Loyalty Programs as the Solution to Evolving Distribution Channels: Nichole Gunn Featured in Supply & Demand Chain Executive

by: Luke Kreitner May 1, 2020

With the onset of a global pandemic and a possible economic recession, the effects of COVID-19 have left the B2B distribution channel with its work cut out. While the economic pressure may be new, the need for brand loyalty and digital capabilities in the B2B channel is not. In financially good times and in bad, businesses have been using loyalty programs to successfully adapt to the evolving B2B landscape for quite some time. Check out our VP of Marketing and Creative Services Nichole Gunn’s article in Supply & Demand Chain Executive for details on why a loyalty program is the solution your business needs now more than ever.

Correcting the Perception of Loyalty Programs

Nichole wastes no time debunking the outdated perception around loyalty rewards and programs:

“Oftentimes, when companies consider a loyalty program, they are more likely to think about rewards than software and to associate the program as a “nice-to-have” feature rather than a strategic sales and marketing toolset… Modern loyalty programs provide a digital ecosystem where channel partners can stay connected to your brand.”

Many B2B companies still rely heavily on trade shows and in-person meetings to maintain visibility in the channel. But how do you continue to build brand loyalty in between these events? And to make matters worse, in a time of social distancing, how is a business supposed to compete without an online presence? With the right loyalty program provider, you are investing in fully fleshed digital sales and marketing resource to keep your business connected to the behaviors and needs of the modern consumer.

Embracing the Digital Shift

Nichole goes on to list four key practices for businesses to stand out in the distribution channel over competitors with the help of channel incentive technology, including:

  • Improved partner communication in the often-fragmented channel;
  • A well communicated value proposition;
  • Tracible customer data; and
  • The ability to drive loyalty.

As Nichole explains, whether this is a “starting point for providing a more digitally-connected partner experience,” or a way for businesses “to accelerate adoption for their e-commerce platform and increase online sales,” a loyalty marketing program is the best way to foster brand loyalty.

Why Now is the Time to Invest

The B2B channel is tough for businesses to navigate regardless of whether the market is healthy.  To quote Nichole:

“Now is the time to analyze your channel and your go-to-market strategy, be honest with yourself about your company’s weaknesses and begin to take measurable steps to position yourself on the right side of evolutions in the channel.”

In an economic downturn, when most businesses are cutting marketing costs, you can stay ahead of your competition in both market share and mind share. Investing in a loyalty program is the best way to shorten the distance between your product and your channel partners and utilize digital capabilities that face-to-face marketing techniques simply cannot do on their own.

Ready to start your loyalty program journey? Incentive Solutions has got your back with free consultations.  Let’s finish out 2020 with stronger partner relationships and better brand loyalty.

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About Luke Kreitner

Luke Kreitner is the VP of Sales at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that specializes in helping B2B businesses accelerate growth, increase sales, motivate channel partners and retain B2B customers.