Michael Hurwitz, CITE is the founder, President & Creative Director of United Incentives, Inc., a full-service incentive marketing company that creates motivation and recognition programs for corporations, with travel still the largest single award category used. Michael has authored numerous articles and has lectured extensively on Incentive Marketing throughout much of the world. His advertising agency background brings into focus creativity that produces results. United Incentives is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA where Michael is a lifelong resident.
How has the industry changed and how do we ensure that Site remains at the forefront?
While the basic focus of the industry remains the same, that being productivity enhancement through motivation, the industry has changed dramatically in the tools used to achieve corporate goals. Today, the motivation tool-bag is filled with many different product categories, from group and individual travel, to debit cards and gift certificates and everything in between. Plus, there are extremely sophisticated methods used for promotion campaigns, as compared to printed materials or video and even more sophisticated methodology for tracking and administration. The advent of Social Media has significantly impacted the way incentive programs are communicated. Finally, where the industry was primarily North American, the globalization process has expanded it to all corners of the world. Logically, then, for Site to remain at the forefront, we must embrace all that's new in both rewards and technology.
How has Site evolved from being an organization focused on incentive travel to an organization for global professionals in the motivational events industry “inspiring people to perform at higher levels?”
The change was evolutionary. As the arsenal of motivational marketing tools and rewards grew, so did the organization grow in its acknowledgement and embracing of the "new" methods. Plus, there has been an enormous growth in rock-solid industry research, such as the Site Foundation Participants Viewpoint Study which serves to validate the need and effectiveness of incentives. We have spent our careers proselytizing and trying to convince companies that incentives are a wise investment that, when structured properly, pay measurable dividends. Today, technology is an integral part of the industry and now stands side by side with hotels, cruise lines, DMCs, etc. at industry trade shows.
How have the past 40 years equipped Site for the future?
When I joined Site in 1982, the acknowledged industry "experts" could be counted on two hands. These were the real pioneers in the incentive industry in the late 70’s and early 80’s in both the creation and delivery of first-class incentive programs. True visionaries like Annie Wold-Graham, Bob Guerriero, Jim McNabb, John Kiley and Richard Ross, to name a few. From this core, outstanding industry leaders like Jim Dittman and Fay Beauchine blossomed. Site membership now has an enormous pool of true incentive industry professionals worldwide who are committed to the stability, professionalism, code of ethics and future growth of the business.