Coming up with corporate gift ideas that truly delight every single recipient is impossible. Unless you’re using your guest database that is. Besides elevating your events, your database is your secret weapon when it comes to finding corporate gift ideas that impress. As we’ve blogged about before, the more you know about your guests, the easier it is to give them relevant experiences (and gifts) that truly resonate. Unfortunately, few brands are using their database to do this, relying instead on generic gifts that do more harm than good.

Gifting your clients with a generic gift is the equivalent of presenting a friend with soap-on-a-rope on Christmas morning

Ill thought-out, generic gifts that are the opposite of personal, relay the sentiment that you couldn’t be bothered to take the time to think about what your guests would actually like to receive.

We’ve previously written about how corporate gift ideas as we know them (branded pens, lanyards, USB drives) are outdated, and end up achieving the opposite of your marketing objectives. As brands up the ante of their marketing efforts in order to capture the hearts (and wallets) of their customers, one-size-fits all corporate gift ideas will only accomplish a negative sentiment about your brand (not to mention wasting your most precious commodities – time and money).

The first and foremost commandment of corporate gifting is ‘Thy shall use your data’

Your guest database gives you insight into who your guests are, as well as the way they interact with your brand. As with any other marketing endeavour (of which events play a crucial role), your database is paramount in helping you to understand your guests. By using the information you have about them, you’ll be able to determine which corporate gift ideas are the best fit.

Data-driven corporate gift ideas are a crucial part of your marketing strategy and go a long way in assisting your efforts to create brand evangelists.

Corporate gifts that are based on data are a powerful way to delight customers and employees alike. In an age where consumers are ever-wary of the intentions of a brand, authentic, personal connections are essential. By giving your existing and potential clients thoughtful, personalised gifts, you’ll be able to facilitate loyalty and ultimately, buy-in. Use the data you already have at your disposal: their demographics, occupation and location, as well as their preferences of accommodation, drinks, and food (if they’ve chosen a Halaal option, you’ll know to send them a ‘thank you for your patronage’ gift instead of a Christmas present) all help you to paint a detailed picture of the person behind the name.

In order to choose the most appropriate corporate gift ideas, however, you’ll need a well-organised database, and the software to maximise its efficacy.

Using a database to segment clients, guests and employees based on personal criteria is a powerful way to not only choose your corporate gift ideas, but power-up your entire offering. In order to make sure your collecting the right information, you’ll need to make use of Event Management Software. You’ll be able to collect the information you need, and access it easily from a central dashboard. Our Guest Concierge Management software is updated in real time too – so whenever a guest RSVPs or checks-in, their profile will automatically reflect any changes in their personal details.

Download our (free) ‘Guide to Turning Your Events into Marketing Gold’ to learn about how to create events that make guests fall in love with your brand.

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A colleague was recently talking about his loathing for corporate gifting. In fact, he has a drawer dedicated to irrelevant, novelty corporate gifts that never get to see the light of day – for good reason. His collection of items that he has no use for – or interest in using – consists of branded USB drives, coffee mugs, pens, notepads, key rings, stress balls, and the like. Instead of increasing brand awareness, these ill-considered gifts only ended up irritating him.

Corporate gifting as we know it is outdated, and does more harm than good.

Corporate gifting that isn’t relevant to the recipient will never elicit a positive sentiment towards your brand, nor will it encourage or motivate people to make a purchase. In fact, corporate gifting as we know it, ends up putting the recipient permanently off your brand. If your marketing department insists on some form of corporate gifting, it’s time to change your tactic.

There are two alternatives to the run-of-the-mill branded gift.

Instead of wasting money on traditional corporate gifting (branded ball point pens, key rings, etc.), use this portion of your budget to gift your target market with an experience. Unlike a trinket that will end up forgotten in the dark recesses of a drawer, an event that’s memorable, engaging and relevant is of far more value to both your target market and your brand. By creating an event that elicits positive emotions, you’re gifting your guests with an emotive experience that positions your brand as one they relate to.

