At Allieway Marketing, we are constantly creating new ways for our clients (and ourselves) to leave a mark on a targeted audience. When it comes to gifts and marketing collateral, we have found that thoughtfulness, authenticity and creativity are most important if your goal is to differentiate yourself as a professional. Yes, sending a note to a client and saying “Congrats on signing a new account” or a bottle of champagne on a birthday are thoughtful but we always push ourselves and our clients to go a step further by using thoughtful integration.
To successfully grab the attention of your recipient, it is important to ask yourself 3 things:
- What will speak to the recipient?
- Marketing is all about identifying an audience and strategically and effectively communicating to that audience. If you are trying to grab the attention of an editor at a trendy blog in hopes they may feature your interior design company, don’t send them a branded tote with a pen and notebook. Go outside the box!
- What feels the most on brand for you?
- At the end of the day, you are trying to market you and your brand. What you put out into the world should look and feel like you! Communicating thoughtfully and creatively does not mean sacrificing authenticity.
- How does my thoughtfully-integrated gift help me achieve my end goal?
- Always consider your end goal. If your goal is to express gratitude, make sure your gift communicates appreciation. If your goal is to express your pursuit of a new client, make your intent clear.
For those of you looking to go the extra mile in business (and in life!) here are some of our favorite thoughtfully-integrated gifting ideas to help get you started:
Edible Tokens of Appreciation
One of our favorite discoveries is branded M&M’s! When we walk away from a perspective client meeting or networking event, we like to leave behind a little something sweet. M&M makes business card holders that not only hold your card but also a handful of branded candy.
Another treat that can be a leave behind or follow up to a meeting is a branded cupcake. Many bakeries have the ability to customize frosting. If you can’t find any local spots who can do custom frosting, you can also order online.
If you want to leave a lasting impression after a meeting or express your gratitude to an individual or a company– doing so with a thoughtfully curated gift basket can really hit the mark. Here are some fun items to include (each with branding opportunities):
- Bubbly! First, double check that your recipient is a fan of alcohol and then get to customizing.
- Snacks! Fact: everyone loves snacks. To make your bites extra special, consider keeping them part of theme. For example, if you are congratulating someone on a big promotion to Editor in Chief and wanting to send champagne, send champagne snacks
- Local Swag! Welcome someone to your community or show off your home town by giving them the ‘best of’ in a basket. We like to stock up on Durham, North Carolina themed items at our favorite spot to shop, Parker and Otis.
- Your product! If you design footwear, send shoes (in the right size). If you are an artist, send prints. If you create custom scents, send perfume (customized for your recipient).
- Don’t forget packaging! We use Allieway’s colors in our tissue paper, bows, and basket/box selections.
On a related note – USB drives in and of themselves don’t make for an exciting gift but if part of the package you are sending to someone contains a presentation, images, or a video that needs to be delivered via thumb drive – make it branded!
At Allieway, we like to be as different as possible and therefore do our big gift giving on Valentine’s Day. Rather than Christmas/New Year holiday gifts, consider selecting another time to reach out. If you simply can’t imagine not gifting in December, make sure whatever you send stands out.
Press Day Take Away
Product Brands and PR Mavens – listen up! It is important that you leave your editors with a take away after a product launch or press day. If you design ready-to-wear, accessories, or beauty products, this is a no brainer — send your editors home with product. However, if you are a furniture designer, you can’t exactly pack up a chaise for every person who visits your show room!
This is when we start thinking outside the box. What is something that could be enjoyed by men, women, millennials, etc? One of our favorite outside the box ideas was for the launch of a client’s country-western inspired women’s e-tailer. The product itself didn’t exist yet so we didn’t have anything to offer the editors at the press day. To be on theme we decided to send our guests off with mini succulents. We customized the planter with both the name of the editor and the brand’s logo. Not only was everyone excited to put something green on their desks but they were also excited to post their customized plants on Instagram (using the hashtag we also had emblazoned on their thoughtfully integrated press day present).
Last but certainly not least – don’t forget what you learned from our last post when writing the note to accompany your thoughtfully integrated gift!
What is your favorite way to gift thoughtfully in business?
(photo: Kelli Boyd Photography for The Southern C)