Since 2020 hit, HMI has hosted a series of online events where we invite industry experts, prospective business partners, and customers from all parts of the world to join us in sharing ideas and providing feedback on their incentive programs. During these conferences, we also typically include a fun experience as a way for everyone to engage with and get to know each other better, like a wine or whiskey tasting.
These events have been successful for us, but we’re looking for ways to build back big group events back into our corporate schedule. These group events are important for multiple reasons. Most importantly, these events give us all the opportunity to discuss best practices, trends, and the future direction of our industries in an environment that helps us connect on a deeper level. We can cover a wide range of topics, from ways to harness data, to the importance of measuring a program’s Return On Experience (ROE). But despite the ever-evolving landscape over the years, one term that always seems to make its way into the conversation is “soft benefits”.
Hard vs. Soft Benefits
What is a soft benefit? Is there such a thing as a hard benefit? And if so, what’s the difference between the two? On the one hand, a hard benefit can be described as something easily measured using an analytic approach. These include metrics such as increased sales, increased margin, increased productivity, and the like.
A soft benefit, however, is a success indicator that is not as easily measured, but equally if not more important. Soft benefits are, at many times, the main motivators behind increased sales, brand loyalty, and referrals.
- An example of a soft benefit would be something like the offsite group excursion that you plan during a trip to Cancun with your group. The excursion could be an optional “Swim with the Dolphins” experience, for example. Available for roughly 20 people to attend. You may be surprised to find how many people have never participated in an experience like this before.
- Another soft benefit may be premiere access to enhanced services. During an issue with supply chain, you could offer services like expedited delivery only to top customers as a soft benefit. This will help you solidify loyalty among these groups while avoiding the cost of providing it to everyone.
Excursions like the one above usually go beyond the earners expectations. These experiences create a bond between everyone in the group as being something they will always remember. The overwhelming response from groups is usually, “This was out of my comfort zone, and I would not have done this on my own. I am so happy that I did!”
By providing the “soft benefit” of this excursion, you can not only reinforced your business’s mind share among existing customers, but also fostered new ideas for future programs and trips and how to work better day by day. Most importantly, you can bring a group of people together and create a lifetime bond that none of them will never forget. In other words, it was a memorable experience whose long-term benefits couldn’t be measured.
If you are interested in running a meeting, hosting a customer forum, or bringing your top producers offsite, contact us to see how HMI can help. With years of experience and unparalleled service, we have the expertise to make your company’s next program truly unforgettable.