Your strategy drives the deal, not the other way around.

The final program design, deal, and implementation must serve your broader end-customer business goals, not the other way around. Too often a partnership program serves its own ends, and not the broader strategic vision. If your program feels like it isn’t working hard enough for your broader goals, this is a sign it has taken on a life of its own.

Open-ended RFPs for programs don’t work.

Off-the-shelf RFP documents add very little value. Develop a detailed and financially sound program strategy and a highly detailed, specific bidding document in place of an open-ended RFP which largely wastes time and pushes the heavy lifting to the contracting process.

Detailed proforma financial modeling is a must-have.

Too often program partners rely on the providers’ forecasts and projections. Having a disciplined approach to proforma modeling and results reconciliation to plan is a requirement to take ownership of your program. It will lead to better decision-making in partnership with the provider.

Think segmented product line, not a monolithic single product.

Chances are you segment your customer base carefully on demographic and behavioral attributes. Marry that approach to the card and banking product line in a way that works for both you and the provider.

The end customer has to be part of the development team.

We ensure that the end customer is an active partner in developing a great cobranded program. Winning over the customer, and keeping them actively engaged, is a core part of our approach.

Great programs evolve constantly.

If your program management process doesn’t include an explicit innovation and product development track, that will have long-term impacts that will suppress valuation at the renewal.

Regular performance benchmarking is like an annual physical.

When was the last time you did a bottoms-up, detailed, cross-bank benchmarking of your program’s performance? That discipline can lead to big insights. This is the first step we take with prospective clients.

Deal structures and contracts have to anticipate the “what if” scenarios.

So often program contracts with providers do not anticipate real-world situations, and lead to conflict and stagnancy over the five to seven year average contract life. Anticipating these situations, and creating flexible risk mitigation and financial terms within the agreement, is a must-do for an effective relationship.


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