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A monthly member communication of the Incentive Marketing Association.

August 2014

In this Issue

Industry Resources

Distributor Resources

Global Incentive Programs

Incentive/Recognition Case Studies

Incentive/Recognition Program Basics

Industry Suppliers/Products Search

Legal Considerations

Marketing Intelligence

Media Training

People Performance & Recognition


Return on Performance Magazine

Strategic Industry Groups of IMA

Global Incentive Council (GIC)

IMA Canada Council

IMA Europe Council

Incentive Manufacturers and Representatives Alliance (IMRA)

Incentive Gift Card Council (IGCC)

Incentive Travel Council (ITC)

Performance Improvement Council (PIC)

Recognition Council

Thank you to our 2014 Education Fund Sponsors

Research Sponsor

Platinum Sponsors

Recognition Sponsor

Diamond Sponsor

Emerald Sponsors
O.C. Tanner

Sapphire Sponsors
Above Target
Pioneer Balloon Company
Top Brands

Education Sponsor
Rymax, Inc.

IMA Welcomes New Members

Join IMA in welcoming your newest association colleagues.

(New Member Company)
Tim Snelgrove

(New Member Company)
Julie White

(New Member Company)
Heather Loftus

(New Member Company)
Rick Tetreault

(New Member Company)
John Short

Thank you to our
2014 Summit Sponsors


Premium Incentive Products



Letter From the President,
Rick Low

The last few weeks have been a blur for a variety of reasons. We have just had our 15th IMA Executive Summit in Philadelphia, city of brotherly love. What better place to come together as one, to Connect and Collaborate with friends, associates and customers within the Incentive arena. Regardless of your SIG or industry focus, it was two and a half days of education and networking that allowed conversations across multiple disciplines, expanding industry knowledge and contacts, to ultimately help the end user embrace, expand and maximize their use of incentive and recognition programs. And what better place to come together as a family, and honor and remember our matriarch, Karen Renk. Karen’s legacy should be about her enabling You and I to move the IMA forward.  Sean Roark has written an eloquent piece about Karen (see below), a must read.

Until we meet again as an association next July in Nashville, we have a lot to do. Here is just a brief idea of your Board’s scheduled activities over the next 12 months. We welcome and ask for your help at the Board Task Force and SIG level to reach new heights. The list of new board members is included in this Fast Take, and on the website Reach out to anyone of us to get involved.

First, we will look internally, at the association and how to better serve the Membership.  Prior to the Summit, your Board created the Summit Relevancy Task Force.  Spencer Toomey will chair the task force and look at all aspects of the Annual Summit to insure it is benefitting our entire membership. Sean Roark is chairing the AMRT, a task force charged with identifying how to improve the transition from AE, Karen Renk’s management company, to Ewald Consulting, to the benefit of all the SIGs and IMA. I will ask the board to create Task Forces focused on Membership, to make it an IMA and SIG joint initiative, as well as one focused on Communication to the membership and foster collaboration between SIGs. With that in mind, I will be asking SIG leadership to take over this space in future Fast Takes to provide an overview of their 2014/2015 initiatives since the IMA is the sum of its parts.

Externally, our mission will continue with the Task Forces currently engaged in critical tasks. You will begin to see new logos on the IMA site that are the result of the Brand Review and Enhancement Task Force. Our End User Task Force is in the process of determining how and when to engage the end user as an association, what the message will be, and how to get the word out.  The Trade Show Task Force is determining the optimal outreach opportunities that afford the IMA and our membership ideal exposure to new potential customers and users.  The Website Review and Revision Task Force is working on the shell and how to make the initial GO TO place for anything incentive and recognition related. Web visitors will then be directed to the best SIG source for their needs. The IMA is focused on SIGnificance, and driving business to our membership.

Our association is made up of passionate volunteers. A little bit of your time will go a long way to us achieving our goal of increasing the use of incentive and recognition programs in businesses, domestically and internationally. Please join us on this journey.

The Formation of IMA

By Norma Jean Knollenberg

It was early May, 1997, at the Incentive Show in New York City when Bob Jolley, Special Markets Associates, approached a few industry peers; Pete Erickson, Tom Leahy, Greg Canose, Wayne Roberts and Norma Jean Knollenberg and asked if we could meet at the AIM booth to discuss an idea he had.   Bob’s idea was to form just one association….one voice…that could market to corporate America and raise awareness about the use of incentives and recognition as a business strategy.

Prior to this small meeting, Bob had met with Pete Erickson, Managing Director of The Motivation Show in Chicago, to express his concern about the highly fragmented and ever churning association memberships.  For many years Hall-Erickson, The Motivation Show management company, generously collaborated with AIM (formerly NPSE) and IMRA in regards to: endorsement of the show; marketing efforts; and educational seminars at the show. With an eye on unification and alignment to common goals, Pete endorsed Bob’s idea and agreed to support this initiative.

