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Premium Incentive Products Magazine - Products and Ideas That Inspire Performance

Finding a Better 'Fit' All Around

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.

Simplicity Is a Turnkey Event

While most clients really like the idea of making their event attendees happy, the turnkey aspect of event fittings makes them very happy as well. After all, both event planners and their clients have more than enough to do when they're putting together an event. Who needs more to do?

Event fittings are pretty much a one-step process for the client. Once the choice of gifts is decided (and there are dozens of options and more are added every day), everything gets done for them. The product (in all its iterations) is drop-shipped along with display materials and literature if it's needed. The vendor makes all the arrangements and sets up the product display (sometimes several times if there are multiple showings). The actual fitting is handled by the vendor or the manufacturer's representative, and they also take care of returning any products, the paperwork and any other details.

As Brennick said, "Corporate events are really busy times. What with accommodations, food, transportation, awards, activities and sometimes dozens if not hundreds of individual needs to take care of, I'm really not the person to be helping guests pick out their gifts. I'm just spread too thin. That's why I like event fittings. I turn the whole thing over to my vendor and that is it! What could be easier than a ChoiceEvent? Nothing."

The Bottom Line? Gifts That Mean More

Sure, most people appreciate receiving a gift. But they don't want to feel like the 10-year-old whose parents went on vacation and brought back a T-shirt that read, "My parents went to San Diego and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."

Given a choice, that kid would have chosen something else as a gift. In fact, most people prefer to choose for themselves. And, as much as they like having a choice, they like having a good time and sharing their experience with others. When you offer a selection of gifts with an event fitting, you are doing more than giving someone a gift—you're giving them a memory. That shows consideration and respect on your part. And in return they'll show appreciation on their part.

For the past five years, Brian Boucher, a self-coined Incentive Travel Gift Expert, has worked at The Corporate Marketplace with promotional products and incentive companies, as well as corporate meeting planners to fulfill their various program gifting needs. Boucher heads up TCMPi's rapidly expanding ChoiceEvents division, deploying event staff to run on-site fitting experiences worldwide for many of the world's finest brands, including Ray-Ban, Alex & Ani, Oakley and Tommy Bahama, as well as custom drop-ship gift galleries. For more information, visit

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