The Secret $176 Billion Incentive, Rewards & Recognition Marketplace

    Posted by Brian Galonek on 09.14.2022
    Brian Galonek
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    Company leaders are increasingly concerned with attracting and retaining key employees and increasing employee engagement. Incentive, reward and recognition programs are effective ways in which to accomplish these goals, yet many in the business community are still not aware that there is a formal, experienced network of suppliers to serve this marketplace. These companies may be putting programs together in house, they may be buying rewards at retail or from big box stores, Amazon or other sources that have little or no experience in the rewards & recognition space. These sources do not understand the special needs and deadlines critical to the success of employee and customer programs.


    The Solution

    The Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) is the only organization comprised of every segment of the marketplace including sales promotion agencies, consultants, distributors, gift card suppliers, fulfillment companies, incentive houses, manufacturers, national marketing companies, performance improvement companies, manufacturer’s representatives, recognition companies, travel specialists and the industry’s major trade publications and trade show managers. IMA is THE network to find all the expert resources for recognition and incentive programs.


    Incentives, Rewards & Recognition by the Numbers

    Reported in the latest research study, the total non-cash incentive spend in 2022 is estimated at $176 billion. It breaks down like this:

    • Total sales incentive spend: $52,321,474,286
    • Total employee incentive spend: $40,314,491,19
    • Total channel/distributor incentive spend: $24,173,806,764
    • Total customer loyalty incentive spend: $31,886,027,344
    • Total spend on client gifts: $27,466,539,900


    Many of those dollars are not spent as cost-effectively as possible. The advantage of working with experienced suppliers in the incentive, reward & recognition marketplace include:


    • Experienced professionals that can help to structure effective programs that will achieve results.
    • Professionals who can guide company leaders through developing fair rule structures that avoid unintended consequences.
    • Experienced program designers that will ensure that company goals are aligned with achievable individual and team goals.
    • Manufacturers, merchandise suppliers, gift card and travel providers that are intentionally in the incentive and recognition space. Very different from retail or wholesale, these suppliers understand the special needs of the recognition marketplace and the importance of meeting deadlines and delivering as required.
    • Incentive Professionals will guide company leaders through reward selection, ensuring that the rewards will motivate the company’s particular audience and that the rewards chosen support and reinforce the sponsoring company’s brand.


    Experience shows that most business schools do not address incentive strategies, although there is significant evidence that employee, channel and consumer programs improve business.


    Employee programs are an effective way to communicate what is important to an organization and are proven to increase employee engagement. In today’s workplace, safety and wellness are increasingly important. These components are often incorporated into performance improvement programs, and an incentive professional can share the latest research and best practices.


    Don’t try this at home! To take advantage of all the benefits that working inside the incentive, rewards and recognition channel offers, contact us today!

    Topics: employee engagement, Employee Incentive Program, improve employee engagement, incentive and recognition programs, Gallop Poll

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