Dave Peer, Hinda’s president and current president of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA), was invited to participate in “Incentive” magazine’s 11th Annual Industry Roundtable, which took place this past spring in the boardroom of Apella™ in Midtown Manhattan. The Roundtable involves the insights and expertise of 11 top-notch players in the incentive industry. This year’s discussion centers on the return of incentives and the growing importance of ROI and wellness.
“We’re seeing some dramatic changes in redemption patterns,” Peer says about what’s popular in merchandise lately. “Electronics, for Hinda Incentives, is now the No. 2 redemption category. I’ve never seen that before; electronics was always on top, whereas household products like single-serve coffee makers, vacuums and so on, are now our No. 1 redemption category.”
Another key discussion point is gift cards and where they currently fall on the incentives spectrum. At Hinda, we are seeing a leveling off traditional gift cards as a rewards option, and Peer explains the three-fold reason for this.
“The first is, there’s a growing recognition by program sponsors that the gift cards’ economics are inferior to other reward options,” Peer explains. “The second thing is that the gift card in general has an inferior trophy value [compared to merchandise]. The final thing is the introduction and development of digital media – music downloads, movie downloads, book downloads – which are addressing a key space that gift cards occupied in an awards structure at the lower dollar value, the logistics, the ease [of use and administration].”
One of the questions posed to the panel states, “The industry learned the hard way to pay attention to politics in the last few years. What’s the outlook?” Peer refers to the recent GSA scandal and the IMA’s response as an example when he says, “We are trying to pull together various groups so that we can be more effective in Washington, so that we can be more proactive rather than reactive. That was recently reflected in our response to the General Services Administration scandal, where the wasteful expenditure of government money by amateurs really had a negative impact. We were able to get out there and respond quickly. There’s an ongoing effort, and we’re not done.”
Read the full Roundtable discussion in the September issue of “Incentive” magazine. In the meantime, watch videos of what the panelists had to say outside the boardroom at www.incentivemag.com.