Editor's Desk - September/October 2008

A Little Help from Your Friends

Despite sunny-side-up dispositions that tend to point to every slight bump as an indication that the economy has rebounded, it's likely that your targets—the customers, employees, sales force and partners you hope to motivate and reward—are still feeling the crunch. Recent numbers from the Federal Reserve indicate that the nation is still struggling with slow economic growth and high prices, and consumers and businesses are feeling the crunch.

It's enough to make any tried-and-true optimist want to crawl back under the covers when the alarm clock sounds. In the midst of a downturn, your efforts at motivation, backed up by powerful brand-name merchandise rewards, become ever more powerful. Your recipients likely are unable—or at least less likely—to splurge on themselves, with their hard-earned dollars putting bread on the table and gas in the tank. Many Americans cut back over the summer and did not take vacations, but stayed closer to home. Reports showed that even back-to-school spending was carefully culled to only the most necessary items.

In this kind of economic climate, when you reward one of your employees' hard work with a luxurious item, it will surely resonate. When you offer brand-name items as a way to keep customers coming back for more, you surely will earn their loyalty. If you offer a coveted piece of merchandise to reward your sales force's willingness to continually enter the fray and build your business's bottom line, they won't soon forget it. And if you do all of that, even in the midst of the economic troubles plaguing the country right now, then when things start to look up—as they always do—your award-winners will not forget it, and they'll be less likely to jump ship.

To help you plan how best to go about designing your incentive and reward programs, you need to turn to the experts. And why not get to them when so many of them are collected in one convenient gathering place—Chicago for The Motivation Show, taking place Sept. 23 to 25?

Many of the exhibitors and speakers who will be showing off their wares and offering you smart strategies to adapt for your own programs attended the recent Incentive Marketing Association Executive Summit in Boston, where they got their own dose of education, networking and news. There, the industry leaders gathered to discuss the latest trends and developments impacting their market. Over the past month, they've had a chance to absorb those lessons, adapt their message, and bring it to the show floor and educational sessions you'll be attending in Chicago.

So don't hesitate to ask questions. The exhibitors and speakers have plenty of experience working with programs just like yours, and are ready and willing to help you develop an out-of-this-world program that will reward your persevering employees, customers, salespeople and partners for years to come. And if you want to learn by example, check out the winners of IMA's Circle of Excellence Awards, which will be presented at a special luncheon at the show.

If you're not attending the show in Chicago, why not start by flipping through these pages, where you'll not only find the latest merchandise available to include in your program, but you'll also find guidance on getting more trophy value into your program, improving safety at your facility with effective incentives, getting your managers on board with your program and more.


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director
Premium Incentive Products magazine


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