When it comes to advocacy marketing, one of the key considerations for brands is how to reward their loyal advocates. While some opt for gift cards, others prefer sending products directly. Each method has its own merits, logistics, and impacts on recipients. Here’s a breakdown to help brands decide the best approach to reward brand advocates.
Gift Cards: Versatility and Choice
1. Broad Appeal:
Gift cards, especially those from the Zuberance rewards network featuring over 1,000 different restaurants and retailers, offer recipients a wide range of choices, catering to diverse tastes and needs.
2. Ease of Distribution:
Sending digital gift cards is logistically simpler than shipping physical products. It eliminates the need for warehousing, packaging, and dealing with shipping carriers.
3. Accounting Simplicity:
From an accounting perspective, handling digital gift cards can be more straightforward. They often come as pre-paid amounts, making it easier to track and manage expenditures.
4. Recipient Perception:
Recipients might perceive gift cards as more flexible, allowing them to choose exactly what they want or need.
Product Rewards: Personalization and Brand Connection
1. Brand Experience:
Sending actual products can create a more personal and direct connection with the brand, especially if the product aligns with the recipient’s interests or needs.
2. Logistical Considerations:
Shipping products involves considerations like inventory management, packaging, and dealing with potential shipping issues or delays. It’s crucial to have a robust logistics system in place.
3. Accounting and Value Assessment:
When sending products, the accounting process might involve assessing the cost of goods sold versus the retail value, which can vary depending on the product and the market.
4. Recipient Perception:
Receiving a physical product can be perceived as more thoughtful or valuable, especially if it’s a high-demand or newly released item.
Balancing the Two: Key Consideration
1. Understanding Your Audience:
Know your advocates. If they are avid users or fans of your products, sending physical items might be more impactful. However, for a more diverse group, gift cards offer the flexibility that can satisfy everyone.
2. Logistical Capacity:
Assess your capacity to manage logistics. If you’re a smaller brand or lack a sophisticated shipping system, digital gift cards can be a more manageable choice.
3. Budget Constraints:
Consider your budget. Sometimes, the cost of shipping can outweigh the value of the product sent, making gift cards a more cost-effective option.
4. Brand Strategy Alignment:
Align rewards with your overall brand strategy. If your goal is to promote a new product or create buzz around it, sending that product to your advocates can be a powerful tool.
5. Feedback and Engagement:
Consider the type of feedback and engagement you desire. Physical products might encourage more detailed reviews or user-generated content, while gift cards might result in broader but less product-focused engagement.
Choosing between gift cards and products to reward brand advocates depends on multiple factors, including your audience, logistical capabilities, budget, and strategic goals. Understanding these elements will help you make an informed decision that delights your advocates and aligns with your brand’s objectives and capacities.