The results of ASI’s just-released corporate gift-giving survey show six in 10 companies plan on thanking clients and employees with holiday gifts this year. What’s most surprising is that the number isn’t 10 in 10. Smart business owners know the best way to keep clients coming back – or to court new business – is to show appreciation.
Gifts don’t have to be extravagant, but according to Advantages magazine annual “Gift Guide” gifts that are thoughtful, cool, unique or useful will provide the greatest ROI.
According to the ASI survey, the main goal of giving gifts to customers is to express appreciation and develop relationships, as well as to generate good will and increase company awareness. Whether you give a Swiss chocolate tower, etched bottle of wine or a bacon-scented iPhone alarm clock this year, the gift will be remembered – especially if it’s logoed. After all, phenomenal advertiser recall is what promotional products are all about.
Survey respondents told us that when choosing a gift, they consider an item’s attractiveness, durability and usefulness above all else. This year, nothing says “useful” like an imprinted power charger – a high-tech item that’s riding the rage wave. Give it to clients and they’ll carry it everywhere they go, from home to office to airport lounge.
Sure, you might consider giving a few top clients something extravagant, but our survey results show most companies plan to spend an average of $43 per customer or prospective customer, with food/beverages, desk accessories, writing instruments and calendars topping the list.
When it comes to rewarding employees, most companies are spending about $50 per worker, with gift cards, food/beverages, apparel and cash bonuses as the most popular choices. If you’re still unsure what to give, or what to suggest to clients planning their holiday orders, here are a few tips culled from the pages of ASI’s magazines:
- Don’t overlook packaging
- Remember the branding
- Give the gift some real thought
- If it’s a client who loves quality, consider artisan items
- Consider reliable standards like calendars.
The bottom line is that people love gifts. When we asked survey respondents about the best corporate gift they ever received, answers ranged from days off, gift cards and a donation made to the recipient’s favorite charity all the way to fishing rods, Cincinnati Reds tickets in the corporate suite, blown glass insulated beer glasses and a weekend stay at a resort – with babysitting included.
Finally, even though December is the biggest gift-giving month of the year, you could set yourself apart from the crowd by sending your gifts out on, say, Penguin Awareness Day on January 20.