Channel Conduit of the Week: Long-term Loyalty is never achieved through Short-term Spiffs

Channel Conduit of the Week

  • Small gestures that make big impacts on channel behavior
  • Commonsense reminders that make the difference b/t you and your competition
  • Elements that should be considered in a Channel Incentive Programs

Channel Conduit 8  Long-term Loyalty is never achieved through Short-term Spiffs   

WateringTreeYears ago I moved into an older neighborhood and bought a house with a lot of “charm” (I think we all know what “charm” really means in the lexicon of home ownership).  One of my many projects and challenges was maintaining a beautiful 60-year-old Ash tree that had become a fixture of our home.  We even had for our Christmas card a picture of the family sitting on a large swing that hung from the tree’s enormous branch.

But during one summer, our region was hit by a particularly destructive breed of insect called the emerald ash borer which devastated a number of trees in the area.  We eventually noticed that our tree was becoming similarly ravaged, so we did what we could to save it. Year after year we threw money at the problem, hoping to cure green with green.

For a while it worked. The tree managed to hang on, to the delight of us all. But finally it became evident that the expensive treatments were not having the desired effect, and I decided that the project I held near and dear to my heart was unfortunately no longer worth the investment.  For all of us it was a difficult experience. We had wanted the tree to flourish so badly, but in spite of our best efforts we simply couldn’t sustain it in the long run.

Throughout my career in performance marketing and sales, I have come across similar emotions from my experiences with channel marketing leaders. Desperate to earn the immediate business of their channel partners, they offer money bonuses, SPIFFS, discounts, or rebates. While these expensive tactics can succeed in the short-term, after the spiff ends, the business always seems to fall back to pre-spiff levels. These professionals want their channel partner business to flourish so badly, they have a hard time realizing that long-term success can rarely be achieved with short-term strategies.
Today, try and take a look at how you are capturing the long-term mindshare and loyalty of your partners. Instead of offering them cash that they’ll spend at the grocery store or bills, why not give them the opportunity to attain a longer-term goal, like earning enough points to finally take their family on the vacation of their dreams?

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