Educaation Blast Header
A monthly member communication of the Incentive Marketing Association.

November 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 Company Member
Andre Chernih

Jonathan Feifs

Dean Seifert



Letter From the IMA President, Rick Low

Alphabet Soup.  GIC, IMA, IGCC, IMRA, ITC, PIC, RC, SIG……………

The Recognition Council’s President, Cindy Mielke, takes the spot light this month to explain what the RC is and how it fits into the Incentive Marketing Association. I am sure that you will gain a little more insight into our diversity and common goals.

There were a couple of takeaways for me from Cindy’s article:

  • White Papers: The RC and other SIGs produce and publish white papers for the benefit of their constituency and the IMA membership.  There is a host of research available for any visitor to under the Research & Resources tab.  Several white papers can be found at,, and You can use these resources to expand your knowledge of incentives and to share with customer as you advocate the use of incentives and recognition programs.
  •  “brand is ‘what your customers think of you’ and culture is ‘what your employees think of you’” – this came from the white paper Cindy references. IMA members are not IMA employees, but each of us has the ability to cultivate the culture within our association to deliver a positive brand experience internally by working in unison with other members to advocate the use of incentives externally.  I am very encouraged with the collaboration taking place on our many task forces between members with different perspectives working towards a common goal. If you are not currently involved in a task force, volunteer by reaching out to me.

Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving. Travel safe.

Rick Low
Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc.


Message from the Recognition Council President,
Cindy Mielke

Dear IMA Friends and Colleagues,

I appreciate the opportunity Rick Low is giving to each Strategic Industry Group (SIG) within the IMA to share with all of you how we contribute to the overall success of the IMA and its members. Having served as the IMA president in 2005, I know how important all the SIGs are to the success of the organization. I was part of the IMA Board in the early days of the association so I remember discussions about the value of the SIGs to help IMA achieve member growth and serve all segments of our industry beneath one large mission: to advocate for and promote the use of incentives and recognition to improve business performance.

As President of the Recognition Council (RC) this year, I would like share a little about who we are and what we are about. The RC was formed to provide awareness of how recognition and rewards, in their many forms, are part of an effective strategy for achieving better business performance. We focus on educating and promoting the benefits of recognition and rewards to our members and to the business community. We held a well-attended panel at the IMA Summit about how recognition and incentives are a critical part of employee engagement programs. Each year, we produce a white paper for member use and release it for distribution to the corporate community. Check it out here:

The RC embraces companies who both supply awards and strategic recognition solutions to their clients. That means that members of almost every other SIG within the IMA could be a member of the RC if they supply awards or solutions or both for company recognition initiatives. For example, my friends in the Incentive Gift Card Council (IGCC) know firsthand that their gift cards are a top award item in employee recognition programs. It may seem like a tremendous opportunity for us that all of you could join the RC but the reality is that most of us have day jobs and find one or maybe two SIGs that best suit our needs due to time constraints, etc.

What our Board has examined this year is how to either collaborate with other SIGs or refresh the focus of our SIG so we can grow. I can’t share too many details about what is being discussed at this point but it’s an exciting time to consider possibilities to reach out around us and find ways to expand our audience. So that’s what our dedicated Board is focused on this year and I’m so grateful to them for their leadership and support.

Shaun and Bill both shared a quote with you so I’ll share one of mine that fits our beloved IMA and its SIGs from Henry Ford, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” Please feel free to reach out to me and have a great holiday season!

Best wishes,

Cindy Mielke, CPIM
Marketing Innovators
Recognition Council President, 2014

Wounded Warrior Project Holiday Gift Drive

The 2014 Holiday Gift Drive for Wounded Warrior Project is underway. To date a total of $32,735 in merchandise and gift cards has been received. Thanks to the following companies for their donations.

Diamond Level ($2,500+)
Great Lakes Scrip Center
National Gift Card               
Royal Performance Group           

Platinum ($1,000-$2,499)
All Star Incentive Marketing
Buca di Beppo
Continental Premium Corp.
Jura Inc.
L.L. Bean
Omaha Steaks                 

Gold ($500-$999)
Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa
Hallmark Business Connections               
Patriot Marketing Group/Foot Locker Gift Card Sales    
Regal Entertainment Group       
TJX Incentive Sales, Inc.                

Silver ($100-$499)
AMC Special Markets
Bass Pro Shops
Canon USA, Inc.
DineEquity, Inc.
Game Stop Inc.
Premium Incentive Products     
Rymax Marketing Services
Sharp Incentives
Spafinder Wellness Inc.                
Taco Bell              
Value Pay Services (aka Subway)
Vera Bradley               
Bronze ($50-$99)
LGK Sales             

The deadline for merchandise is December 5th. The deadline for gift cards December 19th.

Below is a link to each of the SIG Gift Drive Donation Forms – please print and complete in full and include along with your donation.

