Guest Column - May/June 2013

Trends in Reward Choices

What Do Winners Really Want?

By Brian Carr

Redeeming at Low Point Levels

Many in the incentive business have experienced the situation where a small amount of points remain unused because of their low redemption value. The solution is to add merchandise or services that can be redeemed at lower point levels. Three product areas that qualify include Redbox movie rentals, magazine subscriptions and digital music downloads.

These options allow participants to redeem points at any level, which is a positive development for incentive companies because it engages participants at an earlier stage, when they perhaps only have a few points, or have leftover points from a previous reward redemption. This gives them an incentive, so to speak, to frequently return to the online mall and find new redemption options. For the sponsoring organization, this activity ensures the program participant will continually be reminded of the reward program, and be exposed to their messaging.

Retailing & Rewards

Just like retail establishments, sales and special offers can be used to further motivate rewards winners to spend their points. Special value deals by category, discounts on merchandise sets, and seasonally themed promotions are all valid ways to boost redemptions. For instance, at the beginning of summer, offer discounts on sporting equipment or backyard merchandise, such as BBQ grills and sets. If you think like a retailer, you're more apt to provide a shopping environment that resonates with winners.

Keeping Up with the Trends

Incentive award redemptions are affected by many factors, including the state of the economy, the way people interact with reward programs, and the latest trends in merchandise. The role of incentive marketing companies is to anticipate these changes, and ensure program participants have a full range of options to meet their needs. Working closely with vendors who understand these trends is critical to success. No doubt, there'll be more shifts in redemption behavior as the year progresses.

Brian Carr is Director of Individual Awards for Dittman Incentive Marketing. For more information, visit