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Leading Edge/News (Fall 2008)

CorporateRewardsExchange.com Makes Motivation More Efficient

The nation’s leading incentive fulfillment companies, representing the top brands in the incentive business, have joined forces with Solata Technologies, Incentive, Sales & Marketing Management and Motivation Strategies magazines to form CorporateRewardsExchange.com (CRE), a cooperative effort to help incentive planners and rewards & recognition companies – and all corporate reward stakeholders – improve the efficiency, service and economies of their motivation and engagement programs.

CRE’s Universal Points Platform and Corporate Gifts Store enable qualified incentive companies and corporate end-users to buy the leading brands directly from their authorized fulfillment companies for use in both points-based and corporate gift programs. A real-time inventory management system allows traditional points-based incentive/gift programs to ship rewards within a day or two of redemption or purchase rather than weeks, as is currently the case with traditional drop-ship scenarios. The Universal Points Platform is operational now. The Corporate Gifts Store launches in early 2009 at CorporateRewardsExchange.com

Founding incentive fulfillment companies for the Universal Points Platform (UPP) are: Certif-A-Gift, Harco, Lapine, Partners for Incentives, Rewards Direct by Maritz, Rymax Marketing Services and Quality Incentive Company. All are leaders in providing branded rewards, gifts and incentives at wholesale prices for corporate use, specializing in providing world-class customization and delivery to recipients to maximize the reward experience. More incentive fulfillment companies will be joining the UPP program shortly.

Rewards Direct by Maritz is the founding sponsor of CRE’s Corporate Gift Store, and it will support the efforts of 50 leading brands to set up storefronts on The Corporate Store site, enabling qualified companies to buy brands in bulk for reward, recognition and gift programs. Other sponsors and leading brands will be announced shortly.

By improving the efficiencies and reward experience of incentive and recognition programs, CorporateRewardsExchange.com not only improves service at reduced costs, but also makes it possible for incentive companies and marketing services firms to handle smaller volume programs that often aren’t profitable under the traditional model. CRE significantly improves those economics by providing a Web-based application that makes it easy to set up programs incorporating products available on a real-time basis from multiple vendors selectively chosen by an organization for each program.

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New Alliance Promotes Importance of ‘Enterprise Engagement’

Enterprise Engagement – the integrated efforts of an organization to engage its employees, channel partners and customers with its brand promise – is poised to become a leading business and performance strategy in the coming years. In response to this emerging trend, a unique joint effort was recently announced by three leading organizations in the fields of human capital, business strategy and marketing.

The Human Capital Institute, Peppers & Rogers Group and Selling Communications, Inc. have formed the Enterprise Engagement Alliance (EEA) to foster greater dialog and cross-fertilization between marketing, sales, human resources and operations that will help organizations profit from the processes needed to engage employees, customers and channel partners in a profitable way.

Don Peppers, Founding Partner of Peppers & Rogers Group, notes that, “Enterprise Engagement will become mission-critical to businesses in the coming years as more companies recognize that creating a consistent, positive customer experience is critical to long-term success. Research demonstrates that organizations that can inspire and enable their employees to consistently deliver great customer experiences generally do better over time than those that don’t.”

The founding members have already started the ball rolling. Selling Communications has organized an annual worldwide conference on Enterprise Engagement in New York City for May of 2009, as well as promoting and disseminating content developed by the Human Capital Institute and Peppers & Rogers Group through its own sales and marketing properties. The goal of the conference will be to bring together executives from the disciplines of sales, marketing and human resources under one roof to participate in a unique dialog and learn how organizations can best link external and internal marketing and communications initiatives to maximize customer satisfaction, message alignment and resource efficacy.

Don Peppers and Martha Rogers of Peppers & Rogers Group will be personally involved in developing research and content to strengthen and focus the EEA’s ongoing education programs. And the three founding organizations will contribute speakers and expertise to develop the conference education plan. According to Martha Rogers, “Our mission will be to document and prove the economic benefits available to businesses that understand the advantages of harnessing the collective synergies of engaged employees and engaged and empowered consumers.”

The EEA hopes to expand its membership as more organizations become aware of the importance of Enterprise Engagement – the Incentive Research Foundation recently announced its intention to join the EEA – and the broad spectrum of issues that are a part of it, including leadership, communications, motivation, meetings, training, rewards and recognition.

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IRF Taps Selling Communications as Marketing Agency of Record

The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) has named Selling Communications, Inc. its marketing agency of record for its strategic outreach initiatives, including message development, publicity, marketing communications and website management. The IRF is one of the nation’s leading not-for-profit organizations dedicated to advancing the science of motivation and incentives in business and industry.

“The Incentive Research Foundation is embarking on a proactive campaign to bring our research agenda to the highest level, which will require having the expertise and resources to most effectively deliver information to the industry and general business public,” says Frank Katusak, IRF President. “By engaging a firm experienced in our field, we believe the IRF will have the best opportunity to achieve its goal.”

