My alternative choice of heading was going to be “Choose a gift and make your customers happy or let them choose, and let them down.” This is how I feel right now…
When you give a gift you normally try and think about your audience, and how they will feel about receiving your gift, whether it links, or doesn’t, too big, too small, too over-powering, too happy-clappy, what will it say about your company, all these thoughts are going on in your head, planning a campaign, particularly the end-of year “Thanks for your business” campaign.
However, when Mailchimp gave me the chance to choose my end of year gift, I noted this was really clever. Mailchimp – by the way – provide an online portal to make email campaigns, and have an incredibly supportive team. Very clever, but I didn’t give it much more thought, other than thinking of it in relation to our own business here, ‘when we’re big enough to let customer’s choose’ a wishful, fluffy kind of thought, and being me, the chocoholic, I choose a Chocolate Freddie. The choice, from memory was a range of about 6 Freddie options in small circles (Freddie is their monkey-mascot) – a red Freddie head, a gold Freddie head, a few coloured options and the Chocolate one…
My thought process went something like this – Chocolate, gone in no time, (unlike the socks from last year) no one would be embarrased of me just eating a Freddie-head (rather than wearing the socks round the office for the afternoon, and on occasion later) and it wouldn’t be a useless toy, or synthetic fruit-flavoured like the others appeared to be.
So Chocolate-Freddie it was.
Today, I received my Freddie. When I saw Mailchimp on the barcode, I knew straight away what it would be. When I saw how big it was, I called over my colleague to come and share the chocolate… There must be loads of it! Then we discovered the Non-Chocolate Freddie. Only after we’d had a good try at snapping off his arms and thinking he looked like an easter egg on steriods, did we decide to start an online chat with Mailchimp and complain about the Freddie-chocolate rip-off. It wasn’t even a phone-holder (no second use…arghhh!)
Me: Hello – I just received my Chocolate Freddie… looks like chocolate, smells like chocolate… Can I eat it???
JJ: Hi Jeannette! Thanks for reaching out. I would recommend that you DON’T eat it 🙂
Me: Sorely disappointed. I choose it thinking it would be half the size, and chocolate.
JJ: Jeannette, I want you to know you’re not the first one to think that! I will definitely pass along that feedback, as I am a chocolate lover myself. Would you like some free MailChimp swag as a peace offering?
Me: Yes please. Anything. Totally understand if you can’t send it to arrive right this second.
JJ: https://link to swag-order options – hats and t’shirts but no sign of any chocolate Choose any one item on that page, and we’ll send it to you on the house! Was there anything else I can help you with today, Jeannette?
Me: I’m struggling now… no chocolate still! Nah – thanks
JJ: Sorry, Jeannette! I know how crucial chocolate is–you can submit your feedback here, too, if you want!
So I emailed my feedback… I can’t believe the diddle! All I wanted was a little nib of chocolate to nobble on, and instead I get this useless non-chocolate piece of plastic. Asside, we decided that the outer packaging is very good, and very well produced.
To finish off, and keep our relationship sweet this is how the online chat ended.
JJ: If you need anything else, let me know. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day!
Me: Thanks and you
Maybe I am thankless, but I take from this that, fluffy thoughts aside, better to choose a gift to keep your customers sweet than let them choose something useless without meaning to!
We’ve found that any promotion with food gains more traction than without!! Even with our monthly emails, if they have a foody Subject heading, the clicks go up. From our experience of helping clients pack their marketing message alongside a foody give-away, and sticking mainly to sweets and chocolate, here’s a few of the pitfalls:
1. Best-before dates
Really you need to be thinking more in terms of when will your sweet-treat look it’s best, and how to deliver it so it does reach your target audience in its best condition. This isn’t just about standard best-before dates, it’s about protecting it’s route all the way from the supplier through to final consumption!
2. Food becoming tainted by print
You need to consider whether the sweet-treat could be tainted in any way by coming into close contact for an extended period of time – chocolates in silver or paper wrappers (not fully sealed) is the worst example for this. Whether it’s coming in close contact with fresh print in the packaging or whether it’s tainted from other printed items it’s packed in with. Sometimes it is a long time between goods being packed and when they are discovered and enjoyed. Generally fruity flavoured sweets are fine, but chocolate is not!
