The main differences between an incentive and a reward programme

The challenge of any HR, Sales or Marketing department is how to motivate their employees or sales partners better. In order to reach the business objectives (faster) and to achieve the strategic company goals, which will help realise their long term vision and mission. Business objectives could be to increase customer loyalty, grow turnover, rise customer share of wallet, …

So which type of motivational programme should you use to help achieve these company goals? Here are some main differences between an incentive and a reward programme which you have to take into account:


  1. Past or future?
    Besides a strong internal communication strategy, companies can reinforce this challenge with an incentive or reward programme. An incentive programme will help them achieve a future goal such as 95% customer satisfaction if they now are at 90%. A reward programme gives employees or partners an appreciation when a goal or a unique performance or event has been met.
  2. Points or non-points based?
    An match pointincentive programme is points based and a reward programme is non-points based. In the first case input on targets or KPI’s is required. Either input on KPI’s is being uploaded into an incentive platform (file or automated database connections) or the employee/sales partner fills in their own results in an online (preferably) standardised form. Targets always need to be quantifiable (e.g. customer satisfaction %, speed of picking up a customer call, the response rate on offers, …) and in line with the goals an employee or sales partner needs to achieve within his department or subsidiary. Logically sales driven employees or partners will have more sales related targets than e.g. somebody from accounting.
    A reward programme is less complex and has a shorter duration period (e.g. end-of-yeargift, quality label earned, years of service, …).  It doesn’t need a regular update of results and can also be organized quite fast. Mostly people only log in once into an incentive platform, choose an incentive and log out again.
  3. Cash or non-cash?Wolf-of-Wallstreet-585x370
    The advantage of both type of programmes is that the motivational and psychological effect lasts longer than purely rewarding with cash. Once people receive money on their bank account, they mostly have already forgotten about it.

My experience is that Sales and Marketing Directors use incentive programmes more than HR directors. For the latter we mostly role out Reward programmes due to the simplicity of them and the easy link with important milestones that a person has achieved.

More info?

Check out the ‘How to set up a successful incentive programme?‘ presentation to help reach business objectives better and faster with hands-on tips and tricks on:

  • improving performance
  • motivational models
  • incentive programme design models
  • successful steps and key challenges
  • incentive programme possibilities.

About SwingGroup

I&MWinnerSwingGroup is a Benelux-based incentive marketing agency that specialises in B2B and B2B2C incentive and loyalty programs.  Its clients include BMW, Coca-Cola, Electrolux, GE, Insites, KBC, Philips, Q8, Samsung, Solucious, Tech Data, Thomas Cook, Truvo, USG, Unilever, Unilin, Vaillant, and others. It offers a comprehensive solution from set-up of an incentive platform, to supporting integrated communication, to fulfilment of the incentives (more than 300,000 gifts and 300 gift vouchers available in real time). The Motisha incentive management and reward platform, which was developed in-house, is the heart of business.

Contact information

Everaert Gunther – Managing Director – – Tel: +32 50 50 24 64
Twitter: @swinggroup – @swinggift – @gunar2


De heilige drievuldigheid: Acquisitie – Retentie – Rewarding

Knappe vergelijking tussen Acquisitie en Retentie met ‘liefde op het eerste gezicht’. Om nooit meer te vergeten 😉

Loyal Cus-thomas

Social engineering conceptAcquisitie, retentie en rewarding zijn drie termen die absoluut onontbeerlijk zijn in een goed retentiebeleid. Alleen kennen en denken nog velen dat het begint en eindigt bij de eerste term: Acquisitie. Deze personen moet ik helaas teleurstellen! Want zij zullen waarschijnlijk heel veel geld en inspanningen zien verloren gaan. Het verhaal stopt niet bij acquisitie maar begint daar pas. In deze blog wil ik even mijn licht laten schijnen op deze begrippen en vooral aantonen dat het ene eigenlijk niet zonder het andere kan. De drie moeten opgeteld worden om één geheel te vormen.

