We often get calls from our clients – usually at the last minute! – asking whether or not they should buy their customers corporate gifts when they’re running some kind of event.
The answer to this question isn’t actually as straightforward as a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Why are you considering giving a corporate gift?
Reasons could include:
- saying thank you to a customer (for their large order / repeat business / being your customer for a long period of time),
- to continue to communicate your message after the event / meeting,
- it could even be an internal gift to help staff ‘get on board’ with a new brand / company takeover or to help them remember some key selling points of your latest product.
- to use it as a birthday gift to your long-standing customers on your 10th or 25th anniversary for example.
Don’t just give a gift because you think you have to. And don’t fall into the habit of doing what you’ve always done!
Who is the recipient?
The answer to this could help direct you in your decision as to what to buy.
- how well do you know them?
- what industry are they in?
- what is their role within the business?
- are they male or female?
- what makes them tick?
What message are you trying to present?
- think how the gifts itself could position the message and also help relay / represent the message
- if you’re product message is technical, think about what gifts you could give to reinforce that message
- is it simply a brand message – where you could go with a small gift if printing space is not a huge consideration
- if you’re brand is all about quality, ensure the gift reflects that
Where are you going to store the gifts during the event?
If it’s at the venue of the meeting / event, will you have storage space for them during the event or will you need to keep them in your car. This can affect your choice in terms of size of gift.
Are you giving away ‘goody bags’ at a seminar – you can combine your brand message (on a re-usable bag for example) with a freebie and product literature. If you’re exhibiting make sure your bag has standout – if it’s large and strong, all of your competitors bags may be put inside yours – or even better – disposed of so that your brand is the one seen on the arms of your customers as they walk around the show!
Again, if you have an exhibition stand, think about where you will store your goodies – along with your product / company literature and bags / briefcases etc of your colleagues manning the stand!
How are you going to give the gifts out?
Think about whether it’s better to give it out at the end of a presentation or, something that has worked well for a couple of our clients is to actually follow up the event with a personalised letter containing the gift. This gives you an additional reason to communicate your message to them.
Personally handing out the gift works well too – especially if it’s a quality gift that’s highly targeted at your decision makers. We did this once for a client. We bought very expensive items (but in small number) and picked the top customers we wanted to talk to. The senior sales team then had to go out and hand deliver them – they couldn’t leave them with the gatekeepers, so it got them in front of the right person too. It proved highly effective, but you have to have people who feel comfortable doing it otherwise you can spend money and not get the right message out there – or to the right person!
How much is your budget?
I’d always advise against buying a ‘cheap’ gift. Either reduce the quantity or revise your thinking. It can do more harm to your brand and cheapen you in the eyes of your customers / potential customers than not giving a gift at all/
Corporate Gifts are generally a good idea – as long as they are done well.
We always advise people to think about the answers to these questions before making their final decision – and then that’s when the fun really starts – what to buy…
Generally, I think it’s a great idea to give a gift… if there’s a purpose behind it. And if it adds value – both to your brand and to your customer.