By Allison Saget
With the Feb. 23 Connectors Choice Awards celebration nearing and the Hollywood awards season in high-gear, I’m often asked, “Why is it so important to give nice gift bags to high-profile people?”
It’s all about sales! Take the film industry’s Oscar’s gift bag, and you can see event marketing at work. Celebrities are walking and talking billboards who get an enormous amount of visibility. They are photographed and regularly quoted in the press and featured in TV and print ads. Many have their own blogs and websites to share their thoughts.
More and more, many celebrities extend the life of what’s given in the gift bag by donating the items for charity purposes. With this in mind, product manufacturers and designers use events like awards shows as media to communicate their message. This is integral to their overall marketing strategy because they can directly relate their product placement to brand recognition and its impact on sales.
In the corporate world, you can think of product placement as free trial offers, evaluation copies, and test versions. So it’s important to use the gift bag concept as part of your events but do have a strategy and plan. Think about what you are giving, why you are giving it, when you should distribute it, and what you want out of it. Is it for brand recognition, prospecting, and to increase sales? Or is it for customer appreciation? Make sure the gift bag ties to your company message. Be tasteful and elegant when you brand/logo an item.
Also, check your clients’ or customers’ policies when it comes to receiving gifts. Government customers are under strict regulations. Some are taxed by their companies for gifts; others cannot accept gifts at all.
From a business perspective, approach the concept of the gift bag as traditional “marketing materials.” When evaluating your selections, carefully look at your target audience (the receiver) and tie it to a branded giveaway that best conveys your campaign message for the ultimate REWARD (Relationship Edge Wins A Real Deal)!
Allison Saget is the president of her own event marketing consulting firm, EventBLT (http://www.eventblt.com), and author of “The Event Marketing Handbook: Beyond Logistics and Planning.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.