Feature Article - July/August 2013

Give and You Will Receive

Accessories, Traditional Goods Dominate Business Gifts

By Deborah L. Vence

What you give is what you get back.

And, the same can be said for corporate gift-giving, which is on an upward swing right now, with companies continuing to put money aside to reward employees or thank customers—whether budgets call for it or not.

"There is definitely an increase in corporate gift-giving. As companies increase budgets, whether they want to or not, there will be increased dollars set aside for showing appreciation to your best customers. To not do this is just silly. Like many parts of a company's budget, this is an investment that will show return," said Kevin Dougherty, director of special markets for Seiko Corporation of America.

"When you show your customers, vendors, even employees that you appreciate them, their appreciation comes back twofold. It also gives you a competitive edge—if 'they' are doing it and you are not, there could be ramifications," he said.

Likewise, Brian Rivolta, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Incentive Concepts, said that budgets appear to be growing in this category of the incentive channel.

"People recognize the need for gifting and understand that it is an investment," he said. "Whether it is an investment in employee retention, customer retention, or vendor relations, business gifting can be a very effective tool."

Shelly Colla, sales manager, premium incentives, Sony Electronics Inc., noted that business is on the uptick, but what's not necessarily great is the fact that the average selling price is going down in consumer electronics.

"But, it's good news for our customers," she said. "[Also], we're seeing a trend where there is erosion in point-and-shoot cameras. [People are] willing to spend to step up to high-end cameras or a tablet, or something in that higher price range, where they will get more for their money," she said. "They are spending more time, asking more questions about what they are going to spend the money on, for the right person or target audience."