by Lisa Grimaldi | May 01, 2008

chartFor the second consecutive year, AV Business & Communication, a full-service incentive and marketing company based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, conducted a wide-scale study of incentive use in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.

The firm surveyed 250 corporate executives, ranging from CEOs to human resources managers, via an online survey last fall. Among the findings:

* More than half (59 percent) of the executives polled held incentive programs for internal staff. That’s an increase from last year’s survey, when just 52 percent had internal programs.

* At the same time, the number of incentive/loyalty programs for their external clients decreased, from 65 percent to 55 percent.

* The majority of internal incentive programs targeted small groups: 55 percent said their programs were for 100 or fewer participants. But more than one-quarter (27 percent) had programs with 400 or more participants.

* Most companies (84 percent) used their internal incentive programs to motivate their sales forces; the next-largest group recognized was back-office workers, cited by a quarter of respondents.

* Among external programs, 42 percent targeted distributors’ sales forces.

* Half of the survey respondents said their incentives were outsourced. Incentive houses (cited by 29 percent) and promotional marketing firms (19 percent) most often handled the programs.

* Interestingly, 40 percent of executives polled said their corporations did not have a dedicated incentive budget.

* Most survey respondents saw room for improvement in their incentive programs. Key areas of weakness: measurement of return on investment (55 percent), communication with participants (47 percent), proposal creativity (38 percent) and budget size (32 percent).