And The Winner Is…

By Malcolm Fleschner

When the editors at Incentive Magazine set out to identify the best incentive programs of the year they used three main criteria. The contest creators had to demonstrate an in-depth and complete knowledge of the target population, understand clearly what they hoped to achieve and know precisely how they planned to reward that achievement. To these criteria was added one final dimension – creativity in program design and application.

For the winner in the sales incentive category, Incentive Magazine chose a program run by the Atlanta-based incentive house USMotivation. Working with a Fortune 500 technology solutions manufacturer, USMotivation’s regional manager Scott Siewert was tasked with finding a way to put a new, exciting spin on the company’s traditional sales incentive trip to Hawaii.

"How do you motivate a crowd that’s been there, done that?" Siewert told Incentive. "I submit that you do that by selling a dream of where they can be and then making that dream larger than life through good promotions and communications. That’s the key."

For the award-winning solution Siewert created a program called Hawaii 0-Five, a play on the title of the 60s TV show, Hawaii Five-0, with a subtheme of Haha Hou Maui, which translates to one more time Maui in Hawaiian. Sales team participants could visit a dedicated Website to monitor their progress and explore the reward’s features, including the hotels and activities winners would enjoy. Siewert also made sure to maintain program awareness among team members by sending regular emails with updates and encouragement.

"It was a promotional Website in that it hyped the destination," Siewert said. "The client saw that using the Web and sending out emails to keep the program top-of-mind would be important, and we accomplished that through the Website.

In the age-old debate between open-ended programs with an unlimited number of winners and closed-ended programs with the number of winners specified ahead of time, which side did Siewert choose? Why both, naturally. Any number of participants were eligible for the trip as a member of the Master’s Circle, but only the top 10% gained entry to the exclusive Circle of Excellence.

Stellar design is all well and good, of course, but only if it produces bottom-line results. That’s just what USMotivation’s client received. Not only were sales figures 12.9% higher compared to the previous year, but the program also registered an unprecedented number of attendees, nearly double the forecasted total of 225.

In fact this last unexpected result forced Siewert and his colleagues at USMotivation to scramble to find accommodations for all the winners during Maui’s busy late-February season. "We ended up having people in five different hotels. We had to move the awards banquet to another hotel. Then we finished up the ceremony at the original hotel, the Four Seasons Resort Maui," Seiwert told Incentive. "We had to come up with some creative twists to make this all happen. In the end everything was wonderful, but it took a lot of thought and planning to make it happen."