Aurea Almeida

Launching Cashback Rewards Programs: Build a Marketing Plan For Maximum Program Adoption - Part 1

The top reason businesses fail to drive maximum product adoption of their cashback rewards program is the lack of product marketing.

Marketing a new rewards program seems obvious enough, but it can be really easy to miss the mark on getting it in front of your audience to effectively to hit your goals. Then, months later, you’re left wondering why the program didn’t take off like you thought it would.

I'm here to tell you that there's no such thing as "if we build it, they will come." That only happens in the movies. Or believing, "it'll sell itself." 

The truth is, consumers today have options, options, and more options. If your strategy is to leave your cashback rewards program's adoption up to chance, then it's highly likely your new rewards product will miss that chance. 

Instead, how you should be thinking about product adoption is: when people have awareness that something is available to them and they understand how it benefits them, they will consider adopting or acquiring it.

This is especially true for a cashback loyalty program.


Louder for those in the back… consideration and adoption only happens if people know your rewards program exists!

Don’t just assume your customers will just stumble across your company's rewards program and/or cash back browser extension. What you must do is intentionally share your rewards program with your audience in a way that helps them understand what value it brings to their lives. 

Product Marketing drives demand and adoption of new products. So it follows that you must do product marketing for your cashback loyalty program in a way that positions your product to have relevance and connection with your target audience. 

In this series of posts, I'm going to outline the steps you must take to create a product marketing plan that will effectively drive adoption of your cashback rewards program. This first post will focus on the research and planning phase of your marketing strategy.

Want to skip ahead?  Read Part 2 (messaging and positioning) and Part 3 (executing your plan and measuring results.)

So let's get started!

Step 1: Define very clear goals for your rewards product that also align to your business.

When thinking about the rewards program and why it makes sense for your business, what results do you want this product to bring to the business both long-term and short-term? Determine the revenue and adoption goals you would like to track towards. Then, make short term objectives to get there. 

For example, if your 3-year goal is to get 50% of all your existing customers to adopt your cashback browser extension, then what will your 6-month and 1-year marketing objectives look like to help you reach those goals?


Step 2: Know your customers.

You might think you know your customer today. Now, with a new product, you should take the time to get to know them with this new perspective. When thinking about your customer's point of view and their relationship to your brand, what will your new loyalty rewards program help them achieve?

What frustrations or struggles will it help them eliminate?

Why would this product matter to them?

Tip: Not sure you’re getting to the right answer? Ask the question “Why” 5 times to help you get deeper each time. And, it helps you understand if your “why” is actually focused on the right thing, the customer.

Take a look at these two examples: 

Example 1

Why should this matter to your customers?

Our customers want an easy to use cash back rewards tool. 


Because looking for coupons and savings is so complicated.


Because merchants hide their deals.


Because they don’t want to give away discounts all the time.


Because they’ll lose money.


Instead of the above, frame your "why" question from the customer's perspective, like this: 

Example 2

Why should this matter to your customers?

Our customers want ways to maximize their dollars whether that’s getting cash back, using points instead of cash, or getting as many discounts as possible.


Because they want new ways to hack their finances so that they can make more money without getting a second job.


Because they’re tired of living in financial frustration from sticking to a budget each paycheck, not feeling ready for an emergency or feeling guilty over buying that thing they saw on TikTok.


Because they want to break their unhealthy money habits and build new healthy ones.


Because they want to feel financial freedom for once in their lives. 

What can you do to know your customer that deeply?


I recommend you create a persona of who your most ideal customer is. If you already have an audience, this ideal customer already exists in your customer database. 

If you don’t yet have an audience, then you have the freedom to create who that ideal target persona is. Consider attributes such as:

  • Who are they demographically?
  • Psychographically – their behaviors, habits, loves and hates?
  • Who do they hang out with?
  • Who or what motivates them?
  • In relation to your business, what are they trying to achieve?
  • And, why do they believe your brand will help them achieve it? 

Then, find out where they are (social media is a great resource). Watch what they’re posting, what they’re saying, listen to their influencers, read the books they're reading, and get their feedback directly whether it's doing interviews or sending them a survey.

This is a critical step to connecting with your audience when planning a marketing campaign for a new cashback program. 

Step 3: Know your competition.

One of the questions clients ask when I’m helping them plan out marketing strategies for their cashback reward programs is: "what are our competitors doing, or what did they do?"

The interesting thing is that "they" in this question are either (a) not direct competitors or (b) brands that have been marketing their loyalty rewards program for years. So to this question, I typically reply something like, "they've done years of marketing, testing and research to get to this point." 

Instead, the questions you need to be asking about competition are:

  • What companies are the competition that your customers are going to instead of you?
  • Why?
  • And finally, how can your rewards program win their business instead?


Wow! Now that’s a lot of research and thinking about your customer and your competition, but it’s critical groundwork that needs to be done before you even start thinking about how you're going to convince your customers to start using your cashback rewards program.

Now it's time to read Part 2 of this series, where we discuss messaging for your program.

Download the 6-step marketing checklist for your cashback rewards program:


Published by Aurea Almeida May 8, 2023
Aurea Almeida