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Using Gift Certificates as Holiday Promotional Incentives

Use Gift Certificates as Holiday Incentives to Maximize ROI

Some of the most effective consumer promotions around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays may be those that include promotional incentives with high emotional value.  In fact, the best holiday promotional incentives could have a relatively small dollar value as long as they generate enough positive emotions to make them impactful.  This brief article describes how your business can attract more consumers and maximize ROI by using gift certificates with high emotional value as promotional incentives.

Holidays and Emotions

The Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter holiday seasons are a remarkable American tradition, packed with emotional feelings and events:  the wonderful aroma of turkey or ham roasting in the oven, family gatherings, parties, Christmas music, gifts under the tree, neighbors competing to have the best decorations