Editor's Desk - November/December 2018

Collaboration Counts

In the world of incentives, rewards and recognition, there's a lot of competition going on. Merchandise suppliers are competing with incentive travel houses and gift card providers, and they're all competing with each other within their own areas of the market. Program participants are, sometimes, competing against one another to see who outperforms everyone else. You are competing for consumers' attention and loyalty. Or, you're competing with all the different distractions and busy-nesses to engage your target audience and keep them focused on the task at hand.

We compete. But do we compete at the expense of collaboration?

I recently attended a conference in a completely different field, where the attendees represented an impressively wide range of players in that particular industry. There were manufacturers and consultants. There were practitioners and policy makers. Among all of those professionals, all of whom represented a different angle of buy-in to the industry they serve, there is a tremendous amount of competition.

But, for the duration of this particular conference, all of those competitors set aside that mindset and got deeply focused on collaboration. In this particular case, it was mainly scientific collaboration aimed at advancing public health and safety. But, I would argue, it was no different from the collaboration that takes place at the Incentive Marketing Association's annual conference in July, as well as among the IMA's various strategic industry groups throughout the year.

Yes, all of the members of those various SIGs, all of the players in this market, are highly competitive. But they also collaborate in many ways to ensure that the use of incentives, rewards and recognition continues to become more and more effective over time. They collaborate to better educate Corporate America on just why these kinds of programs are so successful, and how to make them more so. They collaborate to create unique research that examines where the industry has been, as well as where it's going.

This month, we go behind the scenes of the IMA to take a closer look at how, exactly, this kind of collaboration works. Turn to page 18 to learn a whole lot more about that.

There is tremendous value in collaboration. When we can all take a step back from the frenzied pace of the race to the top for just a minute to talk to our competitors and peers about how we can do better and cooperate to advance the industry as a whole, everyone does better.


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,