The Power of Personalized Incentives

Motivation Excellence

Why relevant, tailored incentives are more meaningful than cash.

Bonuses or cash incentives are supposed to be a lay-up – the easy, simple, way to encourage your salespeople, channel partners, or employees to reach their goals. But if that’s the core of your incentive program, you could be failing as you read this.

Not that there’s anything wrong with some extra money, it’s just that the impact is short-lived – the extra dollars either aren’t noticed on their paycheck, or simply seem to disappear quickly after they are received.

Don’t throw your money away on generic incentives.

So, you have to wonder: are cash rewards really the best performance motivator? Besides feeling a bit impersonal, research shows that people actually perform better and work harder for non-cash rewards. To understand why, just look in your wallet or on your smartphone. The smartest loyalty programs provide a proven model for successful non-cash rewards. How? It’s not just points-for-random-stuff anymore.

The world of “Big Data” has helped modern loyalty programs, from coffee shops to gas stations, tailor your reward options to reflect your specific preferences and purchase history. It’s personal, so there’s value not only to the reward itself, but to the overall feeling that the program “gets” you.

Brands like Starbucks have figured out that when you’re choosing from reward options that are relevant to you, you’re more likely to engage. But, how can this personalized approach work for your incentive program?

  • Get To Know Them: Learn what your people like, and use this information to surprise and delight them. Reward your showtunes buff with a weekend in NYC and a Broadway show, your gadget guy with the latest smarthome device, or your sports fanatic with a trip to the playoffs. This high-touch, highly personal approach takes time and effort (especially if you’re in a large organization or network), but is well worth it in terms of perceived value and relationship-building with your recipients. Knowing that they’ll be rewarded with something they love can be a great motivator.


  • Put Choice In Their Hands: Another, more manageable approach is to let your salespeople, channel partners, or employees choose – they can accrue points for performance and choose their own incentives from a catalog tailored to your organization. So, if your salesperson would prefer a weekend in Vegas or a Rolex over a $1,000 bonus, they can have it. This option also gives you more control while delivering relevance to your recipients.


  • Flexibility: Unlike cash incentives, when you opt for a non-cash reward system, you are free to change strategy as you see fit without it feeling like a pay cut to your recipients. They only see the end reward and perceived value, not the actual cost.


The point is, when rewards are relevant and personal, the value to your people is more than cash can touch. If you’d like to learn more about our non-cash reward options, contact us today.

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