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Generosity is Rewarding

Dec. 9, 2020
It’s not hard to see how kindness will deepen your customer relationships, and holiday gifts are an effective way to demonstrate your appreciation. You should plan on it.

Your business communication plan probably includes your website, press releases, and social media. Your sales staff are (or should be!) logging their outbound communication in a Customer Relationship Management system. But, have you considered “kindness” as part of your customer communication and relationship strategy? That is, as a part of your marketing plan?

The whole point of marketing is to build relationships with prospects and customers. Nothing establishes a relationship like an act of appreciation. Kindness and gratitude never go out of style, and they are an elemental part of any service business. Especially now, all businesses are service businesses. Finding a reason to say thank you to customers can be as easy as writing a thank-you note for having entrusted their business to you.

Appreciation also can be a more substantial part of your marketing plan. The winter holiday season, leading into the fresh start of a new year, is the perfect corporate gifting opportunity.

2020 was a hard year for many businesses. Relationships matter more than ever. This is the wrong year to skip showing appreciation of business relationships. Reaching out at the winter holiday season is a way to show appreciation, to stay in contact. More meaningful in 2020 than ever.

However, in 2020, the usual thank-you gift also may not be appropriate. If you usually send an edible, office-shareable gift, COVID-19 has made that an unhealthy choice and given work from home (WFH), less office-shareable. If you usually send tickets to a sporting event, that may not be an option either, as so much is virtual. Gift cards may also be less of a choice given lock-downs.

Connecting to customers is still possible; but it will require thinking about COVID-safe options for this holiday season. Alternative gift options include individually wrapped cookies or candies; or perhaps sending lunch to the office would still be a viable option. On an individual level, wine or coffee is a nice choice. Non-consumable options include mugs or canisters, bags, power chargers, or other useful objects with your logo on it — all the better if it reinforces your brand values. More out of the ordinary, think about sending something bearing your customer’s logo — which can be especially meaningful if your gift allows the customer to share with his or her own clients.

If these tangible thank-you options seem a bit inadequate to express appreciation with your best customers, thank them with something selected to be particularly meaningful. Perhaps he or she might enjoy a spa basket, or a subscription to one of the many “of-the-month” clubs, from chocolate to cigars, soaps to socks. The options are limited only by your imagination.

Cost may limit your gifting choices, too. If so, set a target: Perhaps not all customers receive a gift, but new contacts or the top 25 clients do. The remainder should receive a thank-you note. Perhaps the gift could be an allotment of service hours from your business, or a charitable donation in their name. Sincerity, and how you communicate the gift, are keys to leveraging a small budget without sparing your gratitude.

All these are all ways to say “thank you” by deepening your customer relationship. You need not wait for Thanksgiving or Christmas to show your appreciation to your customers, who trust you with their business. The calendar offers many “appropriate” days, from holidays (February 14th, Thanksgiving, Christmas and other winter holidays, New Year) to everyday business celebrations (anniversary of a signing or project completion, customer referral, a new lead, etc.)

Businesses, and the people that comprise them, may feel blocked from showing appreciation because it can be so difficult to know how to say thank you. But kindness and gratitude are always appropriate — in every relationship!

Marketing is about communication, building relationships and trust. Sincere gratitude touches all three facets. Including corporate gifting as part of your marketing strategy is just smart business. 

Alexandria Trusov is the Global Marketing Manager at Alpha Resources and a B2B marketing consultant to manufacturers and other B2B companies. Contact her at [email protected] or visit