by Lisa A. Grimaldi and Alex Palmer | November 21, 2019

What will drive motivation, recognition and rewards in the new year and beyond? Incentive tapped a roundtable of industry thought leaders -- Tina Gunn Weede, CITP, CIS, CRP, president and CEO, Peerless PerformanceJesse Wolfersberger, chief data officer, Maritz MotivationJeffrey Brenner, director, special markets, Seiko Watch of AmericaBrett Hatch, senior director of global corporate gifts, Maui JimMike McWilliams, vice president, client and product strategy, MotivActionBill Warshauer, vice president of sales, Hawk IncentivesRob Adams, president and CEO, Bishop-McCann; and Casey Eply, director of reward experience, Maritz Motivation -- to share their insights.

What is the biggest incentive trend that you foresee?

Tina Gunn Weede: The purpose for incentives is broadening. We are now including associates outside of sales channels, and executives are realizing incentives play a positive role in promoting a culture aligned with well-defined core values. We call this "next generation" incentives: The goal is to create an emotional connection with those who represent your brand. Financial gain is not the driving force.

Jesse Wolfersberger:   Data collaboration. Right now, there are often walls between brands and incentive companies sharing data, but they mostly exist out of habit. I think these are beginning to come down. Incentive programs work better with more data, and the data that incentive programs generate has value to the brand.

Jeffrey Brenner:   Having the right reward mix of noncash options is critical to a successful program. Consumers are much more informed these days - they can find the latest on-trend, direct-to-consumer brands, especially in accessories (jewelry, watches, etc.) and luggage. Because the consumer has access to these things, the mix of what's offered needs to be relevant, updated and speak to the audience it's going to reach. If a program has a bunch of old, stodgy offerings, the company is defeating its incentive purpose. If it's going to be a coffeemaker, it has to be brand-new, high-tech and of keen interest to people.

Brett Hatch:   Personalized experiences. People want more tailored, memorable experiences, whether it's picking out their own glasses or choosing their own activities. They're saying, "I want to have memories the way I want my memories." You've heard about "engagement" for years; now it's "personal experience."

Read the full roundtable discussion at