When we decide on a price for our products and services we have established our chosen profit margin. As part of that process we figure in cost of marketing, but this figure does not always include purchasing gifts for our clients. Gifts are often purchased on a whim, or out of guilt or gratitude. Business gifting should be a part of marketing costs, and gifts should be viewed as marketing tools.
Once we establish an annual budget or a % of purchase price to be designated for gifting we can begin to plan every year on appropriate gifts for clients that are;
1) marketing tools
3) appropriate in cost
4) part of a branding program.
All of these factors should be considered for each and every gift.
1) Marketing tool: The gift says a lot about your company and your relationship to client. If it is a gift with advertising then it is considered just that, ....advertising (not a gift). As a marketing tool (not advertising), gift should reflect your companies values and mission statement.
Example: Car repair shop mission... to provide proper preventitive maintainence and repairs for our customers to keep their car in best possible working condition at all times. Gift ideas might include a tire pressure gauge in an attractive box, automotive maintainence book for glove compartment, % off coupons for next scheduled maintanence, or a gift certificate for a car wash.
Realtor mission...to provide help in all aspects of buying or selling a home or commercial property. Book on home repair, free gardening service for 2 months, gift certificate to Home Depot, one night stay in vaction area where client might think of purchasing a vacation home.
2) consistent: Once you have decided to give gifts you MUST make it as much as part of sale as signing of contact. Consistency is critical. If you give a gift once and then never again value of gift deminishes with each sale thereafter. It may vary in form from gift baskets, to coupons, to greeting cards, to gift baskets again, but it must be a part of sale. It is possible to make a habit of gifting annually as well but it's not good to give same gift to all clients, especially in niche markets where clients might know each other.