Cash Isn’t Always King

By Anna Sophie Gross Mar 29, 2018

At a time when flexible, performance-based incentivization is becoming an increasingly important means of compensation – and budgets continuing to be shackled – incentive program professionals are looking at new ways to fuel their incentive programs.

According to the Incentive Federation, over the last 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of U.S. businesses using non-cash rewards as part of their incentive and loyalty programs, rising from just 26% of U.S. businesses in 1996 to a whopping 84% in 2016.

The shift toward greater use of non-cash rewards and recognition can be partly understood in relation to new expectations. Traditional compensation systems have not kept up with organizations’ need to reward and recognize employees and channel partners for the shifting and increasingly valuable, indirect revenue-contributing roles they are asked to fill on a daily basis (e.g., lead generator, innovator, brand advocate, etc.). 

Savvy program pros are employing creative tactics in Non-cash in offering a whole host of non-cash reward offerings beyond cash bonuses, including gift cards, experiences, and a host of “outside the box” rewards:

  • Badges prove to be an effective means of providing members with incremental rewards for “soft skills” or progression through your program. Gamification injects healthy competition into your program, and acknowledgment goes a long way in terms of boosting morale and skills.
  • Offering their company’s own branded merchandise as a reward is an effective way of enabling resellers, dealers, and distributors to make greater returns from their product investments (by selling them on), while at the same time increasing brand advocacy and engagement.
  • Offering sellers and marketers leads can also be an energizing reward option, as this kind of early intelligence can open up future business for your partners, thereby multiplying their revenue in the long run.

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