Counselor Commentary: Capitalize On Gift-Giving Trends

Employees Want Gifts, And Companies Are Spending More On Them

Gift GivingHere are two pieces of good news as we head into the corporate gift-giving season. #1: The days of showing up to the work holiday gathering in a reindeer sweater and toasting co-workers while singing "Frosty the Snowman" could be waning. According to the 2013 Holiday Business Gift Survey by Lands' End Business Outfitters, the percentage of employees preferring a holiday gift (rather than a holiday party) from their employer grew 12 percentage points compared to a year ago, to a whopping 80%. While that may be bad news for those who need a good excuse to don a lampshade, it can only be good for distributors selling promotional gifts.

And, here's #2: According to the just-released ASI Corporate Gift Giving Survey of 561 corporate end-buyers, companies are spending more per-gift this year for both employees (about $45 dollars compared to $42) and clients and prospects (about $34 compared to $26). Gift cards still rank the highest among gifts from both employees and clients, but food and beverages, apparel and calendars also remain popular choices. "I think budgets are loosening and employers are shifting their focus to recognizing and thanking their employees during the holiday season," says Jim Guarneri, national account director with 2020 Promotions Inc. (asi/170720).

So what does all of this mean for distributors? It's time to ramp up the creativity when selling corporate gifts. Talk to clients and prospects about their holiday plans. If they're waffling on the annual get together, show them data that might persuade them to use promotional gifts instead. Pull out the results of ASI's Global Ad Impressions Study, and point to the fact that 53% of recipients of ad specialties feel more positive about advertisers after receiving a promotional item.

At the same time, knowing that some clients are more willing to open their wallets and spring for nicer gifts this year, step up the options that you show them. Don't just present last year's selections and see if they want to re-order. Tell them it's time for an upgrade; show "good, better, best" options of what you think might work for them.

Finally, get in the holiday spirit. Create a 60-second holiday video (don't be intimidated – you can use your iPhone) showcasing some popular, high-quality gift options, and push it out to both clients and prospects. Show pictures of new holiday gift ideas on social media platforms. And put a "holiday gift of the day" idea on your website. Get in the spirit and focus on upselling every customer this holiday. It could be the best gift you give yourself.