Emotive experiences benefit your brand too – in the form of positive brand sentiment, and valuable data.

Besides successfully showcasing your brand as one that values its guests, an engaging event is also an opportunity to gain further insight into the very people you’re trying to market your brand to. When people are delighted by a brand – whether via a world-class event, great customer service or attention to detail in the form of value-added extras – they’re willing to exchange their information. This is because you’ve succeeded in making them feel recognised as an individual, as well as valued for their patronage.

If you’re not ready to part with corporate gifting as part of your marketing strategy just yet, you’ll need to ensure you’re following these two rules:

Rule number one of successful corporate gifting: Use your data. Far too many brands settle for the ‘one-size-fits-all’ corporate gifting option – to their detriment. Whether due to laziness or a lack of data – or both – these brands are essentially wasting their money. Choosing a corporate gift that delights relies on knowing a little bit about the recipient. Once you’ve gathered this data, you’ll be able to choose a gift that’s relevant, personal and interpreted as thoughtful.

Rule number two of successful corporate gifting: If the gift isn’t unique and high quality, don’t gift it.

Finding a supplier of beautiful, unique corporate gifts is difficult, but not impossible. It’s advisable to find a go-to corporate gifting supplier for the times when you do need to find a gift for a customer or employee. One of the corporate gift companies I personally love is Silver Ribbon – who have fresh, new ideas to suit all types of customers and occasions.

In order to ensure that your corporate gifting translates into increased brand advocacy, it’s crucial that you use the right event management tools to gather information about your guests.

How do you find out what gift someone would like to receive? By asking them. It’s as simple as that. If you’re using our RSVP software, you’ll be able to ask your guests this very question – saving you time and money. Find out more about how our event management software assists leading local and international brands in creating relevant, engaging experiences here.

Image Credit: Coffee Cakes


One of the (many) responsibilities of an event planner is to choose a thank-you gift for guests. What many fail to realise, however, is that finding a corporate gift that will delight guests, reflect the brand’s identity and fit into the overall event budget can be tricky. Our extensive experience in the events industry has taught us that choosing a suitable corporate gift is just as important as your décor, catering, and speakers.

Gifts need to adequately reflect the type of corporate event they’re part of.

One of the most crucial considerations when finding a gift for your guests is to make sure that it’s appropriate. Your gift should echo the client’s ethos. It goes without saying that anything tacky, cheap or risqué is not an option either. Essentially, corporate gifts need to be on the right side of conservative. Identifying a gift that reinforces the professionalism of your client takes some skill, so ensure that you allocate adequate time and attention to this task. It’s pointless pouring your time and energy into creating a world-class event, only to undermine your work thanks to an inappropriate or lacklustre gift

Events industry norms differ, so make sure to establish your client’s preference when compiling the event brief.

While most corporate events include a gift, some clients feel that the event is enough of a gift and eschew this practice completely. Bear in mind that gifting can eat up a large portion of your budget, so ensure that you and your client establish an allocated amount from the get-go. Every rule has its exceptions, but a general guide is between R100 – R500. Most companies will have governance guidelines pertaining to gifting – be sure to establish what these are at the briefing stage in order to avoid any embarrassing situations.

Steer clear of overly-extravagant gifts, but make sure that they’re not tacky either.

Ostentatious gifts should be avoided at all costs, as should anything that looks cheap. The majority of companies favour gifts that aren’t wasteful. Eco-friendly or ‘green’ gifts are always suitable – they’re long lasting too, which means that your event won’t be easily forgotten.

Approach gifting guests who weren’t able to attend your event with care.

It’s up to the client’s discretion whether or not they want to give thank-you gifts to guests who were absent. This should be discussed while the brief is being compiled too. Many companies feel this practice is pointless, as they don’t want to reward guests for not attending. At the same time, if a guest could not attend for a legitimate reason, sending them a gift, along with a copy of the presentations or product info pack can be a thoughtful gesture.

Image Credit: Shows in a Box