Guest Column - November/December 2013

Finding a Better 'Fit' All Around

By Brian Boucher

Unlike in the world of high fashion, where the word "trend" usually connotes a fad that is expected to fade in a short while, in our industry a "trend" is more of an evolution—a development of some importance that is expected to be around for a while.

And, so it is with what we've come to know as "event fittings."

In recent years, these try-them-all-on and choose-which-you-like events have become so increasingly popular that now everyone from brand-name sunglass manufacturers to jewelry companies to watch makers offer them. And more and more event planners and their clients are utilizing them.

One Rule on Disappointing Your People: Don't

"People in my profession have long been charged with recommending gifts for corporate event attendees," said Event Planner Dianne Brennick. "More recently, however, we've come to the realization that, rather than thinking of a gift for 'someone,' we must consider a selection of gifts for many 'someones.'"

Of course, that's not easy, especially since the golden rule in corporate gifts is that you really, really don't want to disappoint the person getting the gift. After all, who wants to get a silver bracelet when they wear gold almost exclusively? Or how would you feel if you got aviator sunglasses as a gift when you wouldn't be caught outdoors in anything but wayfarers?

Providing a range of options at an event fitting gives everyone a chance to choose something that pleases them. TCMPi embraces the idea of giving people a choice of reward products, and has christened these events ChoiceEvents, since that's what they ensure—a choice of items to fit a variety of tastes. That means there's less chance of someone being disappointed.

Getting a Gift vs. Living an Experience

We've found that there is another benefit to giving gifts at an event fitting—excitement. When you offer a selection of gifts, people start to have fun. They kibitz. They joke. They laugh. Friends get goofy trying on sunglasses. Colleagues "ooh" and "ahh" over jewelry choices. Team members compare and congratulate one another on their watch selections. Best of all, no one leaves disappointed.

In fact, an event fitting is an event, in and of itself, just as a golf tournament, an awards banquet or a theatrical performance is an event within the corporate event.

Don't Worry About the Budget

For those who are skeptical about the dollars involved, Brennick offers this insight: "There are product selections to fit many budgets. You can even get tiered packages at different price points for different levels of achievement."

Look at it this way: The typical "swag bag" gives you a lot less bang for the buck than a product selection with event fittings. Swag bags often involve choosing multiple gifts in an effort to please everyone and can become budget busters.

Event fittings, on the other hand, have a much higher emotional appeal. What person wouldn't want to choose his or her own gift? And just think of the story-telling possibilities when she tells her friends where and how she got that great gift.

So, why not let them choose what they want at the price you want to pay? Then you're sure they'll be happy—often without you having spent a dime more (and sometimes having spent less) than you planned.