How to Make Your Clients Look Like Stars With Gifts and Incentives
A lot of people pride themselves on being excellent gift-givers. They believe their creativity and thoughtfulness puts them a step above the competition when it comes to finding the perfect present for friends or family. In the corporate gifting world, creativity and thoughtfulness are just as important when you’re giving for customer acquisition, employee recognition or holiday gifts to stay on top of your current clients’ minds.
For distributors selling products to companies for the purpose of corporate gifting or employee incentives, it comes down to three main variables: the product, the timing and the intended result.
If you can master these, your clients’ gift will be a huge success. But, how do you get to that point? Promo Marketing spoke with Bethany Bannister, marketing specialist for Hirsch Gift Inc., Houston; and Jen Jezierski, marketing coordinator for Crystal D, St. Paul, Minn., to learn a few tricks of the gifts and incentives trade.
Give the people what they want
This seems pretty self explanatory, but when you’re picking out a product for your client to use as a gift, you should pick something that the end-user actually wants. We’ve all been in the situation where you get a gift that didn’t quite hit the mark and it sits in a closet for years, ends up in a landfill or is eventually re-gifted at the office holiday party.
The same goes for gifts in the promotional space, too. End-users don’t want something that just takes up space. They want something they can use. And your clients want them to use it, too, because then they get that sweet, sweet brand visibility and boost in their reputation. For this, brand names and technology items are a good place to start.
“Here at Hirsch Gift, we’ve noticed that premium brand names go over really well in this category, because they’re what people want—what they would buy for themselves,” Bannister said.
“Premium branded items have a higher perceived value and leave a lasting impression. Additionally, as we’re living in an age where technology has an impact on so much of our everyday lives and continues to grow in a facet that makes our lives easier, they’re naturally go-to items that people want to get and are excited to receive.”
She specifically mentioned hot tech products in home automation, like JBL speakers, as well as items that connect to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
But, it’s not all about breaking the bank, however. Jezierski noted that, in the case of awards and incentives in particular, the most expensive option isn’t always the most sought after.
“We’ve noticed that many of our awards under $75 are popular gifts,” she said. “We have a wide variety of gifts to choose from in that category from golf gifts to paperweights, candy bowls to desk accessories, and even some smaller awards that would also be perfect as a gift, like art glass or some of our 3-D items.”
Jezierski added that it’s that price point that’s so appealing.
“Our distributors’ clients are spending $75 or less on the gift, but because of the crystal’s high perceived value, it looks like they spent so much more,” she said.
Aside from the perceived quality of the gift, every good present has a touch of personalization. You want to think the gift-giver put a lot of thought into something special. That’s what makes a good gift or incentive memorable, both in the promo space and in life.
“Another reason [our crystal awards] are so popular is that most of them can be decorated with multiple imprint processes to create a stunning personalized gift,” Jezierski said. “End-users are looking for something out of the ordinary. Their recipients aren’t expecting a beautiful crystal gift, but when they receive it, the first thing they say is, ‘Wow!’ Crystal gifts and incentives hold a lot of value because they’re so unique, and it’s not something they’d typically receive.”
On the other side of the scale, however, programs where people can pick out their own gifts have become increasingly popular. Think of getting a gift from someone in the form of a gift card, where you can get exactly what you want. It could even be something that you’ve never told anyone you wanted.
Bannister said this kind of setup has become available in the promo world, too. She noted programs where distributors can set up surveys among end-users so they can say exactly what they want, taking out the guesswork.
“This way, the incentive gift becomes a win-win for everyone involved,” she said. “As the client company gets an increase in employee morale, less turnover and higher customer satisfaction ratings, the employee gets to feel appreciated and chooses their recognition gift from either a point system or through a program of comparably priced items in different categories.”
Just like you wouldn’t go to the pharmacy for a last-second gift for someone (at least not without expecting some dirty looks), you should give yourself time to pick out the right idea for your clients. When is the right time to start thinking? Well, the best time is now, as there’s no set time on giving a gift or making employees feel valued.
“We see appreciation gifts really ramp up in the fourth quarter,” Bannister said. “And recognition for awards is really hot in the first half of the year.”
“The best thing about our awards and gifts is that they can be given all year long,” Jezierski said. “It all depends on the company giving the gift. Some companies like to give at Christmas. Some prefer giving them in the summer. A lot of companies give gifts and have award ceremonies when they are in their slow seasons.”