Wat is acquisitie?

Voor iemand die niets kent van marketing verdient acquisitie wel even een kleine toelichting.

Simpel gezegd, is acquisitie de inspanning/poging die je onderneemt om iemand iets te laten kopen of te doen. Meestal wordt er hierbij ook nog een onderscheid gemaakt tussen warme en koude acquisitie. Warme acquisitie betekent dat je je…

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Why in 2014 the digital gift voucher will be the incentive success formula!

Remember those days, not even so long ago, that an incentive program used to consist of a nice brochure with nice incentives neatly designed, with required points to order? A brochure distributed face-to-face or by direct mailing and in a later phase by e-mailing?

Remember the tough task finding those spot-on products which last the whole campaign, motivating everyone, preferably not dropping in price, not running out of stock and not changing in model? Remember not being sure if by the end of your campaign, your catalogue would meet the needs of your target audience during the whole incentive campaign. Stimulating them to achieve your goals more quickly?

New millennium, new opportunities

Luckily, as from the beginning of the last decade, online incentive and loyalty platforms came along. Not only helping you to be more flexible in creating a tailor-made incentive catalogue, but also keeping you up with new trends or new products during your incentive campaign. The only downfall  was, that even though you could show more products in more gift categories and even though you could measure the interest in those products presented, you could still miss out on nice incentives inspiring your target audience. No wonder that, as from the mid 2000’s, gift vouchers entered  the arena. Spicing up the incentive offer of physical products and giving you more liberty to really motivate everyone with the right incentive at the right time.

Slowly but surely gift vouchers became, especially when the crisis began in 2008, an integral part of most incentive campaigns, because of two important factors.  First of all because of speed, participants are being incentivized with a faster delivery, so between 3 to 10 delivery days could easily be saved. Secondly by saving between 50 to 80% on the delivery cost.

2014 the year of the digital gift voucher

Digital Voucher

Two evolutions have arisen that will make the digital voucher the success formula in 2014 for many incentive programs. With the rise of smartphones, tablets and the speed of the internet a new sense of interaction is required to satisfy the needs of the modern homo incentivis:

–          The  cash on the nail principle: the faster you can reward people the faster they will go for their next target;

–          Many digital touch points offering maximum reach in which the digital voucher can be easily distributed such as e-mail, downloadable pdf, scan code and digital wallet;

–          For the company an instant digital reward means another 1 to 3 business days delivery time profit and also another 50 to 100% on delivery cost savings .

A second evolution is the market pressure which the classical brick and mortar retailers are facing. Not only are they under fire of consumers consuming less due to the crisis. But they are also under pressure because of the online webshops fastly gaining market share. Therefore they are looking for and are open to means reaching a new target audience with a minimum of investment. Thus discovering the new potential of b2b target audiences.

Great opportunities for incentive marketing professionals

This evolution offers great opportunities for all actors involved in incentive and loyalty programs. Retailers can, through one strong b2b incentive platform such as Motisha, reach many different (new) target groups in different countries in one movement. Companies are, for the first time, able to minimise their incentive costs and maximise their return on motivation. And finally Incentive marketing companies can focus on the overall incentive strategy and value adding supporting services instead of more operational time consuming issues.

Therefore I proudly announce the digital gift voucher as the opportunity of 2014 in the incentive industry!

Inspirational greetings

Gunther Everaert
Managing Director of SwingGroup
IMA Europe Board Member –

Gunther EveraertGunther Everaert is the Managing Director and Founder of SwingGroup, the incentive marketing market leader in Benelux. He has strategically advised and developed integrated incentive marketing solutions for Fortune 500 clients such as BMW, Coca-Cola, GE, Philips and Unilever.  He has spoken at trendsetting conferences such as Digital Marketing First and HRM Masterclass e-recruitment, given interviews on Belgian national radio and is a regular guest lecturer at Ghent university.