We all know the importance of budgeting, and a strategic marketing budget is an integral part of any business strategy. Marketing affects many aspects of the way a company functions, and can make or break its chances of success. But what role should professional gifts have? Let’s examine their importance and explore the best way to create a budget for them.

Why are professional gifts important?

First of all, what do we mean by professional gifts? Well, a professional gift can be something an employer gives as an incentive or expression of thanks to an employee. This is an effective strategy in generating a sense of wellbeing among staff, and can form part of a general reward scheme for meeting set targets or recompensing effort. 

Professional gifts can also be used to show gratitude to clients outside of the company, and offers a way of building and developing relationships. In this context, gifts can become crucial in forming meaningful client connections and as such, they need to feature within any marketing budget. With these factors in mind, it comes as no surprise that more than 60% of businesses have a budget for corporate gifts.

Why is a budget for professional gifts necessary?

Professional gifts can come in many shapes and forms; cheap pens, gourmet hampers and everything in between. Clearly, if you splash out on bottles of vintage wine too many times, you will find quickly yourself over-budget. So, let’s take a closer look at what a budget should include. 

Almost all budgets are worked out on an annual basis, so first off, you should pinpoint major events throughout the year which will require promotional gifts. Consider holidays such as Christmas time or key moments in your company’s calendar, but also highlight things like promotional events, trade fairs and exhibitions. Most companies work out their budget for promotional gifts as a percentage of their overall marketing budget. This can vary according to the size of the company, their areas for development and of course, their marketing strategy. 

Budgeting for large events

Larger scale events such as fairs or exhibitions will likely eat up a large chunk of your annual budget, and as such need to be planned for carefully. It is worth assigning a set percentage of the budget to large events (this is often around 20%), and another percentage to ad hoc gifts, or gifts to hand out at holiday times. This can make organising these key promotional events easier, and the overall budget more straightforward to manage. 

Trade events represent a golden opportunity to target new customers and cement relations with existing ones, as well as furthering your brand identity, and so professional gifts are highly appropriate. Consider a stock of cheap personalised pens, which can be bought in bulk over at pens.com/uk/. Practical and portable gifts are more likely to be used, rather than simply stashed away in a cupboard somewhere and as such, they represent an opportunity to get your logo seen out in ‘the wild’. Buying in bulk often makes financial sense, since cheap engraved pens are a highly versatile product, so any remaining stock can be put to use in the future. 

Having an individual budget for key promotional events can also prove useful when evaluating its success. This can help inform you if it is worth attending the same event the following year, so keeping track of those numbers is crucial. 

Different gifts, different purposes

While a stash of cheap pens can prove versatile and practical to hand out and promote brand awareness, other promotional products serve different purposes, and may have different considerations when planning your budget. While some less expensive gifts can be handed out freely and form part of your wider brand awareness strategy, others – such as branded clothing or bags designed to be worn by your team – act as a representation of your business. These high-value items should appear smart, polished and professional as they are direct extension of your brand identity, and it’s often worth spending a little more here. And, of course, individual gifts linked to Christmas or other celebrations need to be accounted for in your budget, too. It’s at special times like these that a special bottle of wine might go down well, and that’s fine – but make sure it’s accounted for in the budget!

Professional gifts have an important role in any marketing strategy, and creating a budget (and sticking to it!) is a crucial way of making sure you stay on track financially – allowing you to reap the maximum rewards from those well-considered promotional gifts!