After the initial meeting in New York, Karen Renk was contacted and asked if she would help organize a Steering Committee, facilitate the meetings and arrange the details. A committee was created of members from all entities of our industry; media, show management, IMRA, AIM, PPAI, AIGCS and association directors. The IMA began to take shape evolving from a number of smaller organizations that had been in existence for more than 50 years serving manufacturers, gift card suppliers, recognition companies and incentive-based travel organizations. The Steering Committee consisted of:  Roger Bensinger, Sharper Image; Rick Blabolil, Marketing Innovators; Richard Burke, Spiegel; Greg Canose, Award Marketing Service; Peter Edmunds, Incentive Magazine; Pete Erickson, The Motivation Show; Vicki Greenlees; Howard Henry, AIM/Incentive Federation; Bill Hicks, Oneida; Don Jagoda, Don Jagoda Company; Bob Jolley, Special Markets Associates; Norma Jean Knollenberg, Top Brands; Tom Leahy, Motivation Representatives; William Looney, Stylemaster; Dave Mann, Professional Marketing Associates; Scott Markman, Faribo Woolen Mills; Mike Murrell, Lakewood Publications; Harold Nash; Donna Oldenburg, Incentive Magazine;  Karen Renk, IMRA; Wayne Roberts, Pioneer Balloon; Frank Roffers, Gift Certificate Center; Jeff Strayer, Special Markets; and Mary Jo Welch, Bernard.

Karen suggested that IMA be formed in the same way the American Medical Association is formed. IMA would become the umbrella association and under that structure there would be Strategic Industry Groups (SIGs), i.e., IMRA, Association of Incentive Gift Card Suppliers, etc. Each SIG would retain its own identity under this structure but, collectively, we would have a powerful voice.

The Steering Committee met several times near the Chicago O’Hare airport before we were ready to launch. It became very obvious that we needed a strong Executive Director to take this vision and turn it into a reality, and so Karen Renk was elected as IMA’s Executive Director. The journey was set in motion, Pete Erickson was the fuel and Karen was the engine that took the incentive industry into the future.

Karen was the guiding light for IMA. With a background in education, she had an innate ability to bring the best out in everyone and in every group. She embraced the vision, became “the voice” for the incentive industry’s welfare, was a consummate unifier and was an integral part of lobbying efforts on behalf of the industry. Her focus was growing the industry and creating the place for end-user companies to find suppliers in the incentive industry; and to educate the corporate world on the benefits of using incentives and tangible recognition.

IMA expanded under Karen’s leadership. The organization has nearly 600 members and supplier companies that come from all over the world. There are eight SIGs under the IMA umbrella: the Global Incentive Council (GIC); the Incentive Gift Card Council (IGCC); the Incentive Manufacturers & Representatives Alliance (IMRA); the Incentive Travel Council (ITC); the Performance Improvement Council (PIC); the Recognition Council (RC); and two international SIGs, IMA-Canada Council and IMA-Europe Council. 

Karen recently wrote:  “The Incentive Federation’s recent study tells us that too many organizations are not accessing the incentive marketplace to tap into the professional expertise, service and customized product it offers. This dynamic is the next big challenge. The corporate community is aware of the power of incentives and recognition; IMA and our fellow associations can now bring more value to our members by focusing on why accessing the incentive arena and your professional experience and knowledge will yield better results than buying product at retail to use in a poorly or non-structured program. This is a natural and necessary evolution in our purpose.”

As a visionary, Karen foresaw the rising applications of social recognition, mobile technology and global diversity. The various groups/councils currently address the natural evolution of the organization in a complex and ever changing environment. But, we have been and continue to be inspired by a woman that led her family and an industry with grace, wisdom and passion. She will be missed, but forever remembered.

I think we have our marching orders! The recent IMA Summit in Philadelphia was about collaboration… we can, collectively, deliver a broad base of services to solve our customers’ needs. One voice…..IMA.

Thanks to Rick Blabolil, Greg Canose and Bob Jolley for contributing.

In Memory of Karen Renk

By Sean Roark

As with most associations or other congregations of like-purposed individuals, there are times when we acknowledge the contributions and lifework of our heroes, those who have made a substantial difference to the causes we hold dear. Karen Renk was not just one of the heroes of the Incentive Marketing Association—she was the standard by which our heroes are measured.

