In a recent study by the Incentive Marketing Association, Executive respondents to an Incentive Federation study consistently indicated that merchandise and travel incentives were more compelling than cash – and within the merchandise category, gift cards were the most popular award items. Approximately three out of four respondents agreed that they could build a more exciting and memorable sales incentive program using merchandise and gift cards than they could with cash.
Below are 5 core reasons why gift cards are superior to cash incentives:
#1. Trophy Value: Gift card purchases are more memorable – they create a lasting reminder of achievement. If you’re trying to connect a behavior with a specific result and reward that result—it’s important that the recipient continues to remember what the reward was for. Cash incentives are often spent without having any association or direct lasting reminder of the original reward incentive (i.e. using a cash incentive to pay bills Vs. using a gift card to buy a new golf club that will provide years of use and a reminder of the incentive program every time you’re on the course.
#2. More Discrete: It’s polite to mention about non-cash awards. People are much more willing to talk about what they got in terms of a gift card versus cash. Most people don’t want to brag about cash, but enjoy talking about their new golf clubs or vacation. By providing a better means to indirectly call attention to the award and what was accomplished to earn it, the value of earning a non-cash incentive exceeds its actual cash value.
#3. Universal Benefits: Gift cards combine the benefits of merchandise with the benefits of cash. People consistently say they prefer having a choice. Once people receive a gift card, they have a choice of what product(s) to redeem it for.
#4. Guilt-free Spending: Recipients don’t feel guilty treating themselves. Many non-cash incentive awards are viewed as luxuries that participants normally cannot justify purchasing for themselves or family members. In the case of a gift card, the recipient can use it guilt free for something personal.
#5. Family Support: Because the participant’s family is often involved in selecting awards when gift cards are utilized – they’re more likely to support participant’s goals. A supportive home environment is important for success. When people are working toward earning a reward at work, family members quickly get on board. One of the reasons is the prospect of being able to benefit.
Source: The Incentive Gift Card Council
Many companies think of team building as a one-time activity, which means your efforts will be quickly forgotten. Incorporating team building as part of your meeting and events strategy ensures that you’re continuing to invest in your talent and their relationship with their co-workers as well as your company. Regular, focused time on team building with your employees will pay dividends later—think of it as an investment! Here are some examples of the ROI:
- Increase productivity and morale
When you get your employees moving, interacting and collaborating, it breaks up a stagnant workday and shakes up stale routines. Working together on an activity, team members bond and build trust, improve workplace quality of life and boost productivity.
- Improve team dynamics and communication
Team building activities encourage employees to connect in a new context and interact with co-workers they might not otherwise cross paths with, which can improve cross-department communication and foster out-of-the-box thinking. Working on constructive problem solving translates to the workplace, benefiting problem-solving, teamwork and conflict resolution.
- Identify strengths and weaknesses
Interacting with your employees in a different environment helps you observe team dynamics and identify untapped potential or bad chemistry. You may want to course correct or offer further training to improve weaknesses or take advantage of under-used skills.
- Forge long-term commitments
Investing in team building sends a signal to employees that you want to help them grow professionally and strengthen their position within the company. It also inspires and produces loyalty, ownership and accountability. A team with a shared vision is much stronger and more effective.
- Bring out the creativity
Getting team members out of their comfort zone results in more creative, strategic thinking, and fosters innovative solutions to challenges. Many team-building activities encourage problem solving-skills and help employees see problems with new eyes when they revisit their work.
Team-building activities can take many forms, from all-day off sites (taking a cooking class, building bikes for charity, etc.) to shorter activities (trivia games, scavenger hunts around the office). Most importantly, make it fun, meaningful and memorable. If you can’t take the time for a full day of team building, think about how you can incorporate it into your existing company events or meetings.
Let us know if we can help you with your meeting and employee engagement strategy. Contact us at (866) 337-7799 or bd@AmericanMeetings.com.
AMI welcomes Vincent Clarke as our guest blogger this week. Vincent works in marketing for www.usbmemorydirect.com a website that sells a wide range of promotional products for corporate meetings, conferences, and trade show booths. Here are Vincent’s suggestions on some of the popular items on the market today.
Does choosing the right promotional product for your next corporate meeting, trade show, seminar, and other corporate event leave you feeling overwhelmed?
Many companies trust more traditional yet expensive forms of marketing like TV and billboard advertisements; however, the fact is that these projects can cost your company thousands of dollars with very little chance of a significant ROI.
So how can something so small and inexpensive like a promotional gift have such a large impact on your audience? Corporate meeting planners know… It all comes down to repetition. No matter how catchy or grand you try to make a TV commercial, people will always remember information better if they’re able to see it frequently throughout their day.
Promotional products range from the plain and practical to the downright bizarre, but here we will be discussing some of the more creative and effective tools of the bunch. Each of these promotional gifts is very popular among companies and leaves a lasting professional impression on their target audiences.
Business Card Flash Drives
Everybody has their own taste in business cards. It’s almost more of a fashion statement at this point than a proper marketing tool. USB business cards on the other hand introduce a product that is high-tech, stylish, and useful in more ways than one. This fresh way to engage with your market allows you to upload your work portfolio, resume, product catalogs, service brochures, and all sorts of other important marketing information.
