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ROI Measurement Veteran: IRR and MICE Markets Have Traditionally Feared Analysis

Jack and Patti PhillipsFounder of the ROI Institute in 1992 and author of over a dozen books on return on investment of people processes, probably no one knows more about measurement in business than Jack Phillips and his wife and business partner Patti. So far, he has seen little appetite for serious program design and measurement in the incentive, rewards, and recognition (IRR) or meetings, incentive, travel and exhibition (MICE) markets but wonders whether the appetite may finally be growing.

IRR and MICE Markets Traditionally Not Keen on ROI Analysis
The Level of Interest Is Higher Than Commitment
Jack Phillips of the ROI Institute is one of the resources drawn upon by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance’s new research division for good reason: practically no organization has more experience designing and measuring almost any business activity involving people, from marketing and customer engagement to employee engagement and meetings and incentives. Todd Hanson of Catalyst Performance Group, an EEA preferred solution provider, is a certified ROI Institute practitioner as well as an expert in business operating systems.
See ESM: People ROI Pioneers to CEOs: Human Capital Can Be Measured.
By measurement and evaluation, The ROI Institute means a formal process that addresses design and measurement through a strategic and systematic approach that identifies the why, starting with impact; the how, selecting the right solution; the what, defining the objectives; the “how much,” collecting data along the way; the "what’s it worth?”; analyzing the data; the “so what?”--leveraging the results. Phillips says he does not see much evidence of a consistently rigorous design and measurement processs because neither the clients or suppliers have demanded it. Nor do many published case studies provide much rigorous information on outcomes beyond better responses to employee surveys or data on use of engagement technology. 
Phillips' perspective is based on decades of experience in these and other fields. The company has over 75 books on measurement in innovation, learning, leadership development,marketing, accountability in human resources management, performance consulting, human capital analytics, etc.

IRR and MICE Markets Are Traditionally Not Keen on ROI Measurement 

Compared with other industries he works with, Phillips sees little serious interest in rigorous program design or return-on-investment measurement in either  the incentive, rewards, and recognition field or for that matter meetings and incentives travel. The problem comes from both the buyers and the sellers, he observes. His company counts many of the world's top companies among its many customers, so he has a basis for comparison. 
Increased focus on stakeholder management analytics, management, and reporting and more pressure from investors and the European Union Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive for stakeholder management disclosures could increase interest in more program measurement, he suggests.
What has held back progress? The program manager on the client side is concerned that if he or she “contracted for a service and the program doesn’t work, there’s risk. We always try to remind people that the best way to reduce the risk is by starting with good program design. Good program design has to start with the end result in mind and clearly defined measures. Is it productivity? sales? Whatever the goals, you must have everyone who's involved in on the process to work toward very specific objectives. You must look at how people are going to accomplish the goals, what will be done differently for them to do that and then what is the reaction and learning throughout the effort."
Many busy middle level managers running incentive, recognition, or MICE programs often juggle multiple tasks; do not have the time to effectively design the evalution process through a thorough listening and evaluation process, he notes, let alone pay an outside advisor for help. The challenge for these planners, he notes, arises when management starts asking questions; the lack of coherent answers can be fatal to a program. 
In his experience, suppliers have shown even less interest in program design and measurement, he points out. “Clearly they fear the risk that the program is not creating value and would simply remain silent.”

The Level of Interest Is Higher Than Commitment

Phillips sees good intentions. “We were asked by an association if we could conduct a return-on-investment study for recognition programs. The challenge was, after much effort the organization couldn’t find a company willing to have it conducted.”
Fortunately for Phillips, his company does business in many other industries more receptive to serious design and measurement. For instance, “We have essentially cracked the nut in the leadership development area,” he says. The key, he says, is to start with good design. “It’s almost guaranteed you’ll get the outcome you wish if the process is properly designed.”
The ROI Institute provides both program design and return on investment measurement for organizations, but its goal is to create a legion of professionals and companies able to apply the process on behalf of their own companies and clients. In that vein, the company offers a variety of certification programs for professionals and corporations. It also provides customized training and program design support for organizations seeking to build ROI into their engagement processes. A hybrid approach marries program design with coaching of internal management so they can take over the process.
Enterprise Engagement Alliance stakeholder management advocates receive a 10% discount on ROI Institute certification and design services,
To receive the discount as an EEA stakeholder management advocate, contact Bruce Bolger at Bolger@TheEEA.org or 914-591-7600, ext. 230.

RRN: Your Partner in Success in Incentives, Rewards, and Recognition

Published by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance at TheEEA.org
  • The only weekly news, how-to and resource publication of record for the Incentive, Rewards, and Recognition field.
  • The only marketing agency focusing specifically on the IRR and broader engagement marketplace.
Contact Bruce Bolger at 914-591-7600, ext. 230 or email Bolger@TheEEA.org when you want to get to know or get known in this growing $176 billion marketplace.

The Industry’s Only Combined Media Platform and Marketing Agency to Help You Expand Your Business

  • All the industry news, research, announcements, and how-to articles read by over 20,000 end-users in sales, marketing, and human resources; incentive, recognition, loyalty and promotional companies, as well as marketing and human resources agencies, seeking to enhance performance through effectively designed incentive programs.
  • Unparalleled business development services for engagement, incentive and incentive travel, recognition firms; brands, gift cards and master fulfillment companies, and technology firms, featuring ROI-based business development strategy design and ongoing digital and social media and e-newsletter communications to help marketers profit in the coming era of cookie-less marketing. 
  • Unique abilities for solution providers to sponsor authoritative, evergreen content directly related to what they sell through the EEA’s Effective Practices series on articles in our media platforms.
  • EEA YouTube Channel with over three dozen how-to and insight videos and growing with nearly 100 expert guests.
  • Access to new technologies from EEA preferred solution providers enabling brands to create their own points-based or transactional redemption site.
  • Unparalleled expertise in program design, return on investment measurement, reporting, and prescriptive analytics.

Outreach to Enhance Industry Awareness

The EEA is dedicated to helping address the fact that the IRR business remains a little-known industry.
  • The Association of National Advertisers education effort reaches the CMOs of almost every leading brand to promote our industry and the importance of program design through created for their members.
  • The Brand Media Coalition has led the way in helping brands better tell their stories for use in incentive, recognition, and loyalty programs, and to actively promote the importance of the reward experience and buying through industry channels.
  • The Enterprise Engagement Alliance is assisting companies with the upcoming Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, which includes details on the practices and metrics involved with employee and customer engagement.

Promoting Effective Program Design

  • The EEA provides comprehensive and growing library of concise, research-based resources to promote serious ROI-based thinking, including the importance of the reward experience. 
  • Join the Enterprise Engagement Alliance to master the processes of enterprise engagement, stakeholder management and reporting, or contact the EEA to get expert assistance on strategy design, implementation, and reporting.

RRN: Your Partner in Success in Incentives, Rewards, and Recognition

Contact Bruce Bolger at 914-591-7600, ext. 230 or email Bolger@TheEEA.org when you want to get to know or get known in this growing $1.76 billion marketplace.
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