Maximizing Your Gift Budget: How Much Should You Really Spend on Corporate Gifts?

October 18, 2023
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What do sales teams, customer success leads, and HR pros all have in common?

They’re all tasked with the pretty stressful job of keeping people happy. Whether you’re trying to keep an increasingly aloof prospect engaged, retain your top clients, or foster a healthy (even joyful) corporate culture, navigating so many feelings and attitudes is tough. 

One of the top ways to keep the vibes good and people pleased is to show appreciation for your clients, coworkers, and customers. And one way to do that is by giving them thoughtful, intentional gifts. But with a limited gift budget, how much should you really spend on goodies like client gifts? Is there such a thing as spending too little or too much? In this blog post, we'll discuss the average cost of a corporate gift and provide tips on how to maximize your gift budget without compromising on the quality of your client gifts.

Understanding the Importance of Corporate Gifts in Building Relationships

Building strong and lasting relationships with customers and employees is crucial for the success of any business. One impactful way to show appreciation and strengthen these relationships is through corporate gifts. 

Corporate gifting is a powerful tool that can leave a lasting impression and foster long-term loyalty. More than 90% of people want to receive a gift from their employer, and 77% equate the quality of the gift to the appreciation they feel. When account executives and customer success pros send curated, custom gifts to clients and customers, they see an average 40% ROI and, when the gift inspires an emotional connection, a 306% higher lifetime value

It’s clear that by investing in thoughtful gifts for your clients and customers, you can enhance their experience with your company and increase their satisfaction. Corporate gifts go beyond simple gestures of appreciation. They serve as a tangible reminder of your company's commitment to each recipient and can help differentiate you from your competitors. 

When customers receive a well-thought-out gift, they feel valued and acknowledged, which in turn strengthens their trust in your brand. Plus, corporate gifts can act as a subtle form of advertising, as recipients often share their positive experiences with others, leading to increased brand awareness and potential new customers. (But beware — recipients also share their negative gifts, and those tend to rack up a lot of views and bad reputations for the gifters.)

While the impact of customer gifts is undeniable, it's essential to strike the right balance in your gift spend. Overspending on extravagant gifts can create unrealistic expectations, may not yield a proportional return on investment, and could have recipients feeling extra sus of your intentions. On the other hand, underspending can send the message that you don't value your customers or employees enough. It's important to find a reasonable budget that allows you to provide meaningful and personalized gifts without breaking the bank.

Striking the Balance: Don’t Overspend or Underspend on Corporate Gifts

When it comes to corporate gifting, it's essential to strike the right balance between generic and curated, cheap and spendy, appreciative and exploitative — well, you get the gist. You don't want to overspend on extravagant gifts that may not provide a proportional return on investment. At the same time, underspending can send the message that you don't value your recipients enough. So, how do you find that sweet spot?

First and foremost, it's important to consider the value of the relationship you have with your recipient. If you have a long-standing and high-value relationship, it might be worth investing a little more in a gift that shows your appreciation. On the other hand, for new or lower-value relationships, a more modest gift may be appropriate.

Next, think about the potential return on investment of your gift. Consider how the gift will impact your client's perception of your company and whether it will foster loyalty and repeat business. It's important to remember that a thoughtful and personalized gift can have a much greater impact than an expensive but generic one.

Additionally, take into account industry norms and your competitors' practices. While you don't want to copy exactly what others are doing, understanding the average cost of corporate gifts in your industry can provide a helpful benchmark. It’s also a good point to consider the context of the gift. 

If you’re sending a gift to an employee or customer as a little pick-me-up, a package of coffee beans or a $10 gift card may do the trick. If you’re tossing out a touchpoint for a C-suite partner, spending $50 to $80 per gift is appropriate. And if you’re celebrating a major milestone for employees or clients, bump up your budget between $150 and $200 to truly mark the occasion. 

In the end, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to how much you should spend on client gifts. It depends on the specific circumstances, occasion, relationship, and goals. Just remember to find the right balance between showing your appreciation and being mindful of your budget.

Average Cost for Corporate Gifts: What's a Reasonable Budget for Your Company?

Now that we understand the importance of corporate gifts and the need to strike a balance between overspending and underspending on your recipients, let's discuss what’s considered a reasonable average budget for corporate gifts.

When determining the average cost per gift, it's essential to consider the size and industry of your company. Smaller companies might have a smaller budget, while larger companies may have more resources available for client gifts. No matter the size of your company, though, it's important to allocate a reasonable percentage of your overall marketing budget toward corporate gifts.

On average, most companies spend around 1-2% of their annual revenue on client gifts. However, this percentage can vary depending on factors such as the size of the client base, employee headcount, and the industry you operate in. For example, companies in highly competitive or luxury industries may need to invest more in client gifts to stand out.

Another factor to consider is the gifting ROI. A higher-quality, more personalized gift may have a greater impact on your client's perception of your company and foster loyalty and repeat business. While it may require a slightly higher budget and more lead time, the long-term benefits can outweigh the initial cost of bespoke gifts like these.

