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The psychology of gifting

11 August 22

Here at Reachdesk, we’ve seen first-hand how sending thoughtful, well-timed physical gifts can yield real results and we like to delve into the science behind the sending

But what is it about gifting that works so well in creating stronger relationships? In this blog we take a step back to answer a fundamental question - how does sending gifts make you feel? Keep reading to find out about the psychology of gifting and how it can help you drive incredible business results.

Why do we give gifts?

When you think of giving or receiving gifts, occasions like birthdays, holidays, or anniversaries might spring to mind. And rightly so, they’re prime opportunities to show loved ones how much they’re appreciated. In fact, 77% believe that a gift is an expression of how special someone is

According to one study, there are social, emotional, and even health benefits to giving gifts. Gifting triggers your body to release serotonin and dopamine which lowers anxiety, stress, and blood pressure. From a social point of view, there are even more reasons for gift giving:

  • Building trust 
  • Forging relationships 
  • Building meaningful connections 
  • Enhancing reputation 
  • Evoking gratitude

The history of gift giving

Gift-giving is such an important aspect of how we form relationships and attachments that it’s even one of the five love languages. But there are historical roots in exchanging gifts, too. 

Astonishingly, there’s evidence that cavemen were giving each other gifts and symbolic objects like jewelry or ornaments between 35,000 and 10,000 years ago. The ancient Egyptians gave gifts as offerings to their gods, and as for the humble birthday cake, we have the ancient Greeks to thank. They invented the tradition of giving moon-shaped birthday cakes lit with candles on the anniversary of someone’s birth, which acted as a tribute to Artemis, goddess of the moon.

So there you have it. Gifting reinforces altruism, makes you feel happy, and is a tradition passed down from our ancestors - so why wouldn’t businesses want to embrace it? 

What are the benefits of gift giving for businesses?

Yes, gifting might be good for you. But, the simple fact that everyone loves receiving gifts probably isn’t enough to persuade key decision makers to part with their cash and start wrapping. But the cold hard numbers might - 35% of consumers have made a purchase, payment or donation in the past year as a result of receiving a piece of direct mail.  

Still not convinced? Luckily, the benefits of businesses using direct mail are broad reaching and don’t stop there:

1. Gifting helps sales teams to prospect more effectively

Sending personalized gifts like champagne or cupcakes to prospects can lead to a 19% increase in close rate, as well as generate up to 447% more opportunities.

Gifting can also help sales teams to break into key accounts. Using eGifts like coffee and lunch vouchers can increase the number of meetings that are booked, as well as increase response rates for prospects that have gone cold by 212%. Pretty impressive stuff.

psychology-of-gifting-cupcakes2. Gifting helps marketing teams drive real results

Tracking the effectiveness of gifting campaigns has historically been tricky. But not with the help of an automated direct mail tool. With Reachdesk, marketing teams can focus on the data and effectiveness of their gifting strategies, and in cases like Salesloft, generate 60X ROI in the process.

Whether it’s incentivizing prospects to book a meeting with a free coffee voucher, or sending free lunch vouchers to prospects to enjoy during a demo or as a follow-up after a demo meeting, tracking redemption rates of gifts can help marketing see the fruits of their labor and turn prospects into advocates.


3. Gifting helps HR teams hire and retain the best talent

In a candidate's market, hiring can become a battle. So to hire and retain the best talent, HR teams must embrace a culture of appreciation. That means rewarding candidates for their time and effort when gifting for recruitment and celebrating the achievements of employees with personalized champagne and company-branded swag like hoodies and water bottles.


4. Gifting helps CS teams retain valued customers

Customer engagement is a key focus for customer success teams who want to retain and grow key accounts. Luckily, gifting can be used strategically at each stage, from sending brownies to key stakeholders during onboarding, to sending personalized whiskey to champions to drive upsells.


Wondering what you can send? Here are the best corporate gifting ideas for Q4 2022


3 tips to optimize gift giving for prospects, customers, and employees


1. Personalize, personalize, personalize

Shockingly, 66% of customers feel they are often treated like numbers, which doesn’t exactly make them want to stick around. The antidote to this? Personalization.

Whether you’re sending a gift to a prospect, an employee, or a customer, make sure to always personalize what you send. If they’re a huge fan of hot sauce, send them a bottle along with a note about how ‘hot’ your offering is.

2. Use a direct mail tool to streamline your gifting efforts

Automation is becoming the norm for most businesses, with saving time and making processes smarter at the top of the list of priorities. When it comes to direct mail, manually sending gifts is a thing of the past. Instead, tools like Reachdesk have slick features like address confirmation and a huge marketplace of gifts to choose from. 


3. Capitalize on special occasions and holidays

There are so many seasonal holidays that teams can take advantage of to show appreciation for their prospects, employees and customers. From Independence Day to Happiness happens month, there are enough holidays to plan creative and successful gifting campaigns for the whole year.

You don’t have to go down the traditional route either. Instead, surprise and delight your customers by planning gifting campaigns around unusual holidays - who wouldn’t love it if a case of artisan honey arrived on their desk for Honey month in September? Just remember to make gifts relevant to these dates and personalize them to your target’s likes and interests.


Wrapping up

Generosity is part of the human spirit, and this should translate to business practices. Gifting is on the up (438% from 2020 to 2021) so now is the time to formulate your strategy. To find out more about direct mail best practices, take a look at our resources page.

Ellie Scott Content Marketing Executive @ Reachdesk

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