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I was talking with a friend the other day and she had a real- life marketing challenge. I call it the Case of the Dis-Incentive.

My friend is the VP of Marketing and Business Development at a mid-sized credit union. With senior management's leadership, she has been moving her organization towards a sales and service culture. With the hope of driving business, they even set in motion some activity-based compensation beyond the usual production percentages. Tracking the activity proved to be a time consuming and tedious process. My friend wanted to show management results. Unfortunately, she hadn't been able to put all of the numbers together to make sense. This is why I was called. You see, I solve Marketing Mysteries.

Using the tool of my trade, an MCIF, I undertook a cursory exam of the crime scene, which involved understanding the accounts that were added since the incentive plan was put into place and the profitability of the same. I then compared that to the sales of the previous quarter, and digested the impact of the incentive program. It was there that I found the breakthrough I was hoping for. It was right there all along. All I had to do was open my eyes. That's usually how it is in my business.

The facts were clear. The MSRs, loan officers, etc. were spending too much time tracking their activity for incentive compensation. In fact, they were bogging down the branches and management with an endless feeding of paper forms just to prove an extreme level of activity. What a crime. The credit union learned they needed a way to track member service and performance. Incentives should be paid on the additional business you gain from existing staff, over and above the norm. She said that she could handle it from there. I thought so, too.

Jay Kassing is the President of The Centrax Group, a marketing, CRM, and compliance software and consulting firm. He can be reached at 800.365.4274 or jayk

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