by Alex Palmer | July 07, 2014
A new report finds that Canadian companies continue to embrace merchandise and gift-card incentives to motivate employees and consumers, but that varying rewards for different age groups can be a challenge. The fourth annual "Canadian Incentive Trends Study" comes from Berkeley Payment Solutions, an incentive program supplier of corporate MasterCard and Visa prepaid cards.

According to the report, 72 percent of organizations have used incentives for customer loyalty, marketing, sales reward, or employee rewards programs. This is a sizable uptick compared to the number that had the same response last years (65 percent) but a little less than the 75 percent in 2012 who said they used incentives. Additionally, 59 percent of respondents agreed that their incentive program gave them an advantage over competitors.

As for the organizations that chose not to offer incentives, the top reason was that there was no budget allocation (cited by 43 percent of those who do not offer incentives). This was followed by "No requirements for incentives" (26 percent) and "Never considered using incentives" (18 percent). For those Canadian organizations that do make the budgetary commitment to incentives, spending has remained consistent, with 50 percent of respondents saying their budget has not changed compared to 2013.

The most important factors for those instituting an incentive program are whether participants have a positive experience (cited by 63 percent of respondents), followed by costs (at 55 percent). Other top determinants for incentive programs are how easy they are to administer and the level of program engagement (both at 44 percent), as well as a program manager’s ability to measure its ROI (39 percent).

But ensuring that the participants have a positive experience can vary by the age of the recipients. When asked which is the most difficult generational group to select an incentive for, 38 percent of the respondents pointed to Millennials (those under 35 years of age). This was followed by Boomers, with 25 percent, and "Matures" (69 years and older), with 21 percent. The GenXers between the ages of 35 and 49 appear to be the easiest to select incentives for, with just 14 percent of respondents citing it as the most difficult generation.

The full report is available for download from Berkeley Payment