For 21 years, the Society of Incentive and Travel Executives' Crystal Awards competition has elicited entries from around the world, documenting the industry's most innovative and successful motivational programs. Recently, Compaq Computer NZ Ltd., working with its incentive house The Extra Mile Co. Ltd., Ellerslie, New Zealand, won first place in the category “Creative Use of an Incentive Program to Solve a Marketing Problem.”

The problem for Compaq was market share. The company needed an incentive program that would drive resellers to focus on Compaq products and away from those of competitors. The solution from EMC (www.extra mile.co.nz) was technology. From day one, the incentive campaign was delivered directly to resellers' desktops.

EMC created the “Compaq Bazaar,” a program administered through EMC's NETUWIN Internet system. The interactive, self-registration system enabled Compaq to develop a database of its target audience while reducing costs in program design, administration, and communication. “This program was a complete online solution,” says Keely Hilton, team member at EMC, “right from program launch and participant enrollment through to reward fulfillment and management reporting.”

Participants entered sales information directly into the system, which translated the sales into program points. The points were immediately visible in a personal online statement. Once they reached a certain level, participants could redeem their points using an online catalog of more than 700 items. A barometer on the Web site depicted how close each participant was to securing one of 10 places on a “trip of a lifetime” to Istanbul, Turkey.

“It was like nothing the industry had seen,” says Hilton. “Resellers had never seen or experienced anything like it. Compaq was in the front of participants' minds, and the rewards were incredible.”

Regular motivational mailings, double-point promotions, program updates, and electronic teasers were generated via NETUWIN and sent directly to participants' desktops. The technology slashed traditional management costs and allowed EMC to redirect money to marketing the program and providing rewards. “All program elements were electronic, meaning no double handling or manual input required,” says Hilton.

The Bazaar was Compaq's most successful reseller incentive ever, reaping a 31 percent increase in sales of nontraditional areas, such as services, support, and financial services. Participation in competitors' programs fell by 43 percent.