Karen was the only Executive Director that the IMA knew from its founding in 1999, up until her retirement last year. For years before that, she managed a group called the Incentive Manufacturers and Representatives Alliance (which would later elect in 2002 to become a Strategic Industry Group, “IMRA”, as a critical part of IMA’s incentive industry mix). For all that time, she brought her Association Management skills, deeply-routed foundation of industry knowledge and art of gentle and not-so-gentle persuasion to bear in forming, nurturing and guiding our association into a position of professional respect and integrity it enjoys today. From her graduation from The University of Wisconsin in 1971, Karen was a teacher, from Junior High students to University Scholars, and ultimately to a widely diverse group of incentive professionals. She taught us how to work together, and why the things that came between different channels in our industry were not as important as the things that drew us together. How like it of Karen to delay passing into eternity until many of us were congregated together at the Summit last week, in a space where we could share our sadness over losing her and the blessing of having had her in our lives.

Karen leaves behind a family of two grandkids, three children and an adoring husband.  Those of us that can will share a time celebrating her with that family on Saturday, August 16th at a visitation at 9:00 am and an 11:00 am funeral mass at St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church, 8 South 055 Dugan Road, Sugar Grove, IL 60554.

Karen also leaves behind a family of associates, members, but most of all friends, at the IMA. Those friends have established a permanent award in her honor, the Karen Renk Excellence Award to be awarded (along with underwriting of fees for professional advancement and education within IMA) annually to a member of IMA demonstrating high potential and dedication to the principals of the IMA that Karen steered for so many years. Even as we hope to honor Karen with this award, we believe that (as is often true of incentives), the gifts and plaque associated with this award will pale in comparison to the underlying acknowledgement—the recipient being honored by association with Karen’s memory and greatness. Members who wish may contribute to the Karen Renk Excellence Award Fund by directing a payment to IMA designated for that purpose.

Karen’s gifts to all of us will be with us for years to come, perhaps surviving those of us who survive her. Being professionals in the science of acknowledgement, we wanted to take this moment to thank her.

Welcome 2014-2015 Board Members


Richard Low      
Executive Vice President
Donna Chrobak, IP

Vice President
Spencer Toomey, CPIM

Sean Roark, CPIM              

Pete Mitchell

Past President
Louise Anderson, CPIM   


Heather Abbott

John Hornbogen 

Susan Adams, CPIM

Shaun Krusmark (IGCC)     

Beau Ballin  

Mike Landry, IP 

Kimberly A. Carrette
CANON U.S.A., Inc.

Bill Martocci (IMRA)

Heidi Chatfield, CPIM  

Mike Ryan 
Andrew Dodge, CPIM

Sean Wilkinson 

Kevin Dougherty (IMRA) (thru 9/14)

Joe Zanone 

Brian Dunne, IP   

President's Award

Rodger Stotz, Chief Research Officer of The Incentive Research Foundation was awarded the 2014 IMA President’s Award at the 2014 Annual Executive Summit in Philadelphia, PA.

A speaker, author and business consultant to major corporations, Rodger Stotz is the Chief Research Officer for the Incentive Research Foundation. He is also a member of the Board of the Enterprise Engagement Alliance, and a Principal with Delta Qi Consulting, following a 30 year career in human resources, incentive program design, and sales management. His expertise in the integration of marketing science and human performance technology has informed his interest, research, and practical experience in the field of organizational performance, incentive plans, and recognition systems.

Rodger’s writings, in addition to his many articles, include authoring the chapter on Recognition for the Handbook of Executive Compensation, co-author of Principles of Results Based Incentive Program Design, co-author of the chapter on Non-monetary Awards for The Compensation Handbook, and white papers such as: Human Performance, The Fundamentals of Motivation, and The Evidence-based Case for Incentives

Rodger's support of the IMA includes support and membership in the formation of the PIC SIG, and co-author and facilitator of the initial certification course for the CPIM.  He has also received top reviews fo his presentations at the IMA Executive Summit and the Motivation Show. 

2014 IMA Executive Summit Recap

Thanks to everyone who attended the 2014 Annual Summit.  The program this year was outstanding. Thanks also to our many volunteers who helped put this year’s program together.  Click here for a look at the handouts from each of the sessions.

If you attended the Summit and have not completed the evaluation survey please complete by August 20th. This will help next year’s planning committee, chaired by Donna Chrobak.

Mark your calendars for the 2015 Annual Summit for July 26-28, 2015 in Nashville, TN.

Thank You to Our 2014 Summit Sponsors

IMA would not be able to hold the Annual Summit if it wasn’t for the generous support of our Summit sponsors. Once again we thank the following companies for their generosity.

