THE SOURCE for brand name merchandise incentives.

IMRA Quarterly Newsletter
1Q 2016

How an IMRA rep can help with corporate merchandise needs

Part 1 of 4:
Finding the Right Award

By Incentive's Custom Media Team

This four-part series begins with advice to help you find the right award for your audience. Subsequent topics will address different aspects of the incentive buying process, all with the goal of helping you succeed.

Brand name merchandise has long proven to be a valuable tool to motivate, reward and recognize both employees and customers. Yet, the purchasing methods used by businesses to obtain those products may not always be the most cost-effective, nor include the professional expertise on which brands and products are most meaningful to the intended recipients.

There’s a little-known association dedicated to tackling these exact challenges when it comes to utilizing merchandise: IMRA. The Incentive Manufacturers and Representatives Alliance (IMRA) consists of leading brands, product suppliers, and local representatives working with incentive companies and businesses to optimize their use of merchandise.  


Picking a winner

In 2015, IMRA commissioned a Small Business Merchandise Survey to learn about buying behaviors. About half of the 215 small business merchandise decision-makers who completed the IMRA survey didn't realize that manufacturers’ representatives can provide factory-direct pricing or below-MSRP pricing on merchandise. Only one-third were aware of the contribution these reps can make in the creation of effective rewards programs by offering consultative advice on planning, executing and measuring the performance of merchandise rewards.

Additionally, less than 45 percent of those polled know that manufacturers’ representatives can facilitate merchandise selection in order to offer a product line-up that's appealing to the target audience. These sales reps can also provide input on the most pertinent merchandise mix to include, ensuring that all program participants can find an award that motivates them to excel. Better still, manufacturers’ representatives can provide additional services that are often among small businesses’ criteria for selecting merchandise providers, including online purchasing, fulfillment capabilities, myriad merchandise categories to select from and merchandise customization.


The right award

While many studies show that brand name merchandise awards are extremely effective motivators, that's true only if you choose the right award. Knowing your participants helps, but age, class, gender and a host of other demographics play a big part in selecting the brands and items that will get them to put in that extra effort. IMRA members have the experience, resources and know-how to help you employ a highly motivating award or catalog of awards that your participants will find exciting and memorable.

An IMRA rep is uniquely qualified to help you hit the target. The goal of any incentive award is to inspire program recipients so they raise their game to new heights. Getting the right merchandise is crucial for attaining that "wow" factor. When seeking out the right incentive, a good guide is to think: "unique, personalized and outside the box."


The right reps

Finding the right manufacturer representative is as simple as contacting IMRA, whose members include direct factory representatives. They will consult with you and can quote the lowest “factory-direct” price available within the corporate channel, directly from top brand names.

As the frontline for brand names with well-established reputations, IMRA’s manufacturers’ representatives ensure a high standard of professionalism and consistency that inspires trust and confidence in clients. Their unique relationship with manufacturers that they partner with allows reps to offer clients value-added services such as the latest product photography, custom packaging and in certain cases, imprinting and other forms of personalization. That's in addition to ensuring that your awards are the latest model of product on the market.


The right stuff

As members of the brands’ sales and marketing teams, IMRA reps have the relationships and network connections to get you the absolute best price, service and partnerships. They have the experience and knowledge to help you navigate the wide options available among all the merchandise available. Especially if you're new to the field, you would be wise to have an IMRA rep by your side.

IMRA reps benefit from a network of relationships that truly helps them become experts at facilitating the use of merchandise in incentive programs and corporate gifting. Their ongoing professional ties include access to the latest industry research and resources. This enables them to provide you with the most up-to-date information on products and trends to support successful programs that will resonate with incentive recipients.


Take the next step

A strategic industry group, IMRA has more than four decades of experience in fostering relationships between manufacturers’ representatives and buyers of brand name incentive products. To work with an IMRA manufacturers’ representative, visit:

You'll flip over these IMRA brands
(just hover your cursor over the merchandise below)


Take a quick look at IMRA members and their products and services:

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IMRA suppliers are reliable
because they are proven, tested and experienced in program design and execution.


According to the 2015 Corporate Gift Market IQ Survey, the trend continues to
employ branded merchandise
as part of an overall incentive program.


82% of incentive buyers believe that their merchandise incentives influence morale.

(IMRA Small Business Merchandise Market Study)


Buyers prefer merchandise items that are practical, high quality,
have a "wow" factor and name brand

(IMRA Small Business Merchandise Market Study)


What's in a brand?

Learn how to leverage the power of brand-name merchandise. 

To find out more, click here...






“People work for money, but go the extra mile for recognition, praise and rewards.”
— Dale Carnegie, legendary author and leadership