Christmas and gifts go hand in hand. But not all gifts carry the same weight. When it comes to sending out presents to clients, there’s a lot that can go wrong. A gift should ideally show your customer that you are thankful for their custom, that they are valued, and that you have thought about them.
Done right, gifts help you strengthen existing relationships and develop new ones. With that all said, however, here’s my list of Christmas gifts you shouldn’t give to your clients… Avoid the following at all costs!
The Random Gift
A gift that has no purpose or sense of belonging says exactly that! Now, OK, I have slightly exaggerated here with the metal detector sandals however sending a gift simply because you feel obligated to results in tone deaf Christmas presents. This doesn’t tend to build relationships – it harms them. It only shows that you don’t know your clients well enough to find a present that resonates with who they are and the industry they work in.
The Practical, Branded Gift
Pens, brochures, and notepads with your logo on them are not appropriate Xmas gifts! You give these items away for free at other promotional occasions and that says exactly what they are for - to get more business! Tone it down, and again, keep your client in mind. It’s not all about you!
The Food Intolerance Gift
Watch out when sending out food related gifts. Boxes of chocolate might seem like a safe bet, but if you send it to a client with a dairy intolerance, then your gift is headed straight for the nearest bin. Likewise, sending a vegetarian a voucher for a steak house isn’t likely to go down as a treat.
The Gift Born Out of an Incorrect Assumption
So, you’ve got an event lined up for the New Year. You’ve put loads of work into it and you think: ‘A discount code would be a fine gift for my clients.’ Well, 25% off might seem generous to you but if your client had no intention of attending the event in the first place, it just feels like you are ramming your marketing and event down their throats. This sort of gift comes across as shameless (or desperate) self-promotion. Not. Very. Christmassy.
The Gift for the Wrong Audience
If a client runs a software, technology or digital marketing company, a leather-bound desk calendar is probably not going to kick it. Consider your audience, and don’t waste your money on something they are obviously not going to use.
The Hierarchical Gift
Now we all know that some clients spend more than others do with you but be aware, just as social media has changed and disrupted how we go about our daily business, it could be said it has disrupted gift giving as well! If you have ‘special gifts’ for your larger, more profitable clients, be aware that they are likely to take a picture of it, tweet it and say thanks, so all your tier two clients now feel they got gazump!
The Obvious One
Lastly but not least… We’ve all had that gift. We’ve all untangled a mess of wonderful ribbon and enticing wrapping paper only to find… disappointment. So, don’t send your clients a pair of socks, no matter how cleverly branded they are.
Sending Christmas presents to your clients takes time and effort. Don’t waste it, and don’t squander this opportunity to spread some good festive love. We know it is a busy time of year and having to think about what Santa is going to bring your family, let alone the random Secret Santa office gift or that extra special present for your better half is difficult enough!
Whatever way you look at it, it’s going to cost you, it’s going to take time to organise and it’s going to add, or detract from your agency’s brand. So make your gifts stand out for the right reasons. We always aim to give something fun, quirky, light hearted, and as inclusive to all our users as possible. It is the holidays after all – get in the spirit, be considerate and thoughtful, and share the love.
Wendy McDougall is Chief Fish of Firefish Software. In her spare time, you'll find her playing squash or feeding her inner geek with the latest technology!