The Incentive Insider | April 2020

by: Nichole Gunn April 2, 2020

Welcome to the Year-in-Review Issue!

Our Response & Policies Regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Let's kick off this update with the subject on everyone's minds right now: the coronavirus (COVID-19). With the recent increase of confirmed cases around the world, we wanted to ensure everyone we work with that Incentive Solutions is taking all precautions to safeguard the wellbeing of our clients and our employees.

Incentive Solutions’ leadership team has been reviewing the situation for the past few weeks and forming plans to focus on the following:

  • Customer and employee health and safety
  • Business continuity of Incentive Solutions operations and services
  • Education of proactive prevention practices for all employees
  • Monitoring of the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and other local sources for current status of the COVID-19 outbreak

Incentive Solutions has initiated our business continuity plan to ensure seamless operations for our customers.

  • Incentive Solutions has enacted 100% telecommuting capabilities for all staff, to protect the spread of an identified infection.
  • Our participant call center is functioning remotely and securely while supporting our services and our clients.
  • We are working closely with our vendors to ensure ongoing services as usual and communicate any delays to our clients and your participants.

COVID-19 Impact on Operations & Reward Redemptions

Below is an operations update on the current impacts of the coronavirus:

    • Merchandise Fulfillment - There are increasing delays in both the fulfillment and shipping of merchandise orders. Vendors have begun to extend the estimated ship date for items, and in some cases, items are being placed on backorder with estimated fulfillment dates of several months. For the majority of our vendors, items placed on backorder by the vendor will be kept open, unless the participant requests the item be cancelled due to the extended backorder.
    • Merchandise Shipping – Shipping companies are experiencing delays such as stalled shipments (i.e., a tracking number has been created but there is no movement of the shipment through the system) and delays at ports and other checkpoints. We will continue to update estimated ship dates according to the information made available by the vendors.
    • Events – Most events that were scheduled in March are being postponed. To date, cancellations have been minimal, but this may change as the effects of the coronavirus continue to spread.
    • Travel – Given the postponement and cancellation of events, meetings, and travel around the world, the volume of inquiries submitted to our organization and our travel service vendors has significantly risen. We are experiencing delays in obtaining responses and resolutions from our partners due to this increased volume. Please be assured we are working to address your concerns as quickly as possible. We have a strong commitment to our customers to provide excellent service and support.
    • As we continue to monitor the events from our government and local health experts, we will provide our customers, vendors, and employees updates as needed. We greatly appreciate your understanding and cooperation during this time. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at (866) 567-7432.

We Made These Resources for You!

Incentive Solutions wins Incentive Marketing Association Circle of Excellence award

We were so honored to receive this year's Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) Circle of Excellence Award for the sales incentive program we helped Michelin launch. We partnered with Michelin with a goal of helping them improve communication, increase engagement, and gain the support of their small dealer and small fleet segments. Here are the awesome results we birthed over a nine-month term:

Incentive Program FAQs

We love answering questions about incentives. We love it so much, we created a whole section of our website for it! In this FAQ fun-zone, we address all the most common questions we've gotten over the years. Why are non-cash rewards more effective than cash? What makes customers loyal to brands? How do incentives work? If these questions are keeping you up at night, don't worry—we've got answers.

Exceptional Ebooks

Worried our FAQs won't quench your thirst for knowledge? We have a library of all our ebooks, too! All available for free in PDF format, you'll find our Guide to a Successful Dealer Incentive Program, The BthruB Incentive Program Playbook, and our latest release: Incentive Program Secrets for Manufacturers. Go on, crack one open and get instantly smarter!


Top Redeemed Rewards of 2019

If you've been tracking our quarterly most-redeemed rewards lists, it will be no surprise to you which items came out on top.


Fandango Movie Tickets

Way to go, Fandango! These online movie tickets have proven to be the ultimate reward of the moment. They made up a whopping 29% of all 2019 reward redemptions. This data backs up something we always reinforce—you can keep large portions of your audience engaged and motivated even with small rewards.


Give it the Oscar—RedBox is the favored co-star of 2019 reward redemptions! Redbox rentals are quick, easy indulgences, which is exactly why so many incentive program participants want to spend points on the big, red movie vending machines.

Apple AirPods

Freedom was ringing in the ears of so many 2019 incentive program participants! They cut their earbud cords and joined the millions enjoying their music, podcasts, and audiobooks with wireless ease. New tech gadgets are always popular with participants, and this product's top spot is proof!

YETI Mugs/Coolers

Coffee mugs are boring gifts? We know thousands of participants who say otherwise! Whether treating themselves or getting gifts for others, 2019 incentive program participants absolutely loved the caffeine-warming, ice-preserving powers of YETI products.

Titleist Pro Golf Balls

Movies, coolers, AirPods, and golf balls? Incentive program participants know how to spend these reward point thingies on relaxing, rewarding activities. It's great to know that we help companies become part of their participants' lives, whether they're playing nine rounds with their son, enjoying a warm drink on a cold day, or watching a movie with the family.

