by Leo Jakobson | September 30, 2013
Every year, Incentive gathers a group of experienced professionals from every sector of motivation, engagement, and incentives to talk about the state of the industry. On June 20, 12 participants gathered at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, FL, for some sun, sand, and serious conversation. Topics this year ranged from government regulation and return on investment to gamification and the return of luxury. 

What follows is a more detailed and extended version of that discussion regarding the end of the Motivation Show.

INCENTIVE: What’s the impact of the death of the Motivation Show?

PAUL GORDON, Vice President of Sales, Rymax Marketing Services: The impact is zero because the show died, unfortunately, a long slow death.

LYNN RANDALL, Managing Director, Randall Insights LLC, and Education Director, Incentive Research Foundation (IRF): So, I’m curious, do you think that the need in the marketplace is for the expo portion of it or is there an educational component that’s needed, on the merchandise side, that maybe isn’t met by IMEX America or other [meeting and incentive travel] shows [like AIBTM]?

GORDON: I think it’s a little bit of all the above. I think having that all together is good. I think the education side is always good, but it’s tough at a trade show I think, especially a [huge] trade show. 

ERIC ANDERSON, Director of Sales – Special Markets, Power Merchandising Corp./Almo: To be honest, I’m one of the people in the room that’s actually going to miss the Motivation Show. But we do the PPAI Expo. We’ve been in the “brand. pavilion” since its inception and I’m finding that some buyers just don’t want to come that far out. So the Motivation Show for us, being in the mid-west [in Chicago], really pulled from the East Coast. The buyer that I’m seeing at the PPAI Expo definitely needs that education, because the people that are really doing business and really running [incentive] programs, they already know it. But the next generation coming in through the Advertising Specialty Institute/PPAI distributors, they need that, they really do. I mean you have long conversations with glazed over faces about what you’re doing and you know what service you provide because they don’t know. They don’t know how to go sell a program. They just know that somebody may be in their customer, selling that program already, and so they’re thinking I could lose my [logo] pen and cup sale as well. So, how do I compete?

MICHAEL DOMINGUEZ, Senior Vice President, Corporate Hotel Sales, MGM Resorts International; Chair, Meeting Professionals International; and Executive Committee Member, U.S. Travel Association: I think the Motivation Show offered that incentive buyer, and that PPAI doesn’t cater to that audience. So it’s a very different show in that regard — because to me, that was the advantage of the Motivation Show. You had the incentive buyers that were there, which you normally don’t get at a show. I don’t think you’re going to see that at PPAI. 

SHELLY COLLA, Sales Manager, National Premium Incentive Group, Sony Electronics: Vegas is Vegas. [At the PPAI Expo], Sony started out with a table and now we have a 20-by-20-foot booth, and we’re fully invested in making it work. But there’s got to be something else and I know that PPAI is definitely looking at having something in the mid-west, you know, going forward. We did AIBTM. We’re doing IMEX America for the first time. There is that need for the lead generation and for talking to the end users and the planners, and really anybody doing a program face-to-face.