To Gift Is to Receive
Our Annual Business Gifts Guide
By Emily Tipping
So why go to all the trouble of finding the perfect business gift? Isn't it easier just to throw in the towel now, instead of spending your company's hard-earned dollars on an item that might not have the desired effect?
If you've been on the receiving end of a well-thought-out, carefully considered and tailored business gift, you probably know how effective they can be.
Business gifts are a tradition—not just at holidays, but at events throughout the year—and there's a reason for it. According to the Incentive Federation's 2007 United States Incentive Merchandise and Travel Marketplace Study, business gifts were the second most common application of incentive merchandise. Of those using incentive merchandise, two-thirds used it for business gifts, exceeded only by merchandise used to recognize non-sales employees.
There are many reasons companies engage in the practice: to thank customers and clients for their business and solidify the relationship, to promote their business to potential customers by enhancing their reputation, to show appreciation to employees for their hard work and more. And while Joe Zanone, senior vice president of Special Markets for Movado Group Inc., said that 90 percent of business gifts are given during the holiday season, there are many times of the year when it makes sense to gift. "Business gifts are seasonal and can be tied to the seasonality of the person giving the gift and the seasonality of the business," Zanone explained. In addition to holiday gifts, he said many companies still do birthday gifts—a nice way for recipients to receive a little appreciation and recognition.
Bill Wehrman, director of marketing and corporate communications for American Express Incentive Services (AEIS), also emphasized the importance of keeping the gifts coming all year long. "It's good business practice to reward your employees and your customers on a regular basis," he said. "Certainly our peak season is September through the end of the year with holiday gifting, so there's a sort of social pressure there as well, but our premise is that gifting is a good thing throughout the year for different reasons. It's good business. It helps retain employees. It helps your customers to feel valued. The whole concept of gifting is that people do it because it's good business."