A little recognition can go a long way. Time and again, we hear from employees that the reason they left their last job was a lack of recognition of their hard work.
You know that it's your team that makes the difference. And you know that recognizing them with rewards and motivating them with incentives—whether merchandise, travel, a little flexibility or something else—can go a long way toward improving the performance of your workforce, and thus, of your business.
The trends bear this out. According to the Incentive Federation's 2007 United States Incentive Merchandise and Travel Marketplace Study, the market for travel and merchandise incentives is booming—to the tune of more than $46 billion in 2006. And of the companies responding to the survey that use merchandise incentives, 80 percent of them used them for non-sales employee recognition.
You can find our report on the entire survey beginning on page 18, but I'm particularly interested in the fact that merchandise incentives are overwhelmingly employed in programs for non-sales employees. This fact reveals one facet what one expert called "a paradigm shift" in the way company leadership thinks about the workforce.
Once upon a time, employees were thought of as a cost center. Salaries, health care packages, retirement plans and so on—all employee-related expenditures were just one more item to add to the list of money going out, instead of money going into the company's coffers.
As the world has changed from a manufacturing-based economy to an information economy, so has this perception. Employees are now seen as an investment, and those same costs—salaries, health care, retirement plans, and, yes, merchandise incentives—are now seen as an investment that will pay the company back as its top-performing workforce delivers results. This perception will only grow as the baby boomers retire in ever greater numbers and the competition for top talent grows ever more heated.
Incentives are one essential part of your plan for attracting—and keeping—top talent. And our goal here on the pages of Premium Incentive Products is to help you learn how to use merchandise incentives to your best advantage—not only to motivate and retain your workforce, but also to reward and recognize your top-performing sales teams, to inspire your channel partners, and to build customer loyalty, brand awareness and any other of a number of motivational goals you want to achieve.
And just as you recognize your teams with rewards and incentives, I'd like to take a moment here to recognize the team at P.I.P. We've got an outstanding cadre of expert editors and other staff members who will work to bring you the most up-to-date information on incentive merchandise and best practices addressing the wide range of motivational goals you use incentive merchandise to achieve:
Paul Hennessy, our publisher, who introduced you to P.I.P. on the previous page, has more than 25 years of experience working in this industry. Well-known throughout the industry, Paul has been active with several industry organizations and is a charter member of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA).
William Flanagan, one of our contributing editors, has 15 years of experience writing, analyzing and editing in the business publishing world, including a recent stint as editor in chief of Potentials magazine and Incentive magazine, where he covered the incentive and motivation market. William will be making regular contributions to help guide you through your merchandise incentive options. You can find his first feature, which discusses the ways you can use products associated with the great outdoors to motivate, on page 24.
Catherine Eberlein Pfister, our other contributing editor, has been working in this industry for more than 30 years, and is a veteran business publishing writer and editor. Catherine also spent time as editor in chief of Potentials, back when its full name was Potentials in Marketing magazine. During the late '80s and early '90s, Catherine's team helped create the Gold Star product showcase and ushered in the incentive industry's extensive High Performance Marketing educational conferences.
Tony Ficke, our creative director, has more than two decades of experience in publishing, and is responsible for the beautiful pages you'll find as you flip through this issue. He's won more than 60 awards for his design work, and has worked on the initial design and launch of five startup magazines, as well as the redesign of more than 15 others.
Not only are we lucky to have such an experienced staff of editors, writers and creative folk, we also are blessed with input from some of the top thought leaders in the industry. You'll find their thoughts in our monthly guest columns on pages 10 and 52.
I'm grateful that we have so much expertise at our beck and call as we work to bring you the information you need to get the job done. Kudos to our team on this first issue of P.I.P.
Now I'd like to recognize you, our readers. I hope that you'll contribute to our effort to continue to bring you the information you need to make your incentive programs a success. How can you help? Simply by letting us know what you'd like to see in these pages. They are, after all, your pages. Make them yours, and drop me a line at email@example.com to let me know what you'd like to see more of, and learn more about.
Wishing you all the best in 2008!
Premium Incentive Products magazine
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