Throughout history, the act of offering a gift has been considered honorable and a way to build relationships, and as such, corporate gifting continues to gain prominence as a preferred marketing tool across the world. Given that over 81% of people read their mail and over 70% of those scan their mail, businesses of any size should consider having gifting campaigns as part of their marketing strategies.
This article seeks to shine a light on not-so-well-known rules to follow when curating corporate gifts for your campaigns. We will discuss some aspects such as cultural and interpersonal differences, the effects gift-giving may have on relationships – a make or break kind of analysis, and a handful of other factors to consider before launching gifting campaigns. Keep scrolling for some essential corporate gifting pearls of wisdom.
Why NOT generalize when gifting?
In the business world, the above is quite self-explanatory. There is far too much at stake to throw every business relationship in the same basket – we’ll work with some hypothetical scenarios to explain why. Corporation A, with a sum of 20 international allies and prospects spread across five continents, is celebrating a milestone. The marketing campaign manager proposes launching a gifting campaign for the business to celebrate with its partners and potential clients. So, they curate dozens of similar gift baskets and ship them off to their recipients’ mailboxes. Each recipient, regardless of their religion, cultural background, and industry, receives the same gift.
On the other hand, Corporation B, which boasts a similar international profile, is also celebrating a milestone. In the same breath, the marketing campaign manager proposes and launches a gifting campaign to stretch their celebration beyond their borders. However, before deciding on the types of gifts to send their partners and prospects, they do thorough research to distinguish between the different regions’ values and customs. This results in a variety of gift baskets being delivered to their intended recipients.
Looking at the above examples, it is clear that both corporations had a similar goal. To retain, attract, and reward their partners. However, only one of them took the time and liberty to consider the uniqueness of each recipient and how their cultures (or preferences) may warrant more ‘appropriate’ gifts.
Let’s delve into the ten things you should consider when launching your gifting campaigns:
1. The Culture aspect
As mentioned above, the global village isn’t only divided by borders that represent each nation’s sovereignty. There are traditions, customs, and contrasting values that further distinguish one group from another. While one group may be open to receiving gifts all year round, another group may have religious observation periods that do not allow receiving or giving of gifts. It is, therefore, in the sender’s best interest to familiarize themselves with the cultures and customs of their intended recipients to avoid insulting, while the intention is to entice. Through Giftsenda, you’ll have access to catalogs curated with locally sourced gifts that are region appropriate, so you rest assured that your gifts will indeed entice.
2. The Industry aspect
Would you send chocolate gifts to an enterprise that manufactures and distributes chocolates? Exactly! Senders need to consider this little detail when deciding on corporate gifts. Thorough research and client/prospect knowledge will not only help avoid such mistakes from occurring but will assist in creating or strengthening existing relationships. Essentially, it’s the thought that will count more than the actual gift – if you choose it wisely.
3. The relationship aspect
While culture is the primary determinant of when what and how to gift, the kind of relationship is a deciding factor too. The sender needs to understand the nature of their relationship with the recipient, and there needs to be a consensus. For example, the Malay only participate in gift-giving with close friends and family. Strangers are seldom brought into this unless gifting is unavoidable (think of a corporate gift from a company to a staff member). Gifts are thought to be intimate and personal in some parts of the world, so determining the nature of the relationship should be a pre-gifting priority too. If you need help selecting appropriate gifts, our multicultural customer service team is available to provide guidance on the traditions of gift giving and can help with gift selections for various occasions.
4. Appropriate vs. inappropriate
This is another point that touches significantly on the application of culture and relevance. Even between businesses, some elements distinguish one entity from another. For example, a manager in the general entertainment industry would appreciate a witty and comical gift, but we can’t say the same about a banking sector employee, given the need for formality. Yes, we touched on the industry element above, but even with gifts that align with a particular industry, there’s a thin line between what’s appropriate and what’s utterly unacceptable. To help you use the scale better, here are some questions to ask yourself before signing off on a gifting campaign:
Who is the intended recipient?
What is the recipient’s role in the company?
Are you aware of their personal preferences?
What is the purpose of the gift?
When is it appropriate to send the gift?
What message will you add to the gift?
Because we know that answering these questions can be hard sometimes, our gifting platform provides the option to allow recipients to choose a gift to increase the chances of your business making the right impression.
5. Understand international corporate gifting laws
Surprising as it may seem, some laws govern the sending and receiving of gifts in some regions, and not adhering to such may result in negatively affected business relationships. As such, rules that govern gifting have been established by the SEC, and familiarizing your teams with these will aid in even more effective gifting campaigns.
6. Decide on a budget
Getting your ducks in a row in terms of finance is sure to remove the stress from planning and launching your corporate gifting campaigns. Now that you’re familiar with your recipients and the rules that govern corporate gifting in their regions, you can decide on how much of your marketing funds will go into pruning your existing business relationships while cultivating new ones.
7. Highlight your business identity
Simply put, gifts sent to your recipients are meant to entice them and help forge a new business relationship. However, it is essential to consider the identity element before pressing send. You know who they are and have done enough research to understand how your service offerings can benefit their businesses, but do they know you? Ensuring that your gifts highlight your business and its values will be instrumental in getting reactions of gratitude for your gifts. Your recipients will get a glimpse of your business, and that’s what you want to happen.
8. Send a message with a call to action
At this stage, you’ve checked most boxes for a successful gifting campaign and are ready to get moving. Now, as the final touch, make sure that the messages that accompany your gifts are calls to action. That is, be explicit about your desire to have a more formal meeting or an introductory session, and your recipients will respond accordingly.
9. Choose a gifting platform that tailors your experience
This is arguably the most important tip on the list, and we know why! There are scores of corporate gifting platforms to choose from, but there’s never enough time to vet them all. Right? Well, Giftsenda offers you and your team automated corporate gifting at any scale that you would require, whether you have a small business or a large enterprise. We remove the manual aspect of gifting, simplify address data collection, and offer excellent reporting functions. This way, you can focus on effectively measuring your ROI, and tweaking your campaigns for better optimization.
10. Understand that there is such a thing as ‘Gifts to avoid’
Yes, bad gifts do exist. While factors like budget, time constraints, and intention must be considered when curating gifting campaigns, there are a few items that should never make it to gifting lists. Again, the need to apply the thin line theory. Discretion is indeed the center of all moral avenues, but even that falls short when it comes to the sensitive act of gifting. For this reason, we’ve compiled the below list to help you steer clear of gift items that could potentially tarnish your entity’s reputation.
I. Cheap gifts
II. Gifts that are too expensive – In some parts of the world, reciprocation is an integral part of the gifting culture. So gifts that are too pricey may put unnecessary pressure on the recipient.
III. Suggestive gifts
IV. Gifts that are too personal
V. Pet gifts
VI. Alcohol (culture dependant)
Now that we’ve highlighted all the factors to consider before deciding on your gifts and emphasized what items to avoid, all together, setting up your international gift campaigns should be much easier.
The Giftsenda platform doesn’t only help you plan your campaigns effectively, but you can also allow your recipients to consent to receive your gifts. This way, the possibilities of getting it wrong are minimized. Additionally, you are given access to a reporting dashboard that allows you to track your campaigns’ performance, enabling you to make tweaks and adjustments to enhance conversions.
Ready to get started with corporate gifting on a global scale? Book a 30 minute demo with one of our Gift Campaign Managers to see how our gifting platform works and to get access to a free trial.