Working With The Brightest Minds To Understand The Science Of People.
Working With The Brightest Minds To Understand The Science Of People.
Maritz uses its groundbreaking knowledge of behavioral science to increase customer loyalty, employee experience, and sales performance through a variety of services and software solutions encompassing research, incentives, rewards, incentive travel, meetings, and events.
Jesse Wolfersberger, left, chief data officer at Maritz Motivation, accepts the Grand Motivation Masters award for a program that used AI-enabled recommendations to offer targeted rewards recommendations to HSBC customers.
For 125 years, Maritz has been growing and changing to meet diverse marketplace demands.
What began in 1894 as a jewelry company that sold items out of Edward F. Maritz’ house in St. Louis has grown into a $1.3 billion enterprise that understands the true jewel in this life is people.
When the Great Depression hit in 1929, Edward’s sons Lloyd and James were faced with bleak prospects for the jewelry company. To generate income, they had the notion to sell watches and engraved personalized jewelry to companies as sales and service awards.
The idea of noncash sales rewards was a new one, and it caught hold. The concept literally saved the company and launched the incentives industry. By 1930, a new division was created—Maritz Sales Builders. The first national “prize book” was created for a St. Louis hat manufacturer, Caradine Hat Company.
“The Maritz family basically incubated a transformational innovation around an insight from psychology,” says Zarak Khan, behavioral innovation director at Maritz. “There’s a great investment in applied psychology and behavioral science here, and we believe that is a key component in building things that last.”
Zarak Khan, behavioral innovation director
Today, the business works with the brightest minds to understand the behavior and the science of people. Maritz uses this groundbreaking knowledge to increase customer loyalty, employee experience, and sales performance through a variety of services and software solutions encompassing research, incentives, rewards, incentive travel, meetings, and events.
Maritz’ specialties are showcased in its three businesses—Maritz Motivation, MaritzCX, and Maritz Global Events—and several divisions. In terms of innovation, Maritz focuses on collaboration in academic research, creation of a foundation for employees in behavioral science and experimentation, thought leadership in the industry via PeopleScience.com, and applied innovation.
Through the Maritz Field Research Collaborative, Maritz partners with behavioral science scholars at top-tier universities across the country to design custom research that yields valuable insights.
Amy Kramer, market and product innovation leader
It’s a triple win in the sense that Maritz’ clients gain a first-mover advantage through cutting-edge research that informs the development of their products or services, while the researchers benefit from the opportunity to see in the field what they have previously only theorized in a lab. And Maritz benefits by joining the two.
The outcome of the Maritz Field Research Collaborative is the studies’ publication in academic journals, which ensures the purity of the research and growth in the field of behavioral science.
In 2018, Maritz and Harvard researchers published a study in the Harvard Business Review that looked at consumer reactions to marketers’ use of personal data. The experiment found that when marketers are transparent and communicate how they are using customer data to target ads, they see an increase in customer engagement and purchasing.
The findings from the study are especially relevant for a world in which data privacy is a large concern.
In a similar vein, Maritz provides internal education around behavioral science and research methodology for all of its employees, from its board members down, and it has also launched a thought-leadership platform in the form of PeopleScience.com.
The website features academic and industry content that has been “translated” into articles that are more informal but no less thought-provoking. Jeff Kreisler, a Princeton-trained lawyer turned professional comedian, bestselling author, and then advocate for behavioral science, edits PeopleScience.com, so readers benefit from meaningful content that is cleverly presented.
All of these elements come together in applied innovation, which describes the way Maritz has concretized its processes for innovating.
“We are embracing the burning aspiration to transform business and its people,” says Amy Kramer, market and product innovation leader for Maritz Global Events. “We believe in the power of innovation, its impact on culture, and how we can use methodology and practice to radically shift our industry, impacting the lives of people and their experiences.”
Maritz’ approach, then, is rooted in thoughtful design. By helping its clients to understand and define their goals and objectives—and by placing design at the foundation of the experience—Maritz creates with intention, delivering the most impactful, meaningful experiences possible. But the work doesn’t end there; Maritz uses its “incubator” to further ideate, create, experiment with, and execute new approaches—all of which continually enhance the experiences it designs.
In 2014, Maritz introduced a personalized, retail-like e-commerce experience called RewardSphere that offers a reward experience focused on exactly what motivates people and what they find rewarding. By applying behavioral science principles, Maritz designed an experience that is personalized to each user’s profile, preferences, and behavior.
Building on that success, in 2018, Maritz leveraged the power of machine learning and AI in its proprietary Points Concierge tool to send targeted recommendations to 75,000 HSBC credit card rewards members, spotlighting the rewards most likely to drive desired behavior.
The AI-enabled recommendations proved three times as effective as those offered to the control group, pointing to the promise of predictive analysis in large-scale incentive programs in the years ahead. The program was recognized with the Grand Motivation Masters Award in 2019.
It is no surprise that with behavioral science at the core of its processes, Maritz’ innovation is people-centric. Maritz invests in structure, methodology, and leadership,and it encourages employees, customers, and partners to engage in ideation and progress innovation at all levels. These investments further the mission to practice and empower innovation to scale top growth opportunities. Such an open network motivates all Maritz people, inspiring them to contribute and to take risks—both of which are at the heart of innovation.
“Our leadership is also truly supportive,” Amy adds. “We promote learning, give permission to fail and support each other in collecting ideas, and in expanding and assessing those ideas, and we invest in our people to take new thinking to the market.”
In addition to building community and empowering people, Maritz’ process of innovation allows for a quicker speed to market and quicker impact on business results. The process builds a future system that enhances Maritz’ offerings to clients and the effect on their clients and guests in turn.
One example of this immediate impact is a mobile app, DealerPulse Mobile. Produced by Maritz in 2013, the app allowed General Motors dealers to receive up-to-date feedback from the customers they served right on their phones and tablets without having to wait for weekly or monthly reports.
A more recent example is the launch of the first Patient Experience Platform, an all-inclusive, customizable patient experience survey and reporting framework that allows health care organizations to integrate, view, and analyze patient experience data from multiple sources and surveys, including the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys, to gain a more comprehensive view of the patient journey.
As a large organization, Maritz also promotes cross-functional and divisional collaboration, fostering relationships, better ideas, and stronger applications across markets.
“We want to drive constant value, future thinking, and bold approaches to transforming our clients’ events, products, and services,” Amy says. “And most importantly, we want to inspire and elevate our people and their impact on our organization and the world.”