Ultimately, the reasonable average cost for corporate gifts will depend on your unique circumstances and relationships. It's important to consider these factors when determining your gift budget to ensure you are making a meaningful and memorable impression without spending a disproportionate amount of money.

Nailing the Personal Touch with Thoughtful, Cost-effective Gifts

Like we mentioned, finding thoughtful and cost-effective gifts for your clients and customers is essential for making the most of your gifting impact. You want to show appreciation and make a lasting impression, but you also need to be mindful of your budget. At times, these goals can contradict each other, so how can you achieve the balance you need?

One strategy is to focus on personalization. Take the time to understand your clients' preferences and interests. A personalized gift shows that you truly value and appreciate them as individuals. It can be as simple as a handwritten note or a customized item that aligns with their hobbies or passions. Personalization has the potential to add that special touch without draining your budget.

Another way to maximize impact without overspending is to consider the presentation of your gift. Thoughtful packaging can elevate the overall experience and make even a modest gift feel more special. Consider adding a handwritten note or including a small extra touch that shows you went the extra mile. And remember, every branded touchpoint from packaging color to subtly place logos solidifies the place of your company in their mind. 

Additionally, consider the timing of your gift. Sending a gift during a milestone or special occasion in your client's life shows that you are paying attention and genuinely care about their success. It doesn't have to be an expensive gift, but the timing can make it feel more significant and meaningful.

Finally, don't underestimate the power of thoughtful gestures that don't require a large financial investment. A heartfelt thank-you card, a phone call expressing gratitude, or a small act of kindness can go a long way in building strong relationships. These gestures show that you value the relationship and are willing to put in the effort to maintain it, especially when you make them a habitual part of your client relationships or corporate culture. They all add up and set your company apart.

Strategies to Maximize Impact and Efficiency in Sending Gifts to Clients

When it comes to sending corporate gifts, you want to make sure you're maximizing impact and efficiency. (Remember all the stuff about leaving a lasting impression without breaking the bank?) We whipped up a couple strategies to help you do just that.

First and foremost, consider the logistics of sending gifts. You might think that shopping for the perfect gift is the hardest part until you’re stuck in a room full of boxes and labels and packing peanuts and kitting everything by yourself. Collecting addresses, packaging, and shipping corporate gifts is tedious, time-consuming, and tiresome. Look for ways to streamline the process, such as partnering with a fulfillment company or using online platforms that specialize in corporate gifting. These resources can help you save time and ensure that your gifts are delivered promptly and efficiently.

Another strategy is to leverage technology. We no longer live in the age of dial-up and rolodexes, so it’s time to tap into all the tech at your disposal. Use customer relationship management (CRM) software to keep track of important dates, such as birthdays or anniversaries, so you can send gifts at the right time. You can also set up automated reminders to ensure you don't miss any opportunities to show your appreciation. One important note here, though, is to be conscious of the cost of these platforms. Some gifting platforms may charge you $10K just to use the platform, while other corporate gifting tools (we’re winking at you right now, trust us) don’t charge prohibitive platform or SaaS fees. Do your research and find the right tech fit for your goals.

Consider grouping gifts together. Instead of sending individual gifts to each client, consider sending a larger gift to an entire team or department. This not only saves you money but also allows you to make a bigger impact by showing appreciation to multiple people at once.

By implementing one or all of these tactics, you can squeeze the most impact and efficiency out of your client gifts. Remember, it's not just about the gift itself, but also the thought and effort you put into it.

Tying it all together: Integrating Corporate Gifting into Your Culture

When it comes to corporate gifting, it's not just about the act of giving a gift and checking off another box on your to-do list. It's about how that gift fits into your overall customer retention strategy, corporate culture, and beyond. Integrating corporate gifting into your strategy can help you strengthen relationships, increase loyalty, and, as the kids say, rizz each and every recipient.

One way to do this is by aligning your gifts with your customers' needs and preferences. By understanding their interests, you can choose gifts that are truly meaningful to them. This shows that you value their individuality and are willing to go the extra mile to make them feel appreciated. 

Use gifts as a way to surprise and delight your customers. Sending unexpected gifts on special occasions or milestones — as in, outside of the standard holiday gifting season — can create positive moments that are impossible to forget.

Add personalized notes or messages with your gifts. A simple handwritten thank-you note can make a big impact and show that you genuinely care about your customers. Personalization adds a bespoke touch and helps build stronger connections.

Lastly, make sure to follow up after sending a gift. Reach out to your customers to express your gratitude and check in on their experience. This follow-up communication shows that you are invested in their success and further strengthens your relationship.

By integrating corporate gifting into your company’s DNA, you can create a more holistic and impactful approach to building relationships with your customers, clients, and employees. Remember, it's not just about the gift itself, but how it fits into the larger picture of how you make people feel.

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Liz Lorge
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