customer or prospect can be easily reached.

Using a digital platform to deliver gift cards for your incentive marketing and sales incentive program can help you scale effectively while taking advantage of the many benefits of an integrated platform. A digital marketing incentives campaign becomes much easier to administer and optimize when using a robust platform for the curation, delivery, and analysis of your campaigns.

How to prove ROI with incentive marketing campaigns

If you are going to launch large-scale incentive marketing programs, you need to be able to prove the return on spend.

By using a digital platform, you can centralize all of the marketing and sales data for your rewards program and use that data to analyze and improve your future incentive program offerings.

Using onboard reporting tools, you can quickly and easily show ROI across one or more campaigns, gain insight on how different options impact your loyalty programs and improve your incentive marketing strategy with each send.

When choosing a digital gift card platform, look for one that offers robust reporting and analytical tools to help your sales team and marketing team show their hard work and prove the effectiveness and value of their campaigns.

How to optimize your incentive marketing program with WeGift

There are several ways to improve the administration and outcomes of your incentive marketing campaigns by using a digital delivery approach. Here are a couple tips on how to optimize your incentive marketing program with our platform: 

Streamline delivery

Using an incentive marketing platform allows you to deliver hundreds or even thousands of cards simultaneously from a single sending event. You can deliver on the scale while still providing a personalized experience for every recipient. This streamlined approach reduces the labor hours involved in administering your incentive marketing campaigns and loyalty programs and saves thousands of dollars every year. It also allows you to meet your customer where they are.

Integrate your systems

Showing your ROI and planning future campaigns becomes easier when all your vital systems talk to each other. By using a gift card platform, you can realize more complete data and track your spend and other important metrics on a granular level. 

How to get started with incentive marketing

Getting your business set up with digital incentive marketing can be easy. Check out a demo of the WeGift and learn how we can help you build a scalable, simple incentive marketing campaign that will delight your recipients as well as your teams.