Tech Line

The Right Audience-Engagement Strategy: It’s A Gift

While the “holiday season” is the traditional time that most brands participate in corporate gifting, there’s ample opportunity to lean into a gifting strategy throughout the year. With more than 50 percent of the U.S. population continuing to work remotely and more than one-third of U.S. consumers reporting digital fatigue, marketers need every strategy that will help their brands stand out to their digitally overwhelmed customers.

In the past, many companies were able to foster new and existing customer relationships with digital-first approaches—this included social media advertising and personalized email messaging. However, in our new hybrid world, marketers need to pivot to incorporate more personalized, tangible elements that will combat consumer exhaustion and disengagement.

The emotional power of offline marketing tactics, such as the appropriate giving of gifts—based on the insight available from following captured behavioral data—hold the potential to delight audiences and drive deeper connections that can create significant value.

In 2019, digital marketing played a central role in companies’ audience-engagement strategies. Faced with digitally savvy and engaged consumers, many companies poured their marketing dollars into updating digital marketing mixes and optimizing campaign content for mobile platforms.

In the two years since, the excessive reliance on digital platforms—for social interaction, careers, hobbies, and more—during the pandemic has forever altered marketing-engagement expectations. Choosing to shift a company’s marketing efforts away from a digital-first approach to what we call “the hybrid experience” will enhance customer engagement and elicit favorable emotional responses. In fact, with 72 percent of consumers in favor of receiving relevant direct mail, incorporating personalized gifts into a company’s marketing plans during every season of the year can be an effective way to transform audience engagement.

Three Ways to Engage Customers and Prospects

Adapting audience-engagement tactics to meet a digitally fatigued audience might seem like a daunting task. However, marketers can successfully accomplish this and see promising ROI by incorporating truly engaging and personalized gifts into their customer outreach strategies. To succeed in inspiring joy among recipients—and experience the resulting business benefits—companies must emphasize personalization, timeliness, and physical connection.

  1. Personalization: Reaching out to current or future customers, employees, or other business prospects without personalizing the content is an easy way to waste money and squander an opportunity for connection. Consumers today primarily engage with the content that stands out from the barrage of information they receive daily. Ninety-one percent of consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that treat them as unique individuals. Incorporating personalization into your strategy will help foster an emotional affinity for your brand.
  2. Timeliness: Keep gifts timely to remain relevant and engaging. Daily, recipients are faced with large quantities of rapidly developing information. Getting creative and sending gifts that coincide with a quirky holiday or the general season can be a great way to genuinely connect with the recipient and stand out.
  3. Physical Connection: Sending gifts to an audience fosters a unique physical connection, one that brands can benefit from because of the emotional power tied to such initiatives. Furthermore, it can establish recipients’ trust in a brand and make them feel valued.

Something Small, Something Sweet, Something that Wows ‘Em

To get started, here are three gift categories that will engage the digitally fatigued and make your company stand out.

  • Send something small but sweet. A beautifully packaged chocolate or a personalized card can show your appreciation in a simple but meaningful way, and it is a cost-effective approach to reach a larger audience.
  • Keep it relevant and on-theme. Companies should pick a personalized theme that will stand out to their customers and prospects by packaging together several items that work in tandem to create a meaningful whole.
  • Go for the “wow” factor. Companies hoping to give more sophisticated gifts can take their strategy a step further, wowing recipients with top-of-the-line surprises. If brands are looking to show long-term customers, executives, or partners their appreciation with a higher budget item, they should consider gifts that are practical and engaging, such as a Bluetooth speaker or an insulated coffee mug.

Ready to Give It a Go?

Corporate gifting, when used in tandem with digital insights and as part of an overall marketing strategy, has the potential to engage and delight a company’s intended audience, as well as boost business outcomes all year long.

Here are a few gift ideas that we at PFL have found to be very successful and easy to do:

  • We send employees anniversary gifts to celebrate their yearly milestones and thank them for their hard work and dedication to the company.
  • We have a gift that we send to expecting prospects and customers to congratulate them on their new baby.
  • We have a wine package that we send to customers, prospects, or partners to congratulate them on professional/personal milestones or simply use as “thank you” gift.

There are hundreds of such ideas. If you would like to explore these and other hybrid experience options with us, here’s a look at our “Hybrid Experience Idea Book.”