Let’s say you have a prospect who would be perfect for your products and services.
You know you’ll hit it out of the park for them. And they’ll be a 7 figure annual contract for you for years to come.
But how do you get in touch with them?
You can try cold emailing them. But chances are their secretary will just delete your email.
You can try sending them a postcard or direct mail campaign. But we all know that’s just going to get thrown away.
You can try hitting them up with ads on LinkedIn, but you and everyone else will be doing that.
So just how DO you get the attention of a busy executive to listen to your pitch?
Answer: You methodically build a relationship with them through a gift marketing campaign.
Benefits of a Gift Marketing Campaign
A properly executed gift marketing campaign will allow you to break through the noise your target prospect sees every single day and get their attention.
You’ll be able to build a genuine relationship with the prospect over time so that pitching your products and services will be a no-brainer.
And maybe the biggest benefit of all is, that when they know someone in their high worth network who needs your product or service, they’ll say “hey, my FRIEND can help you. Want me to introduce you?”
And most importantly, a gift marketing campaign does not stop when you land the prospect. It continues years into the future. And while this may sound like overkill, remember, these are people who are adding 6 and 7 figures of revenue to your business.
No doubt you’ll have other products and services to offer down the line that you can easily upsell to them.
That’s how powerful a gift marketing campaign can be, if done properly.
To show you this in action, we wanted to share 2 examples of a gift marketing campaign and one example of what it is not.
EXAMPLE: HORIZON CAMPAIGN
When people hire us onto their team, we execute a relationship campaign within 60 days.
The goal of this campaign is to:
- Go DEEP with our client’s most important, top-of-mind, relationships
- Show our clients value with quick relational wins
- Demonstrate how to best utilize us and get into a rhythm
That’s what happens in the first campaign/first quarter of our partnership. But the REAL MAGIC starts brewing in quarter 2…
This is when we execute (what we call) a HORIZON CAMPAIGN.
If campaign #1 is DEEP, the Horizon Campaign is WIDE. It’s about expanding focus to the (often ignored) middle-third of the relationship list. Those important humans nestled between the “couldn’t live withouts” and the “newly honeymooned.”
(It’s strange how new relationships often get our best attention and effort, isn’t it? I’ll explain why in a moment.)
Here are three DOs and DON’Ts we’ve learned from executing HORIZON CAMPAIGNS for clients.
- For those of you that partner with us, we’ll handle all these details.
- For those of you executing on your own – ignore these rules at your own peril.
Thing 1: What you should spend
- DO: maintain $100-$200 average investment.
- DO NOT: dilute the artifact quality to include more people.
Better to make a powerful statement with fewer than a so-so gesture with many. Yes, this means you’ll be excluding some people. Yes, that makes the initiative more meaningful.
And no, you should NOT worry about recipients speaking with non-recipients. If it happens, it happens. But if it happens (and ruins relationships) then we haven’t heard about it.
What you should worry about, however? Taking that middle third of relationships for granted. And the ROR (return on relationship) that never manifests because the potential was never unlocked.
Thing 2: Who should be on the list
- DO: take cross-sections of different relational categories.
- DO NOT: turn this into a ‘from the company’ gesture.
The HORIZON CAMPAIGN list should include middle-tier clients. But not JUST middle-tier clients. It should also include:
- Talent in the employee pipeline – two or three levels below the owner.
- Lower tier, but long-term customers – the good ones, not the needy ones.
- Legacy employees – don’t wait for retirement to celebrate decades of loyalty
- Potential cross-sell/up-sell targets for any new products / upcoming launches
The most important piece of the messaging: every gift should come from a PERSON, not ‘the company.’ Yes, gifting increases employee engagement, and strengthens commitment.
But it’s the quality of the boss relationship, not the brand relationship.
Thing 3: Reward past performance (even if it’s ‘been awhile’)
- DO: review the last three years of referral activity – and add accordingly.
- DO NOT: suck-up to high potential relationships with zero history.
Leaders have tremendous recency bias. We overvalue new relationships and undervalue old relationships.
But the most productive, high ROR relationships are the ones you already have.
We also have active imaginations. Ie, ‘if I could just get BALLER XYZ on my side, imagine what he could do for me!’ This is, of course, the wrong mindset. And why you need a partner to guide you.
A great relationship system removes impetuous, emotional decision-making.
We treat relationships like watering a garden. Not like going to the supermarket. If your system isn’t accumulating, snowballing, and compounding relationships like precious assets… then your system either (1) isn’t good or (2) isn’t a system at all.
We can solve all these things for you.
- We can run campaigns on your behalf – while safekeeping every detail.
- We can do it in the background – you get all the benefit, we do all the work.
- We can ensure the quality (and quantity) of your VIP relationship list.
So grows your relationships, so grows the business. Period.
