by Tony Vidler
How much do clients really value the standard corporate gift?
It is a nice gesture and usually generates a level of appreciation…but often it is a very very fleeting moment in the clients’ mind and relatively quickly forgotten. There is a limit to the level of gratitude that can be achieved with a set of barbecue tongs or tiny box of chocolates isn’t there? Corporate gifts are often things which create no lasting impression for the client.
We really have to ask ourselves if the corporate gifts are worthwhile from a marketing perspective. If it is a relatively high cost per client to achieve very little in the way of lasting impressions or any particular feeling of special treatment on the part of the client, then you’d have to say that it is probably largely a waste of money. That becomes a gift that gives nothing much to anyone involved….for the giver there is little discernible return….for the client is little that is memorable or special. It was an expensive non-event.
You can change that by giving “experiences” instead. Experiences create memories because they generate emotions and involvement on the part of the clients. Half an hour having fun on a Go-Kart track (for example) is a memory that lasts a fair while, and gets people talking about their experience – and costs about the same as a set of barbecue implements. It is even more memorable and generates far greater appreciation if it involves the people the client cares about, rather than being a shared experience with you, the adviser. Using this same example, it is far more powerful if it is an outing for the clients and their kids than if it is an outing for the clients and you.
Instead of thinking corporate gifts, think of creating client experiences. Get people involved….create an opportunity for them to be emotionally engaged, and have fun, and have something to talk about….that is powerful and effective relationship building. It is also gifting that gives back to the giver with positive word-of-mouth…and that becomes an effective marketing spend.