The Business Gifting Equation: How to Get the Best ROI for Your Efforts

Return on investment (ROI): for every dollar you spend, you want to get more than a dollar back. It’s a basic tenet of marketing. Yet how does it apply when you’re giving a gift in a business setting? In order to get the best ROI for your business gifting, you must view your gift as a relationship building tool and treat it seriously, giving careful consideration to your business gifting practices.

What Is Business Gifting, Really? 

Gifting is a time-honored business tradition that can feel like more like a social obligation than a marketing tool. However, according to the New York Times, “giving gifts is a surprisingly complex and important part of human interaction, helping to define relationships.”

The gift-giving relationship builds the connections between business colleagues and contacts. Those who receive memorable business gifts feel that they are noticed, valued, and understood. They want to reciprocate, not just with a gift but through your ongoing business relationship. By strengthening your gifting practices, you can solidify your business connections and, in turn, affect the ROI of your gift.

Become Both Satisfying and Memorable 

If you’re looking for a few words to sum up an ideal business gift, they would be these: satisfying and memorable. Your business gift must satisfy your partners and colleagues. It must make them feel understood and feel valued at the same time. It must also be memorable. Out of those who received business gifts, those who received a memorable gift were 34 percent more likely to feel more connected to the giver. A memorable gift might be one that is unique, or it could be packaged in a special way or come at a particular time that is out of the ordinary. By being both satisfying and memorable, you will get the best return on your business gift investment, but how do you achieve this?

Memorable Gifts Have Engaging Stories 

If you’ve ever received a gift with the tale, “it made me think of you,” then you’ve received a gift with a story. The gift could be a handmade rolling pin and cookie mix that plays to your love of baking. It could be a book that inspired your colleague, paired with some tea and a handmade mug – just because you’re known for your love of quality teas. While these gifts are not necessarily expensive, they are high quality and can be used again and again. Most importantly, they come with a note that connects you and the recipient through this gift.

Unique and Chosen For You: Personal Gifts Win Over Your Partners 

If you’re striving for a satisfying and memorable gift, personal is better. Don’t buy the same gift for the entire office. While gift cards are often a safe choice, particularly for female Boomers, they are not memorable. Your recipients may remember that you gave them a gift, but they won’t remember what it was, as it was not a meaningful object. While gift cards have the benefit of flexible spending, actually spending the time to choose a personal gift is more important. This shows that you care about what the person wants and that you’re willing to put in the extra effort to choose a gift that truly fits that individual.

Personalizing Gifts Adds Memorability 

While not everyone enjoys a gift with their name or a monogram on it, many people find that this makes a gift far more memorable. It shows that you’ve taken the extra step of personalizing an item, and this matters to your colleagues and partners. When they’re serving cheese to their guests on the monogrammed cheese board that you gave them for the holiday, they’ll remember you and enjoy the gift all over again.

Avoid Adding Your Corporate Logo 

While a business logo might seem like you’re adding a personal touch to a gift, remember that a business logo is the opposite of personalization. In fact, those who received gifts with a business logo on them were half as likely to describe those gifts as very memorable, according to the Knack Business Gifting Survey. Although young men are often more comfortable with logoed gifts, these gifts are least likely to be labeled most preferred overall. A business logo on a gift makes the gift feel like corporate marketing rather than an actual gift. If you need to include a logo, place it on the box rather than the item itself, and make sure that the gift is of high quality.

The Best Gifts Express Personal Values 

According to the Knack 2019 Business Gifting Survey, “the desire to incorporate personal and brand values into business gifts has reached the tipping point, led by Millennials and C-Suite execs.” This generation cares deeply about causes, and they want to show this through the gifts that they give. In fact, for 27 percent of business gifters, social movements will be a driving force behind their specific choice in gifts.

When your business partner receives a gift that echoes her values, this shows her that you have been listening and have heard what they have to say. For instance, a handcrafted object or one created in a fair trade factory will be even more memorable and satisfying, because you’ve heard that person’s purchasing preferences and have acted on them.

Gifts Should Be Timeless, But Also Create a Moment 

Having an experience and documenting it is the passion of the Millennial generation. In fact, nearly half of Millennials share their business gifts on social media. By making your gift shareable, you add intangible value to your gift. It begins with the unboxing experience. Make this an experience unto itself; the anticipation created by luxurious wrapping cannot be ignored. Your gift and its wrapping should be visually appealing so that the recipient can feel proud to share what was received.

What You Spend and What You Get in Return 

So, what are people spending on business gifts this year? According to the 2019 Business Gifting Survey, holiday spending for those in the C-Suite or valued business partners is approximately $75-$100 per person. This increases to $140 to $160 if you’re celebrating a business milestone. Is this spending worthwhile?

According to the C-Suite, absolutely! Eighty-nine percent of C-Suite executives believe that business gifts bring them closer to others. While the dollar value of this closeness is difficult to measure, a close, well-functioning working relationship with your partners and colleagues makes you money every year. Consider what would happen if that relationship were to break down. What is its value to you? The gifts that you give are an investment that you make in the future of that relationship.

At Knack, we’re committed to building your business gifting practices with you, one gift at a time. And although the ROI of a business gift may not be directly measurable, it should be treated seriously.

If you’re not sure how to approach your business gifting, talk with us. We’ll help you reach your customers, employees, and business partners with the gifts that strengthen your relationship over time. Visit Knack today.