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Carlton Group: Global By Design

Few companies in the rewards and recognition business have built a larger international presence than Toronto-based Carlton Group. According to Founder and CEO Rob Purdy, the company can deliver in-country fulfillment in 85 countries (135 via trans-border shipping) and the entire world via digital rewards. Its catalogs and front-end program management software currently run in 17 languages, and the company works with about 300 fulfillment companies and other reward sources worldwide.
Purdy says the international focus was not serendipity: “When we founded the company in 2006, we decided from day one to have an international focus. At that time, few people were focusing on it; we wanted to take a leadership position.” Asked if demand for international fulfillment was still more hype than reality, he says, “Not at all. Our business is growing exponentially due to our global commitment”.
Cross-Functional By Design
Carlton has two businesses, its Global Rewards Solutions business and its Power2Motivate front-end program management software-as-a-service technology. The program management technology, Purdy explains, differs from most of the recognition software in the marketplace in that it handles all types of programs – including employee recognition, sales, channel and loyalty programs – enabling companies to run multiple programs on one platform. “Our technology is cross-functional by design,” he says. “The reason we’re so successful is that with a few clicks of the mouse a company can set up a new program.”

Purdy believes that one of the most important byproducts of technology is data. “Today it isn’t just about having technology; it’s about functionality,” he says. “Is it easy to use? What kind of tracking and analytics do you get? How is your organization changing behavior today? Technology is about using results data to design better programs.” 
While Carlton has direct clients in Canada from its early years, Purdy says “We are essentially a licensing business. We license our technology to other companies around the world and they bring our solutions to their clients.” He adds that the number of active licensees worldwide number around 20. “We come at this from the perspective of global clients. They want one solution that meets all of their requirements. They need flexibility and they need customization. Most programs are not out of the box, however many companies prefer the simplicity of our solution as well.”
It’s About Choice
On the reward side, Purdy notes that, “People around the world are aware of the vast reward selection offered in major markets like the US. We wanted to provide parallel choice in all countries and equalize the delivery process, making our solution more valuable to clients around the globe. We don’t offer just a single gift card. We have full merchandise, travel and retail components, and we try to give us much choice as possible everywhere.” The company’s ability to provide a wide array of choices in countries as diverse as China, Australia and Brazil is a big advantage, says Purdy. To manage all of these disparate shipments, the company has a data center that collects data from all of its fulfillment partners every day. “Everything flows into one central data center that’s regularly monitored by a team of two dozen people internationally, including the Middle East and Asia, to provide dedicated customer service and manage reward data,” Purdy explains, adding that the company’s escalation rate on shipments is one-seventh of one percent and that most issues are resolved in a day or less.
Finally, while admitting that technology is important, Purdy says that program design is critical. “No matter what, there always has to be effective program design. We see the ability to support our licensees with effective program design to be an important part of the service offered by Power2Motivate.”  

Rob Purdy, CEO, (905) 477-3971 x. 227; rpurdy@carlton.ca
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