Is Corporate Gift Giving an Effective Marketing Tool?

This entry was posted on March 14, 2013 – No Comments

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Corporate gift giving-We know what it is and what function it serves. We’ve all given or received gifts at one time or another. Most companies pay a great deal of attention to their gift-giving; while others do not gift at all.

Given today’s business economy and the need to cut costs at every turn, can corporate gift- giving still be considered a reasonable cost of doing business?  From “tchotchkes” to extravagant weekend spa packages and vacations, companies have historically given business gifts.  The reasons for gift-giving vary from a way to reward clients to motivating your employees. But what about using gifts as a marketing tool?

Corporate business gifts are a highly visible form of B2B marketing, a way to add value to your product, service or brand.  For professional service providers (i.e, lawyers, accountants, management consultants, etc.), giving a thoughtful gift to a client can build loyalty in a time when switching to your competitor is merely an internet search away.  Competition is stiff and competencies are purportedly interchangeable.  As a result, distinguishing yourself in the marketplace is perhaps now more critical than ever.

Remember, the fundamental idea behind corporate gift giving is to say “thank you” like you mean it.  Baring that in mind, here are some guidelines that will help achieve the desired result:

The gift should be appropriate.  For the client.  Under the circumstances.  

This cannot be overemphasized.   The expense of a gift will not matter in the least if it embarrasses or offends the recipient.  For example, liquor might be a valued gift for many, but for someone whose personal preference or religious beliefs prevent them from alcohol consumption, even the rarest bottle of wine will likely not be appreciated.

Exercising some due diligence on what the client or service provider likes will go a long way towards ensuring that the gift is received in the spirit it was given. If it then turns out that bottle of wine is appropriate, all the better.

Be careful what you put your logo on 

There is a significant difference between business gifts and give-aways.  Companies that give away promotional items guarantee that the client remembers who gave them the gift, but not necessarily fondly.  Promotional products have a different purpose and should not be used as a business gift.   After all, how special can it be if you’ve got the same pen or business card holder by the dozen in the storeroom?

No cash.  No cash equivalent.  Ever. 

In fact, the more important the intended recipient is (especially if s/he is a government employee), the more a monetary gift may resemble an attempt to improperly buy influence.

Give something special   

What could be more appreciated than the arrival of a carefully selected gift basket of gourmet cheeses, sausages and artisan breads or crackers just to say thank you!  Consider giving a select assortment of fine chocolates for the chocoholic, or stemware for the client you know to be a wine connoisseur.

There are countless beautiful gifts a professional can give that will be memorable for all the right reasons.  If the idea is to reward loyalty or to say ‘thanks for the business’, a business gift giving plan is a great idea, sure to enhance any professional’s image and reputation.   And that is a gift that keeps on giving.

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