Feature Article - November/December 2014

New Beginnings

IMA's Upcoming Year of Change

By Rick Dandes

The Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) has several bold initiatives scheduled for 2015, with new ways to connect, engage and learn from its more than 500 members.

"The IMA this year has been in a period of transition," said current IMA President Richard Low, who also is vice president, special markets for Citizen Watch Company of America Inc. "I think, like any association, the IMA has the responsibility to re-examine its purpose and make sure it is fulfilling its mission, and we're doing both. One of the things that happened this year is that we lost Karen Renk (former executive director of the association). And the impact of that is we miss a great leader who was not only our executive director but also considered by many a leading authority on incentives in the industry. What that ultimately means for us is that those who were mentored by Karen now have the responsibility to step up and carry on the mission that she put in front of us. If there is any kind of legacy for Karen Renk it is for the leaders, the many volunteers that she has prepared to lead the IMA, IRF and all the associations that are geared toward incentives, to step up our game."

The IMA is doing exactly that. The association is internally readjusting its resources, and developing new strategies to maximize the knowledge it is able to offer its end users, the corporate community. Among the plans for the rest of this year and 2015 is a rebranding of IMA, both internally and externally.

"We want to do a better job in reaching out to the corporate community," explained Low. "At our executive summit this past July, we started to really focus on collaboration and getting all of our six strategic industry groups (SIGs) working together."

Low would like to see all of the SIGS collaborating so that the end customer is maximizing the use of their dollars, since incentive programs are under such constant scrutiny these days by chief financial officers.