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Rewards & Recognition (August 2011)

News Briefs

Don't Let It Happen! Incentive Tax Deductions Face Cuts

According to congressional staff, "All tax provisions are on the table…They are coming for you." The incentive industry's tax provision 274(j) supporting safety and length of service programs by providing tax deductions to employers and tax exclusion to employees is in jeopardy. For the past two years, the Incentive Federation has been working to protect our industry by raising awareness of our industry's significant role in improving business productivity, creating jobs and demonstrating that recognition and reward solutions are powerful and effective business tools. Unfortunately we have no more funds to continue this effort. Your financial support is needed NOW in order to continue our lobbying and outreach efforts in DC. To make a donation, contact the ILC Fundraising Chair  and begin protecting the future of your business. For more info about the Incentive Federation and its efforts to protect our industry, go to www.incentivefederation.org

Best Buy

Universal Rewards Exchange Partners with Motivation Show

The Motivation Show and the Universal Rewards Exchange(URE) have announced a marketing partnership designed to help improve the efficiency of sales between exhibitors and buyers of incentive merchandise, gift cards, events and travel programs. Exhibitors, incentive marketing companies and promotional products distributors attending this year's Motivation Show (October 4-6) are eligible to participate in a new automated program that will allow 2011 reseller registrants to receive information on scheduling face-to-face meetings at the Show with participating brands and incentive fulfillment companies through the MotivationConnect appointment scheduler, as well as get updates on the URE throughout the year. For incentive companies and promotional products distributors, the URE fully automates direct connections to the real-time inventory of brand manufacturers and wholesale distributors. Incentive companies and distributors can use either their own catalogs or the URE's customizable catalogs; select the suppliers of their choice and pay either directly or via a consolidated bill; choose from any brand or award category or supplier; access real-time pricing and availability; and personalize and customize catalogs and packaging. For more info, go to www.engagementtechnologyllc.com

Citi, Best Buy Introduce Mobile Rewards App

Citi, in collaboration with Best Buy, is introducing a mobile rewards app that allows Citi ThankYou members to redeem points on their iPhone, iPod touch or Android device. Citi ThankYou members can opt to shop and redeem ThankYou Points and pick up products at any Best Buy store, or have products shipped anywhere in the continental U.S. "This kind of direct deal between a big end-user and retailer is a trend we saw first with the Amazon-Amex deal, and it should serve as a warning to 'traditional' incentive industry players that they need to keep up with retail technologically, as well as have competitive pricing, outstanding delivery and service, or the big opportunities will be cherry-picked," says Mike Hadlow, President and CEO of Engagement Technology, which operates the Universal Rewards Exchange technology platform. For more information, go to http://pr.bby.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=244152&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1597895&highlight

Kohl's Corporate Gift Card

IGCC Seeks Gift Card Donations to Help Kids

The Incentive Gift Card Council (IGCC) is once again supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation by contributing gift cards from IGCC member companies to the Foundation for the holiday season. The Foundation will use the donated gift cards to fulfill wishes, helping to reduce the average wish cost. The cards will also be used for wish enhancements and wish parties. IGCC members are donating a variety of gift cards, from hotel and restaurant gift cards (for use during wish trips) to entertainment gift cards (to fulfill wishes at theme parks and other wish venues) to gas, grocery and super-store gift cards (to supply family basics).Members are being encouraged to bring donated gift cards to the 2011 Motivation Show in Chicago, October 5-6, or to mail them in to the IMA offices in Naperville by November 30th, 2011. For more information, contact Betty Weinkle at InteliSpend Solutions; betty.weinkle@InteliSpend.com; 305-663-6162.

Rymax Gets Deeper Into Social Media

Rymax Marketing Services recently announced the launch of its official Facebook page with exciting promotions and giveaways. The Rymax page is designed to interact with the growing mobile customer base, keep the online community up-to-date on company news and announcements from brand partners, and provide exclusive rewards to fans for staying in touch with Rymax. With an established following for the company's blog, The Rymax Insider, on Twitter and through LinkedIn, this Facebook initiative reflects Rymax's continued commitment to staying connected with consumers and brand partners online. Planned additions to the page in the coming weeks include incorporating product videos, posting incentive and loyalty program Tips from the Experts, showcasing new advertising campaigns, and of course, more promotions for the fan base. For more information, go to www.rymaxinc.com

