A Reinvented Referral Incentive That Reignited Channel Loyalty

How a leading telecom brand is staying ahead of the channel loyalty curve.

person looking at incentive platform on laptop

Challenging revenue objectives. Saturated market conditions. Strong competition. Our telecommunication industry client was leading in their markets, but had aggressive revenue goals that called for a big new idea.

Through market research conducted to help guide its marketing strategy, this telecom giant discovered multi-dwelling units (MDUs)—a previously untapped niche market—are often pre-wired for its feature high-speed fiber-optic services and, thus, ripe for bundled business. The revelation presented an attractive incentive audience within apartment and condo complexes and a potentially lucrative business opportunity, so a targeted plan of action was developed.


Right Audience. Wrong Approach.

The telecom leader launched a customer referral program targeting MDU leasing agents and property managers, ultimately establishing a channel for tenant product and service referrals. They hired a vendor to assist with program implementation and award fulfillment. But initial success took a nose dive and the program failed to produce the results the vendor had promised.

Lackluster Results Called for New Perspective

Thats when the telecom giant turned to ITA Group. The first step to revitalization was an extensive, collaborative assessment where three findings were uncovered:

  1. Wrong behaviors were being rewarded
  2. A one-size-fits-all approach was ineffective
  3. Lack of performance insights meant no action

The #1 reason ITA Group was selected was its transparency—and the promise of a smooth transition.

Client Marketing Project Manager

Overhauling the Approach Without Rocking the Boat

Through robust integration and statistical data analysis, varying rule structures were considered and conservative growth trends forecasted to identify which strategies would provide the most impact. Collaboration included the stipulation that any changes made must avoid creating major program disruption and participant mistrust, as our client did not want program changes to result in any negative perception from leasing agents and property managers. 

Basic Changes Sparked Buy-In

Because the telecom leader already had the referral program in the market, they were fearful big changes would cause blow-back and loss of trust. Incentive experts at ITA Group measured the potential impact to the telecom leader’s channel participants and weighed the result against revenue forecasts using historical data from the existing program. After running through scenarios, a simple, results-oriented structure was chosen that would focus on building loyalty with those participants who previously disengaged after a few referrals. Strategic changes and purpose-driven communications paved the way for a seamless transition. Among participants who showed growth, positive results were quickly realized with an increase of seven sold referrals per participant. 

Real-Time Reaction Is a New Competitive Advantage

Our client’s dynamic industry requires not just proactivity, but quick reactivity, especially when it comes to market shifts. With a program designed by ITA Group, the telecom leader has actionable data at its fingertips and is now able to quickly react and adjust to the market. Complete flexibility allows for the strategic deployment of timely, quick-turn promotions to counter the competition. And business is monitored in real-time, with a business analytics dashboard empowering account managers to stay ahead of the curve.

Account managers have made significant business impact by staying ahead of the game, and offering data and support to channel partners in need.

Sold Referral Activity

The program experienced 3 quarters of growth in the first year of transformation in sold referrals.

*Although Q4 2018 declined due to seasonality and compared to Q3, it was still 25% greater than Q4 of the previous year.

Year 1 Results

170% Increase YOY in referrals

149% Increase YOY in sold referrals

97% Participant award satisfaction

26:1 ROI