Summit Journal Books  

Summit Journal Books Donated by

Attendee Gift Bags

Attendee Gift Bags Donated by

Attendee Badges 

Silent Auction

Photo Station

Keynote Address

Attendee Texts

Sunday Reception

Monday and Tuesday Reception

Monday Networking Lunch

Monday Breakfast

Monday Refreshment Break

Media Sponsors
Premium Incentive Products

Circle of Excellence Winners

The 2014 Circle of Excellence Winners were honored during the Annual Membership Meeting on Tuesday, July 29th in Philadelphia, PA. The four awards were presented to:

  • Employee Engagement Recognition Winner
    Solterbeck and Schweppes Australia for the “Schhhwepic” program
  • Dealer Distributor Program
    Synchro Marketing Australia and Bayer Animal Health for the “Bayer Accelerate – Learn, Grow, Reward” program
  • Consumer/Offer/Branding
    CashStar/Regal Entertainment Group/Aéropostale for the “Regal/Aéropostale Cross-Brand Initiative” program
  • Honorable Mention
    Creative Group, Inc. for the “Excelevate” Program
Video presentations describing each program are available on the IMA website. Case studies will also be posted on the website soon.

Congratulations CPIM and IP Designees

The following individuals earned their CPIM in the past 12 months:

  • Susan Adams
  • Jody Running
  • Spencer Toomey
  • Robert Ward

The following individuals earned their IP in the past 12 months:

  • Kara Hoover      
  • Patrick Mahon
  • Amadeu Martire
  • Bruna Marques de Lima
  • Mike May
  • Tim Richter
  • David Roark
  • Leslie Roark
  • Mark Robinson
  • Ricardo Rodriquez
  • Kimberley Russelle
  • Rhonda Sunnarburg

The 2014 Travel Advocate of the Year Award presented to David Peckinpaugh

The Incentive Travel Council (ITC) has named David Peckinpaugh, president of Maritz Travel Co., Fenton, Missouri, as its 2014 Advocate of the Year. The award was presented at the Executive Summit July 27 in Philadelphia. Accepting the Award in David’s behalf was Mary Anne Zoldak, Vice President of Human Resources, Maritz Travel Company.

This marks the fifth Advocate of the year Award presented by the ITC, a strategic industry group within the IMA. It recognizes an individual, business, or organization that demonstrates outstanding leadership in enhancing, educating, and/or promoting incentive travel as a value driver for achieving organizational performance.

ITC President Don Killingbeck said, “David was chosen for this honor because he has led the charge, ushering in a new era in an industry coalition effort that came to the aid of our market during the heights of media, political, and public scrutiny. And, in his daily work, David’s highest priority has always been assuring that incentive travel guests have an exciting and memorable experience.”

Peckinpaugh joins Leo Jakobson of Northstar Travel Media, Dana Weaver of GROWMARK, Dahlton Bennington of the SFN Group, G.J. Hart of the Texas Roadhouse Restaurant as Advocate of the Year winners.

Trade Shows Calendar

  • NEW 2014 Incentive Buyers Conference (IBC)
    The Incentive Buyers Conference (IBC) will take place August 17-19, 2014 at the Vdara Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas. The hosted buyer show will focus on educating incentive industry buyers as well as providing them with opportunities to meet with suppliers from the merchandise and gift card industries. Showcase your products and book real business at the Incentive Buyers Conference. Meet one-on-one with pre-qualified buyers and show them what you have to offer. Participation includes:

Register for the IMRA Marketing Conference

Join IMRA and help
celebrate 50 years
at the
2014 Annual IMRA Marketing Conference
September 14-16, 2014
Minneapolis, MN

Register Today

There are only five weeks until IMRA’s Sales & Marketing Conference kicks off. You do not have to be a member to attend. So rep, if you want your non-suppliers to attend, please invite them and if they sign up you can get $100 rebate. Same goes for the suppliers that have non-IMRA reps, invite them to the conference and if they sign up, you too get $100 from IMRA. (The catch with the $100 referral fee, they must put your name in the recommended by line, but by doing this you both get a $100 rebate.)    

Dates:  September 14–16, 2014

Location: Marriott City Center
The Minneapolis Marriott City Center is ranked in the top 10 percent of US hotels in 2013 by Trip Advisor and is just one block from Nicollet Mall (outside mall with great restaurants and shops). 

Reserve Your Hotel Room Soon!

A block of rooms have been reserved at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center specifically for IMRA at special discounted rate of $169/night. Reservations must be received on or before 5pm on Friday, August 15, 2014 to receive the discounted rate (after this date the rate will go up significantly).

Hotel Reservations: (800) 228-9290
(please reference IMRA when calling reservations
to receive special room rate)

Hotel Booking Link: Book your group rate online: IMRA 2014 Marketing Conference >>

Click herefor the Schedule-at-a-Glance

Click here to register online for the conference.

Click here to see a list of the sales meeting being held.

We are also looking for Silent Auction items. If you would like to help IMRA by donating an auction item, click here to donate your item and upload the image online.  

We look forward to seeing you at the IMRA Sales & Marketing Conference.

Incentive Marketing Association
9700 W Bryn Mawr Avenue, Suite 210
Rosemont, IL 60018
P: 847.447.1082