We are still some way from the festive season but sending corporate gifts at Christmas time provides an ideal opportunity to recognise and acknowledge the positive relationships that strong customers and staff have on a business. Internal recognition can improve productivity and moral whilst extending it externally is a proven tool for successful client retention. Research from the UK Chartered Institute of Marketing identifies that it can cost between four and ten times more to acquire a new client than it does to retain an existing one –in some cases it is over 30 times more.
Type Corporate Gifts into Google and millions of results will appear. It takes time to research the possibilities. Here are 10 tips that might help when assessing and implementing corporate gifting strategies.
The right message
Gifts are meant to show appreciation for the business relationship that you have with your customer or member of staff. It is a way of staying top-of-mind without trying to buy their business or loyalty. There is a fine line between a thank you and a bribe and getting it wrong could cause unwanted scrutiny.
Thought and effort is required.
Time spent thinking about what to give your customers will demonstrate that you really value their support. It might be that you buy different gifts for different customers – dependent on age, likes and dislikes and gender. Personalisation takes time but will pay dividends – it is the difference between giving a gift that someone will enjoy rather than gifting for the sake of it. Not everyone celebrates Christmas and, in particular where food and drink are concerned, might have personal requirements so some detective work might be advisable.
Create Customer Profiles
There are so many ways of creating client profiles these days using computers systems and, as crazy as it sounds, it is worth logging customer’s hobbies, preferences and dislikes when you are talking to them. It is really helpful to know if they prefer tea to coffee, champagne to red wine or chocolates over a cheeseboard – to make that selection seem more personal.
Remove promotional inserts
Ensure that the gifts that you send do not include pamphlets advertising the gifting company’s products. The gift is from you and not the company producing it and is about thanking the people with whom you have a business relationship. Wafts of advertising material falling out of a gift box sends the wrong message.
Show you care
Successful branded gifts are those which clients will find useful, that will make their life easier, or solves a problem. We all have had gifts that are either ‘re-gifted’ or are dumped in the nearest waste bin so If you are looking to develop a client relationship be creative and thoughtful
Keep it personal
In a world dominated by electronic communication it is reassuring that the power of the pen is still unbeatable. Time spent writing a hand written note to be included with your gift – explaining why you selected the gift or why you thought they might enjoy it adds a personal touch. If you are using a company to send the gift then ensure that they are able to take care of this note for you. Hand delivery is the ultimate in effort, it is not always practical but it is the small touches that set you above the rest. Ultimately, clients will want to do business with companies they trust and who they feel care about them.
Gifts are for all year round
For most companies the major gift-giving season is at Christmas. However it doesn’t always have to be at this time of year and if the budget is not available, or you have simply run out of time, then look at sending a card and sending gifts at a later time. Gifts in the New Year, at Easter or on birthdays can really stand out. Alternatively they can be sent to acknowledge a milestone or a special occasion and are a great way of showing appreciate.
Gifts need to be appropriate and based on the type of business relationship that you have with that member of staff or client. Wines and alcohol are best reserved for people you know well. For new clients it is worth considering a more generic gift that looks strong but doesn’t make assumptions on lifestyle and preferences. However well-intended and innocent, corporate gifts are designed to have some sort of positive influence – otherwise why else would you do it!
Timing is key
Plan ahead and make sure your gift arrives in time. Too early and the effect will be lost but too late and people may have already left to go on holiday. Playing safe is the best way forward and aim for the middle of December. If you are sending perishable food then ensure it arrives when people are around, not on a weekend or when the office has already closed for the Christmas holidays.
Stick to a budget
It is important to set a budget and stick to it – early planning pays dividends. If you are getting items branded think about the savings that you make by ordering higher volumes. It might be that you have events planned for the following year that these could be used for. However you don’t want cupboards stuffed with unused items.
Corporate gifting takes time and effort but with appropriate due diligence it remains a simple and inexpensive way to building lasting relationships with valued clients and staff. Buy-time are able to take care of all elements of your corporate gift programme from gift selection, budget control, personalisation, delivery arrangements as well as Christmas card writing. Do get in contact for a chat about how we can help with your requirements.