Mood and Color Changing Products
Mood promotional products continue to shine for its creativity and sheer mystery. Whenever the recipient wears or touches the item, the color will change to reflect their mood. It’s an exciting way to convey your company message through a fun activity. The great part is that they can come in a number of different mediums, such as hats, cups, bottles, measuring sticks, pens, pencils and plastic toy rings. So you can have the best of both worlds and hand out something that’s useful and interesting to your audience.
At this point, practically everyone has some kind of smartphone. Whether it’s through Apple, Google, or Windows, you see everybody checking emails, updating Facebook, and browsing the web on right on their phone. Granted, it’s in your hand so much you’re bound to drop it at one point or another. And that’s how the smartphone case industry was born. Everyone needs them, but as you probably already know, they can be pretty expensive. A regular case for your iPhone or Android can run you anywhere between $20 to $60 depending on the style and brand name. So why not offer your own brand name on a smartphone case and offer them for free!
American Meetings CEO, Andy McNeill, adds, “A popular question from our clients is what our corporate meeting planners find to be the most popular and effective giveaways at Trade Shows and Conferences. Don’t overthink it. Vincent has pointed out some popular, yet unique, products that are sure to make you stand out.”
Have you been wondering what all the hubbub is about with the Food Truck phenomenon? So have we! In the past, Food Trucks were those mobile vendors that you see at carnivals serving up junk food classics like hot dogs, funnel cakes, and cotton candy. But believe us… that is a thing of the past.
Food Trucks have become a fun, trendy way to serve a variety of gourmet delights that appeal to all tastes in a more relaxed environment. And in the corporate meeting and event industry, the possibilities are endless. From employee appreciation programs to Conferences, trade shows and even Dinner Galas, the requests from our clients are rolling in.
Our corporate meeting planners recently managed a successful employee appreciation event for one of our clients, a major cruise line based in Miami. Going with a more traditional approach such as a catered lunch or banquet typically requires venue rental, coordination of a variety of work and personal schedules, and taking in to consideration an array of cultural tastes and differences with menu selection. As it turns out, food trucks were the solution! CEO, Andy McNeill says, “The event was hosted in our client’s parking lot during work hours. We offered everything from gourmet grilled cheese to vegetarian & vegan options to flavorful Latin cuisine. There was something for everyone.”
Our advice when planning an event like this is to allow an appropriate span of time and to double up on the most popular trucks to keep lines at a minimum. We also put up a tent and hired a DJ… an inexpensive way to liven up the event. Plus, the tent will come in handy in the event of rain or weather issues.
Clients love the idea because there is less time for employees away from the office. Staff can go out at their leisure, enjoy their lunch and return to work without a significant loss in productivity. All of the same principles apply for Conferences and Trade Shows as well. It’s the perfect way for attendees to get some fresh air and appeal to all tastes without losing them to offsite options.
The classic gift of a book helps to deepen relationships, create intelligent inspiration, and serve as a tangible communication tool with meeting attendees. Now imagine making those connections deeper by personalizing the book with your organization’s message and branding. AMI has access to over 3 million published books to which you can add your logo, personal promo page, branded book jackets and more!
Customized books are ideal as attendee gifts, trade show giveaways, or a traditional marketing incentive for your next advisory board, conference, or employee incentive program.
1 Cover Imprint
Reinforce your brand by adding a logo and message to the front cover of almost any book (depending on cover space).
2 Promo-Page Insert
The promo page is adhered to a book’s 1st or 2nd page and provides space for logo, detailed message, a personal letter, full-color photos, ads, contact information and more!
3 Belly Band Wrap
Make a bold statement by wrapping your logo and message in full-color around the outside of any book. The printed paper band wraps around a book and secures in the back.
4 Custom Book Jacket
Make most any hardcover book your own. A custom book jacket features your unique full-color artwork on the front or back cover. There is also space for a personal message or letter on the inside jacket flaps.
Customized books become long-standing reminders of events, shared experiences and your corporate message. Contact us today for more details and a price quote!
It is no secret that incentive trips for employees afford a number of benefits to an organization including a positive culture, employee recognition, retention of top performers, and driving desired behaviors to exceed objectives. Research concludes, organizations that develop cultures based on employee recognition and rewards programs will be better positioned to thrive because their employees remain motivated and engaged.
But while there is no doubt as to the ROI of an incentive trip, there are many logistical factors that can become a hindrance. Are all of your employees available during the same time period? Who will be left behind to hold down the fort while they are away? Will your budget accommodate a weekend away with 50 or even 100 employees? Our clients have shared many of those same concerns.
Great news! AMI has partnered with Walt Disney World® to develop Individual Incentive Trips. With this unique program, your employees are rewarded with an individual trip for two to the Walt Disney World Resort® in Orlando, FL during dates that are convenient for them. The best part is that AMI’s Individual Incentive Trips are fully customizable to your employees and can be upgraded from a couple to a family of three or more.
With AMI’s Individual Incentive Trips, AMI provides:
► Roundtrip flights to Orlando International Airport from anywhere in the US
► Roundtrip ground transportation in Orlando via Disney’s Magical Express®
► Accommodations at any Walt Disney World Resort® Hotel
► Park Hopper® Passes for each guest
► AMEX Gift Card for Meals & Incidentals
► A Custom Registration Website for your attendees to choose their preferences
► A Vacation Information Packet including their airline tickets, accommodations, coupons and more
► An AMI Personal Vacation Consultant
What an exciting way to reward and appreciate your employees without the hassle of coordinating a large group! Let AMI handle the legwork for you. Contact us today for more details and a proposal!