Premium Incentive Products - Inspiration for Motivation Newsletter Features

Feature Story

November 2017

Industry Pros Discuss Current, Future Challenges to Corporate Gift & Recognition Market

Recent Inspiration for Motivation Feature Stories

Meetings & Events Forecast Shows Increased Confidence in 2018 - October 2017

Research Shows Technology Is Transforming How Companies, Employees Interact - September 2017

Growing Incentive Gift Card Market Provides Opportunities - August 2017

Survey: Performance & Service Awards Most Popular Forms of Recognition - July 2017

Survey: Employee Recognition Widespread - June 2017

Study: Financial Services Industry Needs to Focus on Engagement - May 2017

IRF Research Looks at Wellness in Meetings & Incentive Travel - April 2017

Few Global Companies Prepared to Build Organization of the Future - March 2017

What Are the Top Trends for Incentive Rewards, Recognition & Travel in 2017? - February 2017

Burnout: Study Reveals Big Workforce Challenge in 2017 - January 2017

Survey Looks at Holiday Gift Practices - December 2016

Culture & Communication Are Critical for Sales Compensation Policies - November 2016

Despite Tech Revolution, Younger Workers Want In-Person Collaboration - October 2016

Report: Small Biz Uses Merchandise to Motivate - September 2016

Workers Want Insight on How They Affect Bottom Line - August 2016

Incentives Market Reaches $90 Billion Annually - July 2016

Report Reveals Proven Ways to Create a More Human Workplace - June 2016

Employers Falling Short in Recognizing Millennials - May 2016

SHRM Survey: Employee Job Satisfaction Hits 10-Year High - April 2016

Which Generation Is Most Engaged? Survey Says: Gen X - March 2016

IRF Spotlights Top Motivation Trends for 2016 - February 2016

Bersin by Deloitte Looks at Growing Challenges in Engagement, Productivity - January 2016

SHRM Says Fewer Are Hosting Holiday Parties for Employees This Year - December 2015

A small group of industry thought leaders, under the banker of Special Markets Dialogues, met recently in Las Vegas at the Green Valley Ranch Resort for two days to network and discuss the corporate gift, recognition, rewards, incentive and motivation marketplace. The 34 invited attendees were comprised of brand merchandise manufacturers, solutions providers, association professionals, gift card providers, promotional products distributors and suppliers, and manufacturers' representatives.

This year's dynamic lineup of discussion topics, with many generated by the attendees in advance of the gathering, focused on the implications and impact of challenges and issues in the broader business world on the incentive and recognition marketplace.

Topics included:

  • Revelations about the rise of digital advertising.
  • A rapidly increasing shift to online purchases by the public as well as industry clients.
  • The consolidation of online shopping to just a few giant online providers such as Amazon, Alibaba and eBay.
  • How millennials are affecting buying decisions for incentive merchandise, gift cards and other forms of recognition.
  • The rise of experiential giving and the implications for traditional forms of rewards and recognition.
  • "New" rewards points programs that convert points to cash on debit cards to be used anywhere debit cards are accepted.
  • Recent acquisitions and mergers in the broad incentive and promotional market.
  • Challenges and relationships among incentive and multiline representatives, national marketing companies and brand manufacturers, updates on association and private entity trade shows and events, hosted buyer and traveling show programs.
  • Announcements of upcoming association educational programs, research projects and public outreach programs.
  • Review of important government regulation and legislative challenges and opportunities.

The attendees shared their candid views about the discussion topics as well as their business challenges in 2017, and their prospects for improvement in 2018.

Of the 2017 Dialogues meeting itself, one participant stated, "It is my favorite meeting of the year. It allows me to get out of my industry segment and hear about others. It's also the only place where we try to discuss the larger issues that impact or will impact our business."

Another said, "This is my first Dialogues meeting, but the discussion during the first half-hour has already convinced me I need to be here."

A veteran Dialogues attendee said, "Dialogues is without a doubt the best 36 hours of time I spend with my industry peers, uninterrupted and candid. Lots of valuable insight and thought about what, where and how things are moving in our world."

The Special Markets Dialogues meeting has been conducted annually since the early 1990s and is considered one of the industry's most important venues for company owners and executives to network, share ideas, discuss strategies and debate the future of the marketplace. This forum was founded by the late George Kling, considered one of incentive marketing's preeminent minds and mentor to many, under his Potential Profits Group company brand. The meeting was subsequently re-branded as Special Markets Dialogues by Pete Mitchell, recently retired as Director for B-to-B Sales for Samsonite, who very ably planned and facilitated Dialogues from 2005 to 2015. Dialogues continues today under the leadership of Mike Landry, Vice President of Special Markets for Tumi, Inc., Dean Resnekov, Owner of Indigo, Karen Wesloh, Executive Director of the Incentive Marketing Association and Steve Slagle, retired former president of the Promotional Products Association International, who also has moderated the past two Dialogues forums.