Loyalty marketing design principles

Reward Paths

When we design loyalty programs we pull on years of experience and collaboration with leaders in the field.

Whether you’re building loyalty with direct users, distributors, channel partners, or via your sales staff, these principles form the foundation of a profitable, sustainable customer loyalty strategy.


Design principle 1: Hard and soft benefits

As we previously learned, customers respond best to a balanced combination of economic rewards and intangible recognition. B2B programs also balance personal with business rewards.

Hard benefits

Economic rewards are based upon an accrued account that builds over time. Rewards are relevant, achievable, and of high perceived value.

Soft benefits

Recognition elements are designed to make customers feel valued. Offered proportional to customer value and tied to your brand persona.

Design principle 2: Tiered benefits

Whether you publish defined program tiers or tier your customers behind the scenes, tiering benefits are essential to targeting your budget where it can have the greatest impact.

For Example:

  • Over-funding high-value segments
  • Under-funding high-potential segments

  • Reserve best benefits for highest-value customers

  • Create aspirational benefits to drive tier migration

Design principle 3: Targeted bonuses

Begin with a low base funding rate and test bonus offers to drive profitable behavior. Then design offers based on dimensional variables to motivate specific customer behavior changes:


“Spend more!”


“Visit our new channel partner!”


“Double-points month!”


“Free anniversary gift!”

Design principle 4: Relevant dialogue

Use customer and client data to deliver timely, relevant, and personalized offers and communications optimized through your customer’s preferred communication channel.


Collect one useful data point

Send a relevant offer to customer

Measure results, not costs

Collect one useful data point

Send a relevant offer to customer

Measure results, not costs

The three key foundational elements of B2B loyalty strategy design:


Clearly defined and C-suite supported.


Include distributors, channels, and sales.


Include physical, web, and mobile.

Design principle 5: Measure everything

No loyalty strategy should launch without a rigorous measurement plan to gauge progress against your stated objectives.

Build or outsource analytical resources and deploy data for:

Marketing Analysis

Media Optimisation

Product Development

Pricing Model

Financial Reporting

Design principle 6: Strategic planning

The key to the long-term success of your loyalty strategy is to plan ahead – conduct regular strategy reviews so you can respond swiftly to competitive and market forces.

Plan for:


What can you learn from the data?


Can they disrupt your business?


How are your customers changing?

Design principle 7: Strategic partnerships

Call it OPM – Other People’s Money. By allowing partners fee-based access to your customer data, you can enhance your program without breaking the bank.

Potential partners include:


If you’re a distributor, ask your manufacturers to play.


If you sell to end- users, ask your distributors to play.


Partner with non-competitors who want to reach your customers.

Design principle 8: Customer engagement

B2B loyalty programs are serious business – but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Build in program engagement elements to encourage an emotional connection.

Tactics include:


Increase earning velocity without breaking the bank.


Add big-ticket rewards to jump-start excitement.


Help your members do well by doing good.

Ready To Talk?

If you’re thinking of how to start growing your loyalty in the B2B sector, schedule your FREE and no-obligation consultation with our New Business Director, Glenn Shaw.

Glenn has worked in Loyalty Marketing across New Zealand, Asia, and Australia for the last 10 years, and is passionate about creating and delivering programs that maximize engagement and impact for clients.

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