We all have that one person in our lives who is impossible to shop for: They either already have everything, or never vocalize anything they'd actually like to receive. Well, I was finishing up my holiday shopping yesterday—and checking my list twice—and I was relieved to already see this person's name crossed off.
Last year this was not the case. After shopping for days, I gave up and got her a giftcard. A few weeks later when we saw each other, I thanked her again for the gift she had gotten me, and asked her if she'd had a chance to use the giftcard yet. She searched her memory trying to remember if she'd used it and even what the giftcard was for! I was so embarassed that I had failed to get her something memorable. I envied her ability to always get me something that I loved. So I made a resolution then to be more strategic in my future gifting.
Knowing how difficult this person was to shop for, I spent the past 11 months paying special attention to anything she mentioned or seemed interested in. I kept the list in my phone so it was always accessible. Now, instead of feeling like I was guessing at what she might like, I felt prepared and thoughtful. And because I started doing this for other people as well, it became that much easier to find thoughtful birthday gifts, hostess gifts, and "just because" gifts.
This was my personal experience with the power of noncash rewards. When it comes to holiday shopping, I found that nothing says "You're valued" quite like a personalized gift. Of course, in the world of performance incentives, this can be a little more challenging; but if you can get to know a little bit about your customers, partners, employees—or whomever the participants in your incentive program might be—you'll have a much easier time offering the types of rewards that they'll value. Because in the end, providing a thoughtful gift or reward rather than settling for a forgettable giftcard will always be more meaningful for the recipient.
A very happy holiday season from our HMI family to yours!