Taking a Holistic Approach to Your Business Gifting Strategy Positively Impacts Your ROI

While we’ve always advocated approaching business gifting as a year-round game plan for fostering meaningful engagement that boosts your bottom line, the strategy has become even more vital since the pandemic began nearly a year ago. Want to learn how to build a gifting strategy of your own? Keep reading to see our 10 steps for getting started.

Tip #1: Set Your Business Gifting Goals & Take Stock of Company Values

As with any strategy, you should first assess your current situation and define your gifting goals as they support your big-picture business goals. Think about and then write down why gifting is valuable to your business and what you hope to accomplish with your gifting strategy. Of course, you will consider goals like more referrals, increased client satisfaction, better employee retention, or improved client loyalty. But you’ll also want to consider what those goals look like during the current pandemic. Think about you how can you engage with clients when you can’t be with them in person. And how you want to build and cultivate your company culture when everyone is working from home.

Next, we recommend making a list of your brand values both aesthetic and ethical. As humans we’re naturally programmed to remember stories. That’s why the most impactful business gifts are ones that have a memorable story attached. And the best are the ones that reflect your brand values because they come from a place of authenticity. Use this worksheet to help you take stock of your company values.

Tip #2: Identify Your Key Gifting Moments

Hang in there. This step is arguably the hardest one out of the 10. In addition, you might be saying to yourself, “Wait, I need to send more than one gift to my clients per year?” Don’t worry. First, it only gets easier from here. And second, it’s entirely possible that you may need to send only one business gift per year. It all depends on your specific needs and goals. The idea here is to look at your gifting strategy holistically as it relates to your high-level business plans. OK, let’s dive in. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many clients or employees and/or clients do you have, and how often do you need to give gifts to them in order to meet your goals? How has that changed since the pandemic began?
  • In your industry, what are key events and/or seasons that would require gifting, e.g., tax season, company milestone celebrations, partnership anniversary, real estate peak season, thank you, and, of course, holiday?
  • What is your industry benchmark for gifting? Are there specific business gift etiquette guidelines you need to follow? How do your competitors gift? What would it look like if you rose above the competition?
  • Finally, how has all of this changed in light of the pandemic? Has it increased the necessity for gifting to stay connected?

Tip #3: Prepare for the Unexpected, as Well as Surprise & Delight

Life happens. So make sure you factor unexpected life events into your business gifting moment calculations, (e.g., the pandemic and our resulting remote work world). You never know when your client, partner, or employee is going to get engaged, have a baby, or need condolences. In addition, take note of birthdays and other personal details. Regardless of what life throws their way, you’ll be prepared to send a memorable gift that follows business gift etiquette, is personal, meaningful, and ultimately strengthens your relationship. And keep ideas for last-minute gifts and sending gifts without knowing the recipients mailing address in your back pocket.

Tip #4: Don’t Forget About Thank You Gifts

We could have wrapped this step into the last one, but we wanted to emphasize the importance of thank you gifts. These tried-and-true relationship-building gifts are the workhorse of any business gifting strategy. Plan to send them early and often throughout the year. And keep in mind that your need to send thank-you gifts might have increased due to COVID-19.

Tip #5: Determine Your Budget

Now that you’ve identified your gifting moments, it’s time to figure out your budget. First consider how your budget has changed since the pandemic began. Perhaps your industry is putting more into PPE so you have less available. Or, maybe your “wine and dine” entertainment budget is overflowing and you need to find a more efficient way to utilize it.

Next, refer to the industry standard for gift budget planning, which means approximately $75 per person for individual gifts, $150 on premium individual gifts, and $20 per person for office/team gifts. In case you’re wondering, we’ve identified these numbers through our proprietary research of business gift recipients. We’ve found that recipients consider these the sweet spots for business gifts. For additional information about what to spend on corporate gifts, check out our Business Gift Calculator.

Tip #6: Make Your Budget Work for You

In a perfect world we’d all have an infinite business gift budget. But the reality is, most of us don’t. What we recommend here is taking a tiered approach that’s driven by what’s most important to your specific business: (a) to reach a larger group of people with smaller token gifts, or (b) reach a smaller group of people with a larger, more expensive gift. Your tiered approach might look something like this: standard clients get handwritten cards, premium clients get a $50 gift, and VIP clients get $100 gifts.

Tip #7: Select the Right Gift Vendor

You want to choose a gift vendor that can easily reflect your company’s values and etiquette in terms of gift selection and branding options. Use the following criteria to help you make your decision. Need a worksheet to track your data? Download our Vendor Evaluation form here.
  • Do they ask the right questions, listen closely, and fully understand your needs?
  • In terms of gift selection, pricing, packaging, and customization options, is the vendor able to represent your brand values the way you want? ​
  • Do they offer an account manager or gift concierge expert to help analyze and guide your gifting decisions?
  • Do they provide good service? Are they flexible and do they have technical capabilities that match your needs?
  • Do you need next-level, online gifting functionality that’s beyond sending a few gifts a few times per year? Read this recent Company Store case story to learn about the possibilities. Or contact us directly for more information.
  • Do they have a solution for last-minute gifts?
  • Do they have options for sending gifts without knowing the recipients’ mailing addresses?

Tip #8: Timing Is Everything

Excluding holiday (see the next step), plan for at least three weeks for any bulk gift orders you might have. For one-off gifts, such as an unexpected client life event, a quality vendor will be able to ship your corporate gift out the same day.

Tip #9: Holiday Planning

Real talk, people! Although it may seem like it’s still the beginning of the year, in the business world, the holiday season is just around the corner. Add in a global pandemic and you have a situation that calls for urgency. So start thinking about and planning your holiday gift strategy now and shoot to have it all wrapped up (pun intended) no later than July 31st. Yes, we’re talking to you, procrastinators! Download our Holiday business gifting toolkit here.

Tip #10: Measure Your Success

The final step is to think about how you will measure the success of your business gifting program. If your goal was to generate more referrals or to better connect with your employees, did your gifting strategy work? And not just in numbers but in stronger relationships? Make a list of what worked and what didn’t ​and consider why. Were the items included personal? Did you get the timing right? Did your gift follow business gift etiquette? Use this valuable information to help guide your strategy. We recommend doing this assessment quarterly so you can make adjustments in real time.

More Information

Looking for more guidance on business gift etiquette or how to build a holistic gifting strategy that positively impacts your bottom line? Get in touch with our Customer Success Manager, Liz Furmanski or call 206-557-4525.