In 2001, Compaq Computer faced not only a softening economy but some trepidation about the pending merger with Hewlett-Packard. The company turned to Eugene De Villiers of The Extra Mile Co., Auckland, New Zealand, to develop its fourth-quarter 2001 incentive program for Southeast Asia resellers.
Known as the Gold Rush program, it won Compaq and EMC the 2002 Crystal Award for Most Creative Use of anProgram to Solve a Challenge (Internal).
For starters, the program offered instant awards to those who met their goals in a number of categories. There were also monthly and quarterly prizes, and special prizes for certain regions. The top prize was gold coins stamped with the program logo (gold is a prized motivator in Asia).
The program was put entirely online so that it could be accessed by sales representatives in eight time zones and more than 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Sales reps registered and tracked their performance on the site and received regular teaser e-mails. An Internet help desk was set up to answer questions, despite varied languages and time zones.
The Crystal Award winner for Most Creative Use of an Incentive Program to Solve a Marketing Challenge (External) was Saab and its incentive planner, Atlanta-based US Motivation. Their challenge with The Genuine Advantage Plus 3: Go For 3%, Cruise With 5% was similar to Compaq's in that they needed to drive their U.S sales and service associates to surpass their quotas in the difficult 2001 economy. The award, American Express debit cards, appealed to both demographic groups: salespeople and parts and service managers, who were able to use the cards to redeem prizes of their choosing.
Dealers who exceeded their baseline quota of 3 percent earned debit cards; if they exceeded 5 percent they earned an individual trip aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Saab allowed them to choose their lowest month in 2001 to perform against. For the parts and service managers, Saab set sales and customer service goals and included the cruise award.
The Genuine Advantage was a huge success for Saab, bringing in 7.2 percent more revenue than the cost of the program and 19.9 percent more than the cost of the awards.