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Surprise and Delight: Tis the Incentive Season

By Brandon Carter | Updated on Nov 6, 2013 2:09:00 AM

If you don’t like receiving gifts, then stop reading. 

See, every one of you is still reading!

Everybody loves getting gifts. It’s in our DNA.

It’s part of what makes the holiday season great. Odds are good that someone is going to give you something in the next couple months. It might be a bonus from your work, a present for Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or whatever your holiday of choice is, a gift from a friend, even a white elephant present that you really don’t even want.

It feels good to know that someone cares enough about you, sacrificed a little bit of their money or put a little bit of thought into giving you something. Gifts are a relationship-building tool, an expression of gratitude.

Which begs the question: why aren’t businesses giving gifts to their customers?

Recently, Access VP of Partnership Marketing Dave Bona got very, very interested in weightlifting and bodybuilding. He immediately became engaged with a number of companies in the industry, buying supplements, engaging in member forums, etc.

Not too long into this new lifestyle, a package arrived at his door. One of those companies, bodybuilding.com, sent a branded gym bag stuffed with products and a handwritten “thanks for being a customer” note.

What was his reaction?

“Holy crap,” Dave said. “This is awesome. I need to tell people about this.”

And oh, everyone at Access heard about it.


To this day, bodybuilding.com is where Dave goes first for his workout needs.

In that example, a $50 investment paid off in huge ways for bodybuilding.com. First, they cemented Dave as long-term customer, they earned a handful of other customers from Dave’s friends and coworkers, and here they are getting bragged about on the Access Loyalty Blog.

Pretty good ROI, right?

These types of campaigns are commonly known as “Surprise and Delight,” and you don’t have to wait until the holidays to pull such a campaign off.

As we write this, one of the biggest companies in the world is sending out a small selection of Access deals to their customers. It’s their way of saying “Thanks for being a customer, here’s something to help you save more money this holiday season.” It’s a simple gesture that any brand can pull off, and we’ve seen the tactic result in “delight” every time.

The bottom line is brand loyalty is shrinking, yet 51% of consumers who switched service providers last year wouldn’t have done so if companies had recognized & rewarded them for their business.

Maybe a little surprise and delight customer incentive program is what your brand needs to deliver this holiday season. You’d be surprised at how much love and engagement a simple gift can earn your brand.

(image via)

Topics: Customer Incentives, Member Benefits

Written by: Brandon Carter

Brandon is a former writer and marketer for Access Development. He's a frequent blogger on customer and employee engagement & loyalty, consumer trends, and branding. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter at @bscarter