If you are a regular reader, you may have noticed that several of our blog entries stress the importance of effective program communication within any incentive program. Whether you are awarding years of service points in an employee recognition program or communicating your latest sales promotion within a channel sales program it is important to keep your participants in the know.
A common question that comes up when discussing program design and communication is, “What if my participant does not have access to a computer?” This question always catches me a little off-guard as my personal experience tells me that everyone is online (and likes it). Even my 85 year old grandfather travels with his iPad, checks email from his smartphone and builds computers as a hobby. All this being said, the question does made me think, “What does the research tell us about computer and internet usage trends?”
The Pew Research Center’s report titled The Web at 25 in the U.S., confirmed what I had until now only assumed to be true. Internet and computer usage has greatly increased over the past 25 years and, in some demographics, has reached well over 90%. Please see the table below for a breakdown of some of information provided in the report:
The usage of smartphones has also jumped significantly to 58% since the Pew Research Center first asked the question in 2011. This infographic by the U.S. Census Bureau also supports the same trends identified in the Pew Research Center’s report.
This research affirms my assumptions and provides a clear answer to questions about participant connectivity. While we still have clients that choose to continue with printed materials (such as reward catalogs and paper redemption certificates), most have embraced the digital age. Today’s incentive program participant can more easily be engaged with real-time virtual reward catalogs, online redemptions, and comprehensive recognition platforms that can be accessed from computers or mobile devices with ease.