Holiday Gifts and Giving

We are taking a break from talking about trade shows, to address the timely topic of Holiday gifts, cards and other expressions of thanks to your customers and prospects.

While Christmas is still 6 weeks away, it is not too soon to think about your company holiday gifts. In addition to giving gifts for Christmas, you could, if you are organized, still do something for Thanksgiving, making you really stand out from the crowd.

There are many categories of recipients, and many categories of gifts. The trick is to match the appropriate gift to the appropriate recipient. You can give your employees a gift card, thanks for another year of hard work in these tough times; but you should not give your clients and prospects a gift card. Unless, that is that, you sent it in such a way that will keep you top of mind even long after the gift card is spent. We will talk about presentation methods in another post later this week.

For now, I would like to focus on making your list, figuring out your categories and matching the two together.

Many years ago, one of my customers, a large firm in the building trades industry, had, for probably close to 50 years, been giving the building engineers and maintenance crew foremen the same gift as the building owners. This just did not work. For the most part the life style of the building engineer was such that the gift of a Rosental vase was not truly appreciated. But, this gift giving practice had been going on long before they became my client, and so each year I would follow the instructions and bring them a selection of the high end fancy gift. This gift was always geared to use in the home. One year in a down cycle for the industry, the client called me looking for a way to cut costs. My instructions to them then, are what I want to share with you today. Look at your list. Determine who falls into which category, both lifestyle and gift value. Now match the gift to the category. In their case, this meant that instead of giving everyone the fancy bowl that year, we got them an imprinted instant read thermometer for the engineers and maintenance guys. The building crews loved their gift, and the building owners liked theirs. A few of the thermometer recipients even called to ask if they could get a second one. It was practical to their jobs, and life style, and truly appreciated. As a bonus to the client, they saved several thousand dollars that year.

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