If your donated item(s) weigh more than 20lbs – please email Rachel Della a couple of days before you ship your donation at You will receive a thank you letter from WWP about 4 weeks after your donation.

Thanks to all members for your generosity and consideration.

Rory Smith
Holiday Gift Drive Committee Chair

NEW IMA Logo to stimulate greater end user interest and purchases from the IMA members

New IMA and SIG’s logos have been approved that will enable end users to better understand where to go to contact expert resources for their incentive needs.


The November 2013 Strategic Planning Committee comprised of our future leaders representing every Strategic Industry Group came together to lay out the pathway for a new updated direction for the IMA and all its members. The goal of the strategic planning Committee is to advance the mission of the IMA and to increase the use of incentives by corporations worldwide and to establish the IMA and all its members, no matter what SIG they belong to, as the experts. The Strategic Plan was approved by your board of directors in February 2014.

The Strategic Plan called for a more appropriate branding that would enable the end customer to better understand what IMA and all the SIG’s could do to assist them and their businesses. READ MORE>>

Support the IMA Education Foundation – Become a Sponsor for 2015!

Your sponsorship helps support the IMA mission and education at our Annual Summit.  IMA’s Education Foundation Partnerships offer you a cost-effective opportunity to position your organization as an industry leader and an industry advocate while you are helping IMA fund ground breaking industry research, education, and industry awareness initiatives, all designed to increase the use of incentive, ultimately increasing your sales.

In addition to supporting IMA, Education Foundation Partners realize valuable marketing benefits. All Education Foundation Partners will be identified in IMA’s 2015 membership directory, the Incentive Source, the industry’s best networking tool, and in IMA’s online directory available at In addition, each Partner will receive a special logo to display on their Website recognizing their contribution.

Your logo will also be displayed on the rotating banner on the home page of and in marketing collateral communicating new research findings.  

Click here for a full list of benefits. Please let Julie Weldon know by December 31, 2014 if you would like to join our list of sponsors.

Industry News

Sales & Marketing Management Unites Two IMA Sigs against a Common Enemy

SMM’'s Jan/Feb issue will promote buying merchandise and gift cards for incentive, recognition and loyalty programs through either the IMRA or IGCC distribution channels rather that at retail.

The issue features IMRA’s Annual Special Section and Directory as well as a focus on gift card brands and products in the issue’s “Incentive Product Review” feature.

“This unique, side-by-side editorial coverage of both incentive product categories in one issue provides our corporate end-user readers an opportunity to see the features and benefits of each category, the beneficial alternatives to not buying at retail – including online – and how products from both categories might be integrated in programs,” according to Publisher Mike Murrell.

In addition to being published in the Jan/Feb issue, IMRA’s Directory will be a free-standing component on SMM’s home page for a full year. The IGCC runs a similar Special Section and Directory in SMM’s Jul/Aug issue which is also online for a year.
IGCC member companies seeking product coverage in the issue are encouraged to contact Paul Nolan, Editor, at or 763. 350.3411.

IMRA members seeking details on the Special Section and Directory can contact Lori Gardner, Account Executive, 952.451.6228,

The issue closes December 1.

Trade Shows Calendar

  • CES- Consumer Electronics Show
    January 6-9, 2015, Convention Center and World Trade Center, Las Vegas, NV

  • ASI Show Orlando- Advertising Specialty Institute
    January 4-6, 2015, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL

  • PPAI
    January 13-15, 2015, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

    January 20-23, 2015, Sands Expo Center, Las Vegas, NV

  • PGA Merchandise Show- Professional Golfers Association Merchandise Show
    January 21-23, 2015, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL

Click here for more dates.

Latest Research

White Paper – India: Emerging Market

The GIC presented India: An Emerging Market for Incentives at the 2014 Summit in July. If you were not able to attend, please check out the white paper Incentives in India: A Coming of Age on the GIC website. With India estimated to become the world’s most populous country by 2025, the paper outlines current factors that make one of the most populous and youngest countries in the world today a prime environment for the expansion of modern rewards and recognition programs. 

Congratulations New IGCC Board Members

At the IGCC membership meeting, November 3 in Las Vegas, the IGCC announced their new board of directors. Also approved at the membership meeting was a change in their Bylaws for the terms of office to expire in July, to coincide with the IMA terms of office. The IGCC will hold their annual membership meeting at the IMA Summit and new directors will now assume office immediately following the Summit. Below are the newly elected directors and officers.

Shaun Krusmark
Transaction Wireless
Executive Vice President
Betsi Bowman
Vice President of Education
Ella Yanai
Gap, Inc.
Director of Membership
Anne Jetter, Director of Membership
GiftCertificates . com
Past President
Alex Calicchio
C2 Consulting Services, LLC
Directors at Large  
Susan Gray
Hallmark Business Connections
Nicole Willis Hardey
Groupon, Inc.
Bradford Robinson
Kim Sobasky
Buffalo Wild Wings
Benita White
Dineequity, Inc.


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