Giving Anything to Clients, Customers, or Attendees Requires Planning for an ROI.

Not all Events are conventions.
Steve Lay Avatar

Terms can be inter-changeable between gifting, hand-outs, promo items, giveaways, and recognition. Weddings and personal events have a more traditional reason for gifting. There are settings or events or gatherings that can generate more impact for a company or person when handing out more useful items that have more preceived value and appreciation.

Giving anything, in business, as a gift or handout is Big Business!

The word Event is an all-encompassing word to describe most any gathering. To recap: events can be personal, as in attending a wedding or milestone event like an anniversary; or a corporate gathering for an industry announcement or personnel award(s), or a trade convention. Any events can call for favors, giveaways, promotions, or awards. No matter the term used, there is an underlying reason for gifting and that is what needs to be recognized.

Whatever the item given in any setting, attention should be given to the return-on-investment on that gift. Gifting in a strict sense connotes a more formal presentation, to a client and/or customer. For example, a realtor may give a gift of appreciation for a completed closing on a transaction. Many businesses use a form of gifting in recognition of prior relationships and/or to build on newer contacts.

Other types of formal gifting are more centered around tradition and a desire to show appreciation for attending an event or personal celebration. Such gifts are often based on tradition, like guests invited to a wedding.

In business, gifting needs to come with the expectation of a “return-on-investment”, or why bother. Yes, there are a plethora of ways to measure ROI. It is not always determined by an immediate financial result. Handout items might simply be an adjunct to a more involved branding program. But ROI should come with a defined expectation of results.

Gifting does relate to less formal applications. A handout at a convention is less targeted and may be as simple as an imprinted ballpoint pen or notepad. The top handouts/giveaways items for mass distribution such as conventions/shows are imprinted: mugs, pens, coasters, notepads, and thumb drives.

Bamboo Coaster

Our bamboo coasters are laser engraved with logos and messages. A recent customer bought wood wine gift boxes (including a bottle of wine) with an engraved sliding lid what had a special message to their premium customer. These gift boxes were targeted at C-Level decision makers.

Bamboo Wine Gift Box
Bamboo Wine Box

Whatever the gift or event favor, they should have value usefulness; the name of the game is to keep generating impressions from the gift, favor, or giveaway item. That is one reason pens are a go-to item for mass distribution, the message stays front and center.

What goes into making a gift/promo/favor an item that has potential for a great ROI?

  • Needs to be cost-effective for the occasion-trade show, new product announcement, retail opening, or building awareness. Award events or weddings have a different standard.
  • The gift needs to be useful. Impressions (how often the item is seen and/or touched) do impact ROI in advertising parlance.
  • Appropriate for the event and/or attendees.
  • Unique in a way that demonstrates thought and planning about the presentation.

“When done right, gifting can be a great way to break into key accounts and to nurture relationships,” says Ellie Scott-Marketing Executive at Reachdesk. In the case of personal social events (weddings, lifestyle events, etc.) gifting will demonstrate thoughtfulness and create and enforce personal bonds. “The bottom line is, you shouldn’t just be pouring money into corporate gifting and (giveaways) without a solid strategy and understanding of the return on investment that you’re expecting, you and your team should always be thinking about the end goal.”

Here are general thoughts from Reachdesk about improving effectiveness of gifting at any level:

  • Personalization is the most important consideration in business gifting.
  • Use a tiered approach. Recognize an appropriate item for a given recipient(s)/setting. For example, a C-Level executive gift today is approximately $150-$200.
  • “It’s all about giving without asking for anything in return,” comments Kelly Walters, Senior Marketing Manager EMEA, Salesloft.
  • Make promo items/gifting decisions part of personal or corporate branding.
  • Constantly be aware of the objectives of giving because that will influence the item selections. The goals need to yield measurable results.

There is a company that sends unsolicited coasters to people who are mentioned in the media, for assorted reasons. The engraving is on both sides of the coaster. The up facing side has an appropriate message. On the reverse is the engraved business card of the vendor. To pirate an old advertising line: Make all your gifting, promo, event favors, and giveaway items “the gift that keeps on giving.”

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