We recommend that the time between goods being packed and the time they are delivered (to the consumer) is 3-5 days – so if you’re sending chocolate you need to arrange for a one-off campaign to be packed and sent in a very short space of time.
Alternatively there are ways to seal the sweets or the packaging to avoid tainting.
3. Sending out as a Campaign, or one by one?
We recommend a campaign for a number of reasons – for one it makes it easier to track the success, how many people responded, level of new enquiries (we always recommend following up a campaign by email and/or phone, backed by social to gain maximum results) and secondly, you don’t end up with overs on any foody bits that go out of date on you, meaning everyone gets fat eating them up! However, that said, we know that some of our clients like to send out quotes with samples, that simply can’t be done as a campaign. So… we recommend choosing foody gifts that will definitely be in the supermarket and available as one-offs, so you’re not tied by bulk-buying and food going out of date.
4. Choosing a shape of foody-gift
If you’re going to send out ad-hoc, and even if you’re going to run a campaign at the start, it’s always worth picking a sweet-treat that is a standard size. For example, if you’re going to send out a cream egg it’s worth picking a really standard size, so if it’s got a designed slot in your presentation pack then it’s easy to change over to a different type of easter egg if you find you can’t get the same thing. Certain sizes of sweetie bags come in a range of different brands and flavours, but similar size of bag, making it easy to change over (if you had to!).
5. Keeping costs sensible
You might want to think about costs too – it’s all very well doing a campaign when you can contact the manufacturer and buy in bulk (and they are pleased to hear from you!) but if you want more for sending out later, you want to be sure that they’ve sold you a standard size that you can easily obtain in smaller quantities.
6. Selecting food suitable for the time & location you’re sending it in to
This sounds more complicated than it actually is. It’s just about delivering the right message, at the right time, to the right people. Merial (below) delivered a pack of microwave popcorn and fruit gums to the first 500 people who signed up for their webinar, a great example of delivering the perfect sweet-treat so appropriately.
Sweets and chocolate delivered to almost anywhere is appropriate, unless you’re trying to sell to Dentists or Hygenists, then perhaps not…! Over to you on your target clients.
7. Buying too many
Touched on already – this is a common problem – the campaign was for 500 people but the outers on chocolate bars meant you had to order 600… It doesn’t take anyone with too many brains to work out that there are 100 overs sitting around. It’s well-worth planning an office party, or how else you will use them up rather than have them sitting there going out of date, or heading onto the hips of your staff, groan!
8. Don’t use your brand confectionery
There are many promotional companies that can sell you all manner of confectionery, fudge, biscuits and other items branded with your company name. Imagine if you received a tube of BoxcoUK biscuits. You might well say “Are these OK to eat!?”, after all BoxcoUK doesn’t make biscuits, and there’s a good chance that you don’t either! (So don’t go there!) When sending promotional biscuits or confectionery, depending on your target audience use a well-known, popular, or luxury brand. Your customers will have confidence in packaging they have seen before more than they will in your own brand product.
The exception to this rule is if your own brand confectionery packaging has a secondary use, in which case it will be used for storing something unrelated (and your brand will be on it, rather than another).
(Almost everybody has another use for a nice box or tin for keeping things in.)
We hope you learnt something new and if you’d like to tell us about your experiences with food, good or bad, we’ll try and include your contributions to this blog post! Stay in touch by following us on Linkedin for more.
For fun, here’s some great examples:
Fixfast – Pick ‘N’ Fix pack
Maple Sunscreen Quotation delivery pack
Merial Webinar Snack Pack
Liquidline Truffle presentation pack
Woodhouse Workspace Drop-in pack
Inspiring dynamic workspace performance, using Woodhouse can make all the difference when it comes to taste…explained in a handy leaflet and delivered with Montezuma chocolate bar!
Want to have foody fun with your brand…?
For bespoke promotional marketing and training products that help you Win more…
Call us on 020 3011 0211.