Corporate & Business Gifting, Everything You Need to Know

Business Gift Giving

This 2018 Holiday Season, about 62% of US-based Companies will plan and execute a business gift-giving strategy for their clients and partners. About 44% of companies will send Holiday gifts to employees.

When you compare these business gifting statistics to how we typically gift to our friends and family, it’s surprising we see such a divide between those who give to clients and employees and those who do not. Do 50% of us not send holiday gifts to our friends and family?

Let’s take a minute to break down the pros and cons of business gifting.

Business Gift Giving Pros

A Simple Display of Gratitude

Most of us are used to enduring year-end performance reviews to reflect on the past year and plan for the next. In good years, we are always proud of a few highlights. For every success you’ve had, someone helped you achieve it: a client, boss, mentor, friend, colleague, teacher, relative, even a stranger. Taking a moment to thank these people who helped you is just a good thing to do. Don’t believe me? Ask your mother.

Build Stronger Relationships

Ever heard the saying, “Your Network is Your Net Worth?. We’re living amid a pretty volatile business climate. Competition is increasing, disruption is frequent, and change is rapid. Despite these challenges, the demand and expectations placed on businesses continue to expand. Every employee at your company has a network that can help your business grow from the CEO to the brand new intern. Investing in a corporate gifting program can help each employee grow and strengthen their network. In return, each network can add value to your business.

Open New Doors

There’s an ongoing debate in the demand generation world around the viability of cold outreach. We’ve seen a sharp decline in the effectiveness of cold calling and mass email marketing. That said, your phones aren’t ringing off the hook with buyers ready to place orders. Businesses are now turning to Account-Based Marketing techniques to try and improve their engagement rate. Tailoring their message to the various stakeholders they seek to engage. At a high level, it makes sense- general value propositions aren’t working. So a more targeted and tailored message should see better results.

Here’s the problem. And it might be a hard truth for some marketers out there. Nobody cares about your content. Put differently, providing gated white papers of really great content isn’t going to fill your sales team pipeline with an abundance of qualified leads. What your salespeople want, what they need is to get in front of buyers and learn if your product or service can add value.

Do you think about demand generation in terms of capturing business conversations with potential buyers? Then why wouldn’t you be willing to offer a token of appreciation for someone’s time to learn about your product or service?

Business Gift Giving Cons

It’s Just Business

A critical difference between our business and personal relationships is often how each relationship starts. We continually analyze the cost and the benefits of a business relationship before forming it. Create relationships when benefits outweigh the costs. The balance of received value from a business relationship is essential and frequently considered. Our relationships tend to develop more organically through shared interests or circumstances. We’re less concerned about the balance of value and do whatever’s necessary to maintain a healthy relationship. A possible reason not to gift would be that it could disrupt the balance of value to a business relationship. I don’t subscribe to this particular theory but can understand it.


Bribery is a serious issue that comes with severe penalties. It’s crucial that every company address and install a framework and ground rules to prevent any form of bribery from occurring within their business. Most businesses have a Corporate Gifting Policy that stipulates what employees can send and receive as business gifts. Each Corporate Gifting Policy is unique and considers numerous factors pertinent to the business. Businesses can protect themselves from bribery by following a few simple guidelines:

  • Never gift cash or cash equivalents (gift cards)
  • Keep gifts under $150 as most Corporate Policies allow for non-cash contributions of <$150
  • Affiliate your brand within the gift
  • Food offerings are typically universally accepted in Corporate Gifting policies.
  • Refrain from gifting in the Government sector


If you’ve never gifted clients or employees, gifting may not be a marked line in your budget. Securing an unmarked budget is often easiest in Q4, just in time for a Holiday gifting campaign. You’d be surprised the impact a holiday gifting campaign can have even on a limited budget. Many companies specialize in delivering high-impact gifts at low-cost points.

Is simply saying thank you good for your business?


© Featured Photo by PavelIvanov from iStockPhoto