EXAMPLE: TOP 20 CAMPAIGN
When we accept new clients to our annual service program (ie, we become part of your team and act as your relationship department) – our first campaign together is called TOP 20.
Here’s how it works…
“Does it have to be exactly 20 recipients?”
- No. But usually no less than 15 and no more than 35.
- 20 is a very doable number for companies installing a new relationship system.
- Too many and the experience lacks gas. Too few and there’s no pop.
“What’s the purpose of this campaign?”
- 4-out-of-5 clients use this campaign to reward referral partners.
- NOT as a ‘thanks for the referral you just gave me, but as a ‘I wouldn’t be where I am without you.’
“How do you measure success?”
- Campaigns earn relational wins. Ie, communication & appreciation
- Enough relational wins lead, organically, to a Home Run.
- “Home Run” = a new opportunity that pays for the relational system 10-300x over.
“What should I expect from my first TOP 20 campaign?”
- Contradictorily – the best givers expect nothing.
- Each client gift, each note, each follow-up = no ask, no quid-pro-quo.
- Water the relational garden and wait for the seeds to grow.
CASE STUDY: A Personal Injury Law Firm out of Louisiana
We recently received a video testimonial (always appreciated!) from a legal team that executed their first TOP 20. Mechanics and highlights:
- Created their referral partner list – 25 (not 20) of previous sources.
- Approved the items and sequences, as proposed by their GIFT∙OLOGISTs.
- Artifacts are scheduled to be received during a non-holiday, unexpected time.
Expected result: a steady drip of thank you texts and emails, maybe a phone call or two. Perhaps a social media shoutout. Planting seeds for future conversations.
Actual result: All of the above. And additionally? Two weeks after receiving the gift, one of the 25 recipients referred him to “the largest case in my inventory to date.”
- A 7-figure billable case (could be worth more, pending outcome).
- Resulting from a 1K-2K relational investment.
Would he have referred that case to him otherwise? We would like to think so. 😉
But these situations do have remarkable timing, don’t they?
I suppose I should add “immediate Home Runs NOT typical, your results may vary, etc etc.”
(This client IS a legal professional after all.)
But look. Traditional marketing has an expiration date.
- It interrupts. It gets noticed (or it doesn’t). And it dies.
- Hopefully, something happens in that brief span of interruption.
Relationship building snowballs over time.
- It’s received. Appreciated. And then appreciates.
- Done well, it’s a daily reminder that keeps the giver top-of-mind, top-of-memory.
Tell me: when are YOU going to upgrade your marketing dollars?
We will get your first TOP 20 campaign completed within 60 days of starting out.
- Pick your ideal timing, well before the holiday season (earn best results)
- Sow relational wins from the first shipment. Reward referral partners.
And let’s do things and go places where traditional marketing CANNOT take us.
EXAMPLE: CAMPAIGN WE DON’T DO
Our team has a deep menu of relational campaigns we perform for clients:
- Some based on WHO: employees, clients, prospects.
- Some based on CALENDAR: season, holidays, or planned randomness.
- Some based on INTENT: priming, impressing, or deepening.
But there’s one relational campaign we do NOT do…
The MAKEUP GESTURE. Aka, “I’m sorry… can we mend the bridge and try again?”
We won’t do it. Because rebuilding bridges requires a level of detail (and remorse) that’s impossible to outsource. You were there. Not us. And resuscitating dead relationships isn’t easy.
What causes relationships to die?
- Proximity: “we were in orbit together, now we aren’t.”
- Betrayal: “you went against your word and stabbed me in the back.”
- Humiliation: “I’ll never forget you did that, said that, etc.”
Of the three reasons above, it’s proximity I find to be the saddest connection killer. And the most common. And most preventable.
So many of us treat our relationships like elastic bands. We feel like we can bend them a little more, a little more, a little more – and that they won’t break.
Until they do.
And once a relationship has evaporated –particularly one that could have made it with a teensy bit more effort– we often think of what we could have done differently.
And we arrive at one conclusion…
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
This is why business leaders need systematic relationship building:
- You have the need, but not the time.
- You have the desire, but no playbook.
- You have the will, but not the skill.
If your relationships are NOT growing deeper and wider over-the-years, you’re building yourself a glass castle. What else, if not relationships, is going to be THE THING that takes you to the next level?
Morgan Stanley returns Elon’s calls because he’s loaded. But normal folks, like you and I, need to know the right person. We need the right connections.
Actually, no. It’s not who you know. It’s who you know… AND WHO LIKES YOU.
It’s the people that have you favorited in their phone. And will return your call in 20 minutes or less. Not because they have to. But because they want to.
Are those the types of connections you have?
Don’t let opportunities fall victim to proximity death. Be a top-of-heart, top-of-mind leader. And watch the doors that fly open.
If you want us to help you with a gift marketing campaign that will help you see a 10 to 300X your marketing investment, then click here to learn more about working with us.