It’s one of the most popular ways to gift new clients, employees and prospects alike.

According to demandgenreport.com, B2B organizations spend $226K per year on swag.  According to the State of Swag Report, this money is spent on Apparel, drink ware, backpacks, gadgets, and electronics.

Giving swag, or branded corporate gifts, may sound like a great way to spend marketing dollars and win over the hearts and minds of your prospects and employees. 

A caveat to this is if you have a VERY popular lifestyle brand that people would be proud to wear your swag.  This is a brand like Harley Davidson, where you’ll see people wearing their merch in every day life. 

Most B2B brands do not fit into this category. When was the last time you saw someone wearing an IBM or Cisco shirt?

After reading this article, we hope that you re-consider giving branded corporate gifts as part of your marketing or employee loyalty campaign.

There are better ways for you to be spending your gifting dollars.

Benefits of Corproate Gifting

Before I share the reasons why branded corporate gifts are a waste of money, I want to share the reason why you’ll want to send a corporate gift in the first place.

Helps You Build Relationships

A strategic corporate gift will help you build and solidify relationships with people who are going to move the needle in your business.

For instance, they may be prospective clients who are going to sign million-dollar annual contracts, or they are star employees who you want to make sure know how much they mean to you.

But this can only work IF the gift is used.  

For instance, if you give your recipient a mug with your logo on it, do you really think they’re going to use it?  Or are they going to burry it in some desk drawer and never think about it again.  Out of site, out of mind.

High ROR

We don’t use the term ROI as much as we use ROR, Return on Relationship.  

Here’s why.

A solid ROI requires a return as quickly as possible.  If you put $1 into a marketing campaign, you need to see $3 right away.

With a ROR, we are looking to build relationships over time.  When we put $1 into a relationship campaign, we are going to see hundreds of dollars paid out over the course of years!

The 7 Keys to a Great Corporate Gift

1. Practical

Make sure your gift is beneficial to the recipient. Most swag is designed to be an advertisement for your company, not a way to benefit the recipient.  Does someone really want to use your mug or wear your shirt?  Or is it going to be given away or lost to clutter?

2. Personalized

To stand out from the crowd, create some personalization in your gift.  People tend to feel good when they see the gift is personalized.  

3. Best-in-class

You absolutely can not compromise the quality in any way. So, try getting a product of the highest quality within your budget.   This should be a gift that your recipient’s grandkids will want to use down the line.

4. Luxury

To find an appropriate gift for customers, browse their social accounts to determine their interests and hobbies. Perhaps get them something they wouldn’t buy for themselves but would appreciate a lot if given to them.

5. Handwritten Notes

Don’t underestimate the value of personalizing your message by hand-delivering it or penning a handwritten note clarifying your intentions. Notes are always a way to add a special touch to anything.

6. Including Inner Circle

Another point to remember when you’re giving a gift is how you can make it useful for the recipient’s family.

We can’t tell you how many clients’s have come to us and said “my wife is your biggest sales advocate.  She absolutely loves the gift that you sent us!”

7. Create Continuity

Try to create a theme or pattern with your gifts. In this way, you can make sure that the customers are looking forward to getting your gift. Multiple gifts can snowball an emotional impact on the customers.

3 Reasons Why Branded Corporate Gifts are a Bad Idea

With that being said, let’s take a look at three reasons why branded corporate gifts are a complete waste of your marketing dollars.

Not Practical

Remember, practical means that the person is going to use your gift 3-5 times per week.  We want the recipient to think of you every time they use it.  The more they think of you and yoru business, the fonder they’ll feel about it.

But with a branded gift like a corporate mug or a shirt with your logo, that is never going to happen.

How many times per week can a person wear the same shirt?  DEFINITELY NOT 3 times per week.  Wouldn’t smell too good by Friday.  

And how many mugs with company logos do you have stuffed in drawers, cabinets, and cupboards?  If you’re like me, more than you can count.

And how often do you use them?  Almost never.  I use them only when I’m too lazy to empty the dishwasher and there’s absolutely nothing else for me to use. 

Long story short: you want to give a gift that will be practical so that your recipient will think fondly of you every time they use it.

Not Personalized

A branded corporate gift is the exact opposite of personalized.

Nothing says impersonal quite like “let’s order a hundred mugs with our logo on it to gift our clients”.

You want your recipient to feel special when they open your gift.  You want them to believe that you put some time and effort into giving them their gift.  

A personalized gift could be one where you engrave their name to the gift.  

Or it could be one where you embroider a personal message letting the recipient know what they mean to you – or thanking them for their contribution to your company.

Not Best-In-Class

For us, Best-In-Class carries a lot of weight.

We only ask one question:  Will the recipient’s grandchildren want to use the gift that you’ve given them?

If the gift you’re giving is a walking advertisement for your company, the answer to that question will be a resounding “no”.

How many times do you pass on a shirt with another company’s logo on it?  Probably never.

Then why do you think that your recipient would do the same?

Final words…

Unfortunately, branded corporate gifts can seem like a great idea, but after further analysis, I hope that you can see that you wouldn’t want to waste your money.

But if you’re looking for a fulfillment service that has ALL that and more, get in touch with us, and we’ll help you craft a gifting service that caters to your business needs.