How To Choose The Right Gifts For Your Next Incentive Program?

  • Jul 18, 2011

Austin, Texas: Last week, while working with a Fortune 500 company in finalizing their gift options for their latest sales incentive program, I was struck by how often the gifts that are chosen for a loyalty or incentive program usually reflects what the senior marketing people would like to have, rather than what their customers or employees would like to earn.

I often hear such words as:

“Let me show it to my wife to see what she likes.”

“I love to fish. What fishing items should we offer?” (you can substitute “golf” or “NASCAR” or “hunting” into this mix just as easily).

“I don’t like to wear a watch, so why should we offer one?”

” I own two iPads already. Why should we offer one?”

Funny as these seem, they are all actual quotes that I have heard in the past 6 weeks.

Forget about what you’d like and find out what your customers want (or employees if you are running an employee incentive program).

It does not matter that you prefer opera over rock, Mac over PC and Rolex over Seiko — all that matter is what will inspire and motivate your customers.

Hold a focus group. A real focus group of your customers at a trade show or on sales calls.

Don’t ask loaded questions. “Wouldn’t you like this crystal vase?” is not the way to start the process.

What is your competition offering? Assume that they might have done some research and play off of some of their findings. Don’t copy them, but see what categories they have selected: Travel. Music. Books. Clothing. Accessories.

Understand that your target market may be broader than you think, so expand your offerings. Just because your target audience may be “C-Level Executives” does not mean they are all white, male, middle-aged golfers. If you typecast, you will most likely miss a large percentage of your potential audience.

Don’t ask your administrative assistant or spouse what they like. This may be useful for birthday presents for them, but not in selecting incentive loyalty rewards.

See what has worked on your previous incentive programs. If you have run a prior program, look to see which categories of merchandise have performed best and be sure to include others from that group. If they like electronics, expand it. If travel did not get much response, limit or eliminate it.

Your incentive reward gifts should have broad appeal. If you are not sure whether to include an item or eliminate it, just add it. Why not?

Do not limit your offerings based on personal likes and dislikes. All that matters is what your customers will want to aspire to earn.


Happy Promoting.

  • Category: Blog, Incentive Programs
  • Tags: choosing the right incentive gifts, incenitve rewards, incentive rewards, loyalty programs, loyalty rewards, motivating customers, motivating employees, sales awards, sales incentives