Editor's Desk - September/October 2015

Don't Neglect the Experience

You can spend a lot of time and energy thinking about what kinds of things to offer as incentives, awards or gifts to the participants in your programs. Whether it's just the right item to recognize outstanding sales performance or the ideal gift to send a business associate, it's easy to get caught up in figuring out what kind of thing might work best.

But it's important to remember, and recent research backs this up, that how you give the gift, or how you recognize your winners, or how you reward top performance is also important. Certainly, what you give is a crucial choice, but you neglect the experience of the reward at your peril.

This is borne out by a recent study conducted by the Incentive Research Foundation on behalf of the Incentive Marketing Foundation. The study showed that the communication of the award and the experience of receiving the award were also considered highly important by recipients. And while the numbers may change slightly from audience to audience, the importance of the experience still ranks pretty high whether it's for a short-term recognition or a long-term reward, whether it's an office professional or a factory worker.

And this makes perfect sense. Think about it. There's a big difference between an atta-boy or atta-girl card left on your desk with a gift card and an event where the president of the company calls out your performance and delivers that same reward in front of an audience of your peers. There's a big difference between an e-mail from a co-worker or partner saying "thanks for the good job" and an in-person lunch where those thanks are expressed face-to-face.

And while the research focused on the experience of those receiving the rewards, I'm willing to bet that those good feelings extend out through the organization. Not only does the recipient get a boost and a good feeling, but the person who is giving the recognition gets the good feeling. And the audience—whether formal or not—who gets to watch their peers receive their kudos they probably come away from the event with their own good feelings. Maybe they even walk away from the event with even more motivation to earn a similar reward themselves.

This month, we take a look at this and some of the other recently developed research covering the incentive market. In addition to this IMA/IRF study, we cover some of the initial details coming out of a study conducted by the IRF for the Incentive Manufacturers and Representatives Alliance. To learn more about these important pieces of research, as well as some of the recent trends affecting the incentives market, click here.

And, of course, that's not all. We follow that story with our annual coverage of trends in merchandise incentives, where we find that a strengthening economy is leading people to reach for aspirational items once again. We also cover all the latest trends in recreation and sporting goods, and provide a look into wellness incentives.

So turn the page, and settle in. As always, we've got an issue chock-full of information that will help make your incentive and reward programs more effective.


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,