Maui Jim

SVM Expands into Consumer eCommerce Arena

SVM, a leading provider of innovative gift card solutions for businesses, is expanding its digital gift card strategy into the consumer ecommerce market through its acquisition of GiftZip.com, which will serve as SVM's gateway to retailers that offer eGift cards online. As the multi-billion-dollar gift card industry continues to grow, consumers are taking advantage of sending eGift cards to friends and family instantly. SVM will expand GiftZip's B2B eGift card business by coupling GiftZip's strong web presence with SVM's B2B eGift retailer relationships and unique eGift delivery capabilities. This will provide Internet retailers and service providers with the ability to quickly and efficiently use eGift cards as a digital reward solution for online loyalty, survey and customer satisfaction programs. For more information on SVM, our gift cards, eGift cards and reward solutions, go to www.svmcards.com

Insights from ESM Rewards & Recognition e-News

Engagement Event Returns $2 for Every Dollar Spent

The Enterprise Engagement Alliance (EEA) recently announced that research measuring the return on investment (ROI) of an annual meeting of healthcare insurance brokers that stressed training, relationship-building and networking opportunities found the sponsoring company enjoyed a return of almost $2 for every $1 invested in the program. Initial results reported in March revealed that the program had a profound impact on the way brokers thought and felt about the company, its products and its people. Part 1 of the report, The 'ROI in Channel Partner' Conferences – A Case Study, noted that the annual gathering translated into higher sales, performance and engagement among those who attended. Part 2 of the report examines the actual change in sales of Allsante, Inc.* products among program participants, summarizing the ROI the company achieved from the event. EEA analysis of the methodologies and findings reveals that Allsante earned significant ROI from its annual event. "After all variables were accounted for, a highly credible and conservative estimate of 190% ROI was arrived at," says Allan Schweyer, Chairman of the EEA. "In other words, the company enjoyed a return of almost $2 for every $1 it invested in the first six months following the event, and our researchers say it's likely that the returns, if calculated after another six months have passed, will be even greater." Parts 1 and 2 of the study, The 'ROI in Channel Partner' Conferences – A Case Study, can be downloaded at www.enterpriseengagement.org

* The company in this report is referred to as "Allsante, Inc." at the firm's request, due to competitive reasons.

In the Next Issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine

The June/July issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine is out! Here's a look at what you'll find inside:

The Art (and Science) of Engagement

Author and engagement guru Richard Axelrod talks about the collaborative effort that's essential in creating an enduring engagement culture. To make sure you get your copy of Engagement Strategies Magazine, go to www.enterpriseengagement.org/account/login/ and update your subscription today!

Rewards Distributors Embrace Continuous Improvement

Amazon may be gone, but its legacy is still around in the form of higher expectations and increased automation. Here's how the industry is filling the gap. Read more in the current issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine.

A '3-D' Solution to a Common People Problem

Here's how Mountain States Health Alliance transformed itself into an organization that not only provides quality patient care, but is also considered a great place to work.

News From Selling Communications Inc.

White Paper Links Social Media and Performance

A new White Paper, How Social Media is Changing Corporate Performance, discusses how lessons learned from Social Media are helping corporate employee-engagement experts capitalize on the momentum in self-motivated, peer-driven participation. Corporate recognition, rewards and incentive programs for employees are actually the unsung pioneers of the kind of 'social points' activity like we see in Social Media games like Farmville and others. By leveraging the power of online systems, corporations can provide a familiar social environment similar to those in which people have already chosen to engage during their own time. You can bring the power of Social Behaviors to your employees by offering intrinsic/extrinsic motivation rewards and recognition programs. Peer-to-Peer awards let people recognize each other. Team-based activities allow for relationship-building and trust. Wellness programs show that you care about employees' health challenges and that you want to help through education and online tools. Open 'suggestion programs' accelerate innovation by creating a meritocracy. To view the full report, go to www.dittmanincentives.com 

About Selling Communications Inc.

Selling Communications, Inc. is a fully integrated, target marketing, media and technology agency that improves results for clients by focusing on the people who matter most. We can help your business grow and save you money by targeting key prospects, getting their permission and strategically integrating your marketing and sales communications with the specific audiences most likely to affect your business performance.

Take advantage of these SCI services to improve your business development:

For more information on Selling Communications, its products and services, contact Jim Kilmetis at 914-591-7600, ext. 229 or send an e-mail to jkilmetis@sellingcommunications.com.

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