by Lisa Grimaldi | March 01, 2007

Incentive programs are widely used in South America, according to a survey of 150 South American corporate executives that was conducted in late 2006 by AV Business & Communication, an incentive and marketing firm based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. More than 50 percent of the executives polled said their firms offer incentive and motivation programs.

Among the survey’s other findings of interest:

* Sixty-five percent of respondents run reward programs for clients, while 52 percent said they offer incentive programs for their internal staff.

* The majority of firms that hold incentive programs have between 101 and 500 employees, followed by companies of fewer than 100 (29 percent).

* Forty-three percent of those polled said their firm’s marketing department oversees incentive programs, while 33 percent said the general manager or human resources department is responsible for these programs.

* Fifty-nine percent of respondents considered their incentive programs effective; 27 percent deemed them very effective.

* Thirty-four percent of respondents whose firms sponsor programs for employees said the main purpose is to increase sales; 33 percent aim primarily to recognize outstanding performance and bolster employee loyalty; and 11 percent said they sponsor programs to foster teamwork.

* Forty percent of those polled spend more than $450 per participant for travel programs, including air travel and hotel accommodations.

* Of the different types of rewards offered (travel, cash, merchandise, gift certificates), 43 percent of respondents said a combination of rewards is most effective, followed by travel (23 percent), cash (17 percent), certificates (14 percent) and merchandise (3 percent)