I was recently invited to be a part of Corporate Meetings and Incentives’ 2012 Gift Card Focus Group. The session was organized by the Incentive Research Foundation and featured some of the leading practitioners and providers of sales incentive and employee recognition programs. It was designed to assess the usage of gift cards and whether or not they were playing a bigger role within the award mix.
Here is a summary of what I had to say:
Madison is truly award agnostic. We offer a portfolio of possibilities ranging from group and individual travel to merchandise awards to retail gift certificates and debit cards. And, your location is critical. So when you look at the usage of gift cards versus merchandise, for instance, it really depends on where in the world you are looking. In North America and Europe for example the trend has leaned toward gift cards as of late, but there is still a lot of merchandise being redeemed. It’s about a 60/40 split toward card applications.
In Latin America, Asia and Asia Pacific, however, merchandise still dominates choice. Employees are not as enamored with gift cards. They gravitate toward things they see and want in a catalogue. That might be because a web base redemption process is easier in some geographic regions.
That’s why we at Madison believe the bigger considerations when constructing an awards offering are factors like program budget, employee demographics, worker locations and other practicalities.
In offering up award selections we have found that the smartest choice is exactly that—choice. A broader selection is always more promotable, motivational and appealing than a limited one. A robust offering geared to the targeted employees’ overall earnings potential and your budget parameters is more logical—and frankly more effective—approach for any recognition planner to take.