Table of Contents:
- The Value of a Customer Appreciation Package
- 5 Key Elements: Get all Your Ducks in a Row
- 5 Key Elements: Add Personalization
- 5 Key Elements: Select Meaningful and Memorable Gifts
- 5 Key Elements: Include Appropriate Branding
- 5 Key Elements: Employ Genuine Language
- Customer Appreciation Package Example
Building long-term relationships with your existing customers has never been more important. Taking steps to reduce churn and retain more of your current customers can increase ROI, boost loyalty and advocacy, and lower overall customer acquisition costs. In fact, HubSpot describes customer retention as “the new customer acquisition.” You can strengthen your current relationships and make meaningful connections with your customers by helping them feel genuinely valued and appreciated. Sending your customers a personalized customer appreciation package is one way you can express gratitude and thank them for their continued business.
The Value of a Customer Appreciation Package
It’s no surprise that the top factors that drive brand loyalty among IT buyers are great customer support, pricing, and reliability. (Spiceworks) Of particular interest, however, is that "66% of IT buyers also believe the quality and frequency of communication from tech brands helps drive loyalty.” A customer appreciation package is an engaging way to stay connected and show gratitude to your IT customers because it:
- Delights and surprises your customer: It’s always nice to get a gift, but it’s especially meaningful when it’s a surprise. An unexpected gift can create a greater sense of appreciation, as it shows your customer that they are top of mind.
- Makes your customer feel special: A gift that is only given to a select group of customers helps to make them feel recognized and important like they are part of an exclusive group.
- Emphasizes your genuineness: Giving a gift to a customer without asking for anything in return (i.e., no call-to-action) helps to build authenticity and trust.
For partners in the IT channel that are looking for creative B2B marketing campaigns, this could be a welcome addition to your customer retention strategy. After all, as James Cash Penny (founder of J.C. Penney retail stores) stated: "Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement.”
5 Key Elements to a Standout Customer Appreciation Package
A standout customer appreciation campaign starts with a genuine desire to make a meaningful connection with your customer and acknowledge their value to your business. A successful customer appreciation package should include these 5 elements:
- Get All Your Ducks in a Row: Make sure the gift delivery process is as easy as possible for your customer.
- Create a database/list with accurate customer email and postal addresses.
- Ensure you have the required tools in place to efficiently manage the messaging and process of gift delivery - especially if the recipients need to complete a form or share additional information in order to redeem their gift.
- Add Personalization: People strongly identify with items that were created just for them. Personalizing your gift can create a stronger connection with your customer.
- When you let your customer know that you want to send them a customer appreciation gift, send the details from the contact at your company who has the strongest relationship with them. This adds a nice personal touch.
- Customize the gift with the recipient’s name. For example, you can add their name on an inserted letter, on the gift box packaging, or even monogrammed and printed on some of the gifts.
- Offer the recipient the ability to customize their own gift by choosing their colour, style, sizing, etc.
- Select Meaningful and Memorable Gifts: Create a memorable gift experience by choosing items that your customer will find useful, relevant, and enticing.
- Delight your IT customers with a gift that “provides real utility.” IT pros do not want boring, lame swag. They prefer well-selected quality goods, rather than a larger quantity of cheaper items.
- Choose an interesting theme for the package. Some examples include:
- Building a selection of items around a season (i.e. “fun in the sun”)
- Pairing up with a local distillery to create a customized Cocktail Kit (ex. this perfect little package that Dillons Distillery offers)
- Supporting local entrepreneurs by curating a special package built around their products (ex. Dover Cheese Shop’s delicious curated cheese kit)
- Creating a kit around a specific theme such as self-care, movie night, home office, golfing, or the holidays (eg. this Holiday gift package that GamePlan sent out a few years ago).
- Include Appropriate Branding: Adding your company branding to the gifts will help your customers remember you each time they use or see the gift. When you’re talking about B2B IT channel marketing, every customer touchpoint needs to be flawless - and this little bit of branding can go a long way!
- Feature your IT company’s logo on the gifts themselves and/or on the packaging.
- Customize your branding on packaging ideas such as high-end gift boxes, pine boxes, wicker baskets, or canvas bags.
- Employ Genuine Language: Make an emotional connection with your IT customers by expressing your gratitude using authentic language.
- Stay true to your brand voice to ensure your ‘thank you’ comes across as genuine and sincere.
Customer Appreciation Package Example: Tech Data and NetApp
We recently completed a customer appreciation initiative at GamePlan Marketing for Tech Data and NetApp. Jacqueline Fedory, Senior Account Manager at GamePlan, explains that Tech Data and NetApp wanted to send out an appreciation package to select customers to “share goodwill and thank them for being valued partners.”
Selection of the Recipients
Partners were selected based on their performance, Jacqueline adds, “partners who were more engaged with Tech Data and NetApp were chosen to be recipients of the customer appreciation package.”
The selected partners were emailed directly by their regional Business Development Executive at Tech Data. The email thanked the partners for their loyalty to Tech Data and NetApp and recognized the investment they made into their partnership. The partners were offered a complimentary package of goodies and could claim their gift by simply clicking on a link and completing a form.
Personalization of the Gift
The package included a Bluetooth speaker, a men’s or women’s zip sweater, and a 21oz tumbler. When the partners filled out the form to redeem their gift, they were able to personalize it by selecting the size and gender of the sweater that they wanted. “A personalized gift feels more honest and genuine. It also does a better job at attracting your attention,” Jacqueline explains. Once the form was completed, the partner received a follow-up email with the estimated delivery timeframe for their gift.
The gifts were delivered directly to each partner and included a printed letter that thanked the partners again for their dedication and loyalty to Tech Data and NetApp. The letter also included links to helpful partner resources.
Feedback from the Initiative
Almost all of the selected IT channel partners who were sent the offer did redeem their complimentary package. Jacqueline adds, “the partners loved the gifts and were pleased to receive the gifts out of the blue. I think they did feel appreciated and I’m sure it will help to keep NetApp top-of-mind.”
How does a customer appreciation package differ from an Executive Door Opener (EDO)?
An Executive Door Opener is sent to prospective technology customers and includes a CTA. They are typically sent to senior-level IT decision-makers by courier or mail. The idea is to break through the clutter with a creative marketing campaign and an eye-catching package. The package contains a “teaser gift” along with an invitation to receive the complimentary “thank you gift” in exchange for a meeting or phone call.
Want to find out more about Customer Appreciation Packages or EDOs? Read the blog, “Account Based Marketing Examples: Executive Door Openers.”
GamePlan Marketing is a Full-Service Creative & Digital Agency located in the Oakville, Greater Toronto Area in Canada. We Specialize in Digital Marketing for B2B Technology Companies.