The Communications Corner

We’re proud to say we achieved some pretty great results in 2019. Our average email click-through rates were 5X higher than industry averages, and our open rates were 2X higher! Hot dang! How did we do it? Here are just a few of our many strategies used in our 2019 campaigns.

How to Beat the Standard

  • We kept it simple and consistent. We created a baseline email template for our campaigns based on A/B testing responses. So far, we’ve learned that our audiences prefer emails with no more than two CTA buttons (one at the top and one below the hero image or body copy), a single hero image showcasing popular merchandise items, 3-5 lines of body copy, and a color scheme of primarily blues, oranges and greys. Sticking to these guidelines helped us keep those clicks and opens rolling in consistently.
  • We got personal. Rewards program participants love rewards and don't mind telling us about it, especially top earners who are heavily, happily invested in their redemption opportunities. So, for our 2019 Uniquely Yours (UY) Campaign, we called 10 participants with the most interesting 2018 UY redemptions and asked them to tell us their stories. Then, we re-created these redemption experiences using real testimonials and pictures of the participants in our campaign mailer and email to inspire other top point-earners with ideas for custom redemptions. As a result, 59.3% of the unique participants targeted made a redemption across all categories, some more than once!
  • We learned more about our audience. Our yearly Voice of the Participant Survey helps us improve the participants' experience with the rewards catalog. We also use it as a chance to know our participant audience better. This year, we asked participants to describe themselves using 1-3 words. Most described themselves as active, adventurous, compassionate, fun, and dedicated. We also collected great demographic data and found that our participants are 63% male and 35% female, between the ages 35-54, and their top interests are travel and vacation.

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Elite Performer of the Quarter: Daley Serpico

elite performer daley serpico

You Go, Serpico!

It’s safe to say, Daley was the superstar of 2019! She conquered goals, served as a lead support role for new accounts, and received a promotion, all while setting the standard for her department and the entire company. Daley is a fearless leader. She goes the extra mile, holds her teammates accountable, and has a high regard for keeping commitments. She takes it personally. Clients know her by name and trust her.

Vice President, Marketing and Creative Services, Nichole Gunn, says, “Daley has really become my right hand and someone I can always count on to get things done. I can't imagine working without her and I'm not sure I'd want to.” Wow – way to go, Serpico!

Star Performer of the Quarter: Noel Stogsdill

star performer noel stogsdill

There's No Stopping Noel!

What do you do when you have a not-so-small project to complete but you're fully engaged with operations and improvements? When you have someone like Noel on your team, you don't sweat it! "Having her join my team was like winning the lottery," says Renee Ivy, Director of Operations. "She not only meets expectations, but proactively works to improve all aspects of the role. She improves or enhances every task or process she's introduced to."

Thank you, Noel, for taking your work personally and bringing your entire, energetic self to your role!


Howdy, New Guys!

derek bambach product managerDerek Bambach
Product Manager
Derek was born and raised on a small island in the shadow of New York City. He left home in search of worldly adventures, but found himself in Atlanta. Over the years, he's earned academic degrees from Emory University, the University of West Georgia, and Georgia State University, as well as pursuing additional studies at the Parson’s School of Design and the Georgia Institute of Technology. When Derek is not working hard to contribute to Incentive Solutions’ success, he can be found in a theater, museum, concert hall, or art gallery. He’s a visual artist and photographer, art collector, basement workshop dweller, pet lover, and husband to his fabulous wife Dana. Frankly, my Derek, you rock!
adesuwa ogiamienAdesuwa Ogiamien
Account Coordinator
Adesuwa was raised in Mississippi, but has been a proud Atlantian since 2004. She attended Emory University, where she earned her B.A. in Political Science. Before joining the account management team, she worked as an Apple Store Genius and ran production for a Mural Arts Non-profit organization. When she’s not busy performing Celine Dion karaoke, you can find her playing video games or board games with friends. Fun fact: she is equally a cat and a dog person, and we respect that. We're so glad to have you aboard, Adesuwa!
Kunle OwolabiKunle Owolabi
Merchandise Redemption Specialist
Kunle graduated from Oakwood University with a B.S. in Biochemistry and is currently working toward his Masters of Science in Marketing Research & Analytics. Kunle is originally from Chicago, IL and comes to us with extensive experience in customer service. He loves to play basketball, racquetball, and volleyball and also composes and produces his own music of multiple genres. When he isn’t hard at work at the office, you can find him watching an occasional romantic comedy or sipping on a well-done mojito on the beach and enjoying the simpler things in life. We’re happy to have you Kunle!
Billy RileyBilly Riley
Multimedia Designer
Multimedia Designer by title, videographer at heart, we are happy to say we’ve landed a jack of all trades! Billy was born and raised in Roswell and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a degree in Multimedia Communications. Before joining his fellow creatives on the marketing team, he worked in the film industry as a Director’s Assistant and designer for a startup company. His other hobbies include filmmaking, photography, writing, and skiing. We’re excited to have you, Billy, and know you'll accomplish big things!

About Nichole Gunn

Nichole Gunn is the VP of Marketing at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that delivers advanced, agile B2B customer loyalty and channel sales incentives programs.