Showing posts from January, 2012

Federal Income Tax Benefit For Safety Programs

Did you know there is a $400 tax benefit, per employee, available to safety programs and years of service programs?

Employees can receive up to $400 tax free every year as long as it's through an organized plan and their award is in the form of merchandise. Cash, stock, gift cards, travel, etc do not qualify. For more information read this document created for the Incentive Marketing Association.

By George Delta, Esq., Advisor to IMA
January 2000

Section 274(j) of the Internal Revenue Code, enacted by the Tax Reform Act of 1986, provides, in general, that an employer may deduct the cost of employee achievement awards given to the same employee up to $400.00 in any year. If the incentive awards are employee achievement awards made under one or more established written plans or programs of the employer, the $400 deduction limitation is increased to $1,600.00 per employee.

Under Code section 74(c), however, the same awards are not included in the income of the employee. In addition to…

Basic Cake Balls

This is a fun recipe to make for any party, but don't over do it. If you try to double the recipe you may never want to make these ever again.
Yield: 48 balls
Ingredients18.25 ounce box cake mix9 by 13 inch cake panLarge mixing bowl16-ounce container ready-made frostingLarge metal spoonWax paper2 baking sheetsPlastic wrap32 ounces (2 pounds) candy coating (Welton is good and at Michaels)Deep, microwave safe plastic bowllollipop sticksResealable plastic bag or squeeze bottle (optional)Syrofoam block for placing finished cake ballsCake decorations, sprinkles, etc.
InstructionsBake the cake as directed on the box, using a 9 by 13 inch pan. Let cool completely. Once the cake is cooled, get organized and set aside plenty of time (at least an hour) to crumble, roll and dip 4 dozen cake ballsCrumble the cooled cake into a large mixing bowl. You should not see any large pieces of cake.Add three-quarters of the container of frosting. (You will not need the remaining frosting.) M…

What Is A Consumer Premium?

A premium is an incentive but an incentive is not necessarily a premium. A premium is only used for consumers while an incentive can be used for anyone.
An incentive is a positive reward that induces action or motivates effort.A premium uses a merchandise reward to encourage consumers to sample, purchase or remain loyal to a brand or service. Typical Incentive ProgramsRetailers New Product Launch, Line Extension, Brand Awareness, Shelf Placement and Brand Training.Dealers & Distributors New Accounts, New Products, Line Extensions, Early Order Bonus and Volume Incentives.Internal & External Sales Increase Sales, New Accounts, Lead Generation, Increase Volume, Account Retention and Product Training.  Typical Consumer Premiums Account Opener Given to customers as a reward or thank you for opening an account.Container Premium A product container, which when empty, may be used as a container for other items. These premiums are usually partially or completely self-liquidating s…

How Do I Give Business Gifts?

You're a smart business person. Instead of giving out gifts to people when you feel obligated why not use a little business acumen? A gift is really just one of your tools for building loyalty.

A consumer loyalty program is a structured marketing effort which encourages loyal buying behavior. A corporate gift is also used to encourage loyalty but should always be perceived as given voluntarily. Their altruistic nature elevates their value far above the incentive carrot.

Although I said that gifts should appear to be altruistic you must always use them with purpose. How will the recipient benefit your company either directly or indirectly?

The Most Common Gift OccasionsA thank you at the end of the yearThe opening of a new officeCompletion of an important project How to Give Business GiftsWrite a brief description of the image you want to convey through this gift.Determine a budget for your gifts. You may have several categories like A and B clients.Delegate! Determine who will resea…

Amex Tests Foursquare Check-In

American Express tested out a program at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin Texas. By checking-in with Foursquare Amex members could receive special deals for Amex purchases only. Each redemption also generated a $1 donation to Grounded in music, an Austin-based non-profit that brings music education to young people.
What makes this incentive so powerful is a game concept called immediate feedback. Most incentive programs fail because they recognize your achievements only periodically or at the end of the program. People are much more engaged when playing games because they receive immediate feedback.

Foursquare excels at immediate feedback which is why people are willing to check-in just for visiting a coffee shop or their local car wash. Adding a tangible reward, even periodically, creates a strong connection between the game and the real world.

It would be interesting to see how you could use check-ins to create a more engaging sales incentive program. Of course check-ins wo…