by Alex Palmer | March 04, 2019

A Super Bowl-themed sales program, a gamified employee-recognition initiative and a loyalty campaign that leveraged artificial intelligence were among the programs honored with 2019 Motivation Masters Awards. Organized each year by Incentive, the B2B brand focused wholly and solely on employee motivation and engagement, the awards honor four category winners in the areas of sales, channel sales, recognition and loyalty, as well as the Grand Motivation Master award that celebrates outstanding overall achievement.

The winners were announced at an awards luncheon today at Incentive Live, Northstar Meeting Group's incentive, loyalty and motivation event taking place at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park.

"Incentive's Motivation Masters Awards is our chance to spotlight some of the most outstanding programs in the industry - the most creative, effective and impactful reward and recognition campaigns out there," said David R. Blansfield, executive vice president and group publisher of Northtstar Meetings Group. "It is a chance to both celebrate those who are doing great things in the business of motivation and to learn for ourselves how they're generating such impressive results."

The 2019 Motivation Master winners are:

Grand Motivation Master
Maritz Motivation Solutions and HSBC Bank for the AI-enabled credit-card rewards Customer Loyalty Program

Leveraging the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence, this program used Maritz's proprietary PointsConcierge tool to send targeted recommendations to 75,000 credit-card rewards members, spotlighting the rewards most likely to drive desired behavior. The AI-enabled recommendations proved three times as effective as the control group, pointing to the promise of predictive analysis in large-scale incentive programs in the years ahead.

Sales Category
Brightspot Incentives & Events and Frontier Communications for the Red Zone Referral Program

This program boosted lead referrals and upsells for the telecommunications company using a mix of incentives for in-field technicians and local managers. Weekly drawings kept the program top of mind, while quarterly prizes - including a trip for two to the Super Bowl - helped give employees motivation over the long term.

Channel Sales Category
ITA Group and Bridgestone Americas for the Milestone Channel Sales Program
Aimed at driving incremental tire sales among Bridgestone's independent dealers, as well as boosting market share, this program used targeted communications to encourage both short- and long-term sales goals. Winners could redeem points earned from over 10,000 items in ITA Group's catalog, including merchandise, travel and experiential awards, producing an ROI of $14 for every $1 spent in total sales.

Recognition Category
MotivAction and Petco for the MyPetcoRecognition Program
This technology-driven program incentivized Petco employees for a wide range of behaviors via rewards including certificates for exhibiting Petco's core values, a gamified social message center, a wellness program and regular sales contests run on cloud-based applications. Rewards included gift cards, merchandise and a Denver incentive-travel experience, where winners took part in a "Mile-High Dash" warehouse run.

Loyalty Category
Hawk Incentives and VCA Animal Hospitals for the VCA CareClub Customer Loyalty Program
This program rewarded members of this animal-services company with points for every dollar they spent on qualifying foods and medicines or by using the VCA Home Delivery service; clients than redeemed those points for prepaid MasterCard gift cards. The loyalty program generated a 17.5 percent sales lift, as well as a 46 percent lift in VCA Home Delivery.

The winners were selected by a team of judges based on each program's effectiveness, creativity and the tactics employed to reach the goals set for themselves. Each winning program will be profiled in the next print issue of Incentive magazine, out later this month, as well as online at Incentivemag.com and in the Incentive Weekly newsletter.

For all those who would like a chance to have their own programs spotlighted in 2020, applications are now open for next year's Motivation Masters Awards. Visit incentivemag.com/MotivationMastersApply for details and application process for the 2020 Motivation Masters contest.