As a market researcher, you know that incentives work. It’s unusual for respondents to willingly part with their time, and if they can’t see the benefit of participating, you’ll struggle to get a reasonable response rate. So if you’re like us, you’re constantly on the lookout for hot, trending incentive programs – and nowadays that means mobile rewards. They are effective and many mobile phone users have already used or are interested in using mobile reward apps. But there’s more to consider before jumping head first in mobile rewards – because not all rewards are created equal.
The majority of existing mobile reward platforms offer only one reward type: closed loop gift cards, which are gift cards that are only valid at a specific retailer. Think iTunes or Starbucks gift cards. Generally speaking, surveys completed award points, which can be converted into closed loop gift cards. But it’s obviously very limiting, especially if you’re offering gift cards for which the respondent has no interest. Consumers are far more likely to participate when offered something they really want – cash. Cash-based incentives are more flexible as rewards, as they give respondents the ability to put their rewards towards the things that they really need: rent payments, bills, etc.
The good news is that technology now provides better access to cash-based rewards (direct deposit, cheques in the mail, prepaid credit cards, etc.) And the best programs allow users to accept, transfer, and manage rewards in real-time, thanks mostly to smartphone apps and the web. Tech also allows for multi-currency ability, which lends to more global reach in your surveys. Gift cards were always limited in their international appeal (think region-specific retailers, distribution and shipping costs, foreign exchange, etc).
You’re already paying money to incentivize your survey-taking prospects, so stand out from your competition and embrace the modern mobile technology for what it offers – an incentive program that does what it needs to do: incentivizes participation. Mobile rewards programs are hot right now, but trends won’t replace the hard truth that cash is king. Look at mobile devices for what they are: distribution channels for time-tested truths. Your response rates and participant retention will thank you for it.