Federation Study 2001: A Study of the Incentive Merchandise and Travel Marketplace
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“A Study of the Incentive Merchandise and Travel Marketplace” has been sponsored by the following members of The Incentive Federation:
Association of Retail Marketing Services
Table of Contents
The following pages present the highlights of the findings of this study. Complete values for each graphic will be found in the Details section of this report. You can download a complete copy of this study.
[Details, Tables 1a & 1b]
[Details, Tables 2a & 2b]
[Details, Tables 4a & 4b]
[Details, Tables 5a & 5b]
[Details, Tables 9a & 9b]
[Details, Tables 10a & 10b]
[Details, Tables 6a & 6b]
The survey recently conducted among executives shows that the usage of merchandise and/ or travel as incentives has increased slightly since the last survey conducted in 1996. Despite this increase, approximately 2 out of 3 companies still are not using merchandise and/ or travel as incentives. This suggests a considerable untapped opportunity for companies who supply products or services that are used as incentives.
According to the companies who do not use incentives, the biggest obstacle by far is a concern about the cost of an incentive program. To overcome this concern, suppliers of incentives must offer incentives that represent a good value for the expenditure. In addition, suppliers of incentives should be ready to demonstrate how incentive programs deliver tangible results and achieve their objectives. To make a convincing case, testimonials about successful incentive programs could be very persuasive to non-users of incentives, especially if these testimonials are from companies in non-users’ respective industries.
For suppliers of incentives, a good opportunity for increasing volume may be in companies and industries where usage of motivational items as incentives is underdeveloped versus the average. According to this survey, companies with fewer than 99 employees and the Distribution, Retail, and Services industries are relatively underdeveloped with respect to usage of incentive programs.
Another opportunity can be to focus on companies who plan to increase their expenditure for motivational items in the future. About 1 in 3 companies who participated in this survey plan to increase their expenditure for motivational items in 2001. However, the planned increases are not uniform across all company sizes or industry groups. Based on survey participants’ responses, suppliers of incentives should consider focusing on the Financial/ Transportation and Manufacturing industries because these groups plan to increase their spending on motivational items in 2001.
Replacing cash as an incentive is another opportunity for suppliers. Cash continues to be a popular incentive, with about 7 out of 10 companies using cash in the most recent survey. To offset the appeal of cash as an incentive, suppliers of incentives need to make a convincing case that demonstrates the effectiveness of non-cash incentives. Relevant testimonials or case studies, if available, can make a compelling argument in support of non-cash incentives. The Retail industry might offer a specific opportunity since the Retail industry is over-developed in terms of using cash as an incentive and is under-developed with respect to using non-cash incentives.
Another Internet-related opportunity for suppliers could be to promote the use of incentives to build Web site traffic. According to this survey, 83 percent of the companies have a Web site but only 16 percent of these companies use incentives to build traffic to their Web site. Suppliers of incentives may wish to focus on educating non-users of incentives about the value of using incentives to build Web site traffic.
From this report writer’s experiences outside of this project, it is apparent that many companies desire to increase their use of the Internet, for both business building and business efficiency reasons. However, the companies do not know how to drive customers and potential customers to their site – an area that falls squarely into the world of incentive programs.
In 1999, the Incentive Federation requested that the Center for Concept Development conduct focus groups with incentive users in the New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, and Atlanta areas. The purpose of this qualitative research was to identify issues regarding the following:
In 2000, the Incentive Federation requested that the Center for Concept Development execute the second, quantitative, phase of this research. This research consisted of a mail questionnaire sent to 8,000 executives in a cross section of American enterprises on a national basis. The questionnaire, designed by Ralph Head & Associates, was sent with a $1.00 bill and a postage-free return envelope and reflected issues that were learned in the focus groups conducted among incentive users in 1999. A test mailing of 1,000 was made to ensure that the desired results would be obtained. Once it was determined that the desired results would be obtained the full mailing was made.
The mailing was sent to Sales, Marketing and Human Resource executives in organizations where such titles existed. In others it was sent to the ranking individual (President, owner, etc.), but in all cases it was sent to an individual and not just a company name. The names were provided by Dun & Bradstreet.
Of the 8,000 questionnaires mailed out, 315 were returned as non-deliverable resulting in a net mailing of 7,685. When the mailing was closed for tabulation on November 18, 2000, 808 useable returns had been received. Subsequent to the close 27 additional questionnaires have been received bringing the total return to 835.