“We look forward to helping IRF share its exciting research agenda with corporate America, “ notes Bruce Bolger, President of Selling Communications, Inc. “The incentive industry is well-positioned to benefit from current business conditions, as companies pour more resources into implementing more targeted, relationship-building strategies to maximize customer loyalty and word-of-mouth business, and as they seek more measurable ways to boost performance.”

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Industry Firms Join Forces to Support Outreach and Research

An Industry Leadership Council (ILC) consisting of leading brands and incentive companies has been formed to provide recommendations and insight to the Incentive Federation related to its research, legislative and research activities. The ILC is an outgrowth of a special Outreach Task Force meeting of leading incentive companies and brands held last year under the auspices of the Incentive Federation and hosted by the New York Incentive, Rewards & Recognition Show. The ILC will be chaired by Rodger Stotz, Vice President, Managing Consultant, Maritz Inc. and consist of companies that attended the Task Force meeting and other industry participants who wish to get involved and join the Federation.

The Industry Leadership Council consists of the leading incentive companies, fulfillment companies and both branded and nonbranded manufacturers that are active in the incentive field to assist with the development of messaging and significant new outreach activities being planned by the Incentive Federation and by the Incentive Performance Center (IPC). These activities include assisting in the support of outreach and research specifically related to the role of rewards, recognition and promotional products in business engagement and the establishment of joint ventures with other organizations interested in the nation’s new emphasis on engagement in business.

The ILC will also be asked to provide advice and counsel related to a Washington, DC congressional meeting that the Federation intends to hold in early 2009 that will be designed to increase awareness of the importance of our field on Capitol Hill and within the executive branch, as well as the general media. The objectives of the Industry Leadership Council are to help:

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Avanti Meetings & Incentives and I&MI Media Sign Joint Marketing Agreement

Avanti Meetings & Incentives, owner and operator of Meeting Place Mexico and Meeting Place Caribbean, has signed an agreement with I&MI Media to pool their resources to promote Mexico and Latin America to the readers of I&MI Media publications, continuing to expand awareness of these destinations.

The agreement was signed by Fernando Compeán, President of Avanti Meetings & Incentives, and Bill LaViolette, Managing Director of I&MI Media, accompanied by Oscar Fitch, Director of the Mexico Tourism Board, Eduardo Chaillo, Director for North America of the Mexico Tourism Board and Gaston Ramos, Director of the Mexico CVB.

LaViolette views the fast-growing Mexican and Latin American markets with intense interest, given the business potential of its expanding infrastructure for the international meetings and incentives markets. “After several years of monitoring our readers’ actual booking activity in these regions and their interest in placing future MICE programs there, it’s very clear how important these regions have become,” he says.

Meeting Place Mexico and Meeting Place Caribbean are well known for an increasingly expanded program providing education, networking opportunities and high quality attendees twice a year in two strategic locations.

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16th Annual IRF Invitational to be Held in Palm Springs

The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) has announced that its 16th Annual Incentive Invitational will be held in Palm Springs, CA, May 13-17, 2009, headquartered at the Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa. The Incentive Invitational is known for bringing together top incentive buyers and corporate decision makers, along with incentive professionals from leading travel organizations around the world, for a host of business networking events and educational seminars. Sponsored by members of Palm Springs Desert Resorts, the IRF Invitational is the foremost fundraising event for incentive industry research. The 2008 Invitational, held this past May in Nassau/Paradise Island, Bahamas at the Atlantis Resort, played host to a record-setting crowd of more than 400 guests.

In addition to the Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa, co-hosts include the Desert Springs, JW Marriott Resort & Spa, the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa, La Quinta Resort & Club, Palm Springs Desert Resort Communities Convention & Visitors Authority, ACCESS Destination Services, Desert Adventures Jeep Eco-Tours & Special Events, Destinations by Marriott and other Palm Springs area organizations.

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Maritz Partners with Travelocity

Maritz Loyalty Marketing has announced an alliance with Travelocity that allows loyalty program members to redeem points for the purchase of flights with no blackout dates or restrictions. With typical loyalty programs, customers redeeming points for flights can browse online, but must call a hotline in order to redeem their points for a flight. The Maritz-Travelocity solution allows customers to login to a specific loyalty program site and search for flights using Travelocity’s exclusive search features. The flights are also offered at Travelocity’s low prices. Customers can choose flights and pay for them online using their loyalty program currency, such as point or miles, in one seamless process.

“Combining Travelocity’s superior technology, excellent customer service and competitive pricing with Maritz’s depth of experience in loyalty programs and knowledge from working with more than 100 million loyalty program members has helped us create a superior, seamless offering,” says Rich Phillips, President of Maritz Loyalty Marketing. “Clients participating in the program will benefit as their customers choose their brands over others because of this superior solution based on Travelocity’s advanced features.”

For more information, visit http://www.maritz.com

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