Our goal for this campaign is customer retention and acquisition, because ALL marketing campaigns need a goal. We can CALL it a Customer Appreciation campaign because that is the feeling we want them to get: appreciation – but it’s really about retention and acquisition.

Our 5 objectives are SMART–  S-M-A-R-T which means specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

1 – Specific

This gift is about the client. It shows that we have positive happy feelings toward our clients and like doing business with them.  It shows that we know who they are, and that they are more than a paycheck.  It should NEVER be only about you. You CAN put your name and services on it, but it has to be something THEY would like.  You can give swag, but the swag has to be useful.

Examples: multi tools, stress balls, jump drives, cups.

2 – Measurable

How would we measure gifts? We would keep track of our gifts in a list. Then for the next 3 months, let’s check off who sends us business. I only do this with those I gift that don’t normally give me business.  If I forget people, and they know I gave to others in the department, well, that can be measured too.

Write it down.

Just bite the bullet and write down your campaign, give it a name and write your goals.

3 – Achievable

Is it possible to give something that will make a client remember you this year?  Something you can afford?   The answer is yes because you are giving a feeling. It’s more than a thing.  You want to affect their feelings in positive way. This year I’m giving a packet of hot chocolate and a candy in a card that says Peace.  That’s small, but it conveys warmth and happiness for THEM.  If they never use it, they get the feeling when they receive it and the goal is met.  In the past I’ve given UNBRANDED jump drives. That conveyed that I expected to do work with them, and because it was unbranded it made them feel like it was a true gift, not a marketing tool.  (Only do this if you are in close contact with customers and they will remember its’ from you.) This is why we normally call these campaigns customer appreciation campaigns.

4 – Realistic

Is it realistic to give your clients gifts?  Well it depends on the gift and the client. For me it is not realistic to give large gifts to my clients.  But it might be realistic to give a large gift basket to an entire department or company – as long as ALL your clients can participate and know it’s from you.  If half of your clients are at a remote location, then you might cause bad feelings.   If your client is a department head or a company owner, you might give to just her.  But Please don’t forget the administrative assistants and other gatekeepers.

Also be mindful of the rules your clients must follow. Some companies have a specific dollar amount that is allowable.  My clients can’t get cash OR gift cards which work like cash.  They can get specific gift certificates though.  But if I gave something worth a high dollar amount to each of them I would create reciprocation guilt, (another feeling)  so this entirely depends on you and your industry.

5 – Timely

Marketing during the gift-giving season is timely, because there is no suspicion about your motives.  Sure, we all know you want more business. But most of us suspend this suspicion during specific gifting times. Birthdays work too, but these backfire if you miss someone, so I usually just skip this altogether.

These objectives keep your campaign on track.

You define them once and return to them often.  Gifts given during the holiday are marketing.  But you have to define your goal and be SMART about it.  It is a chance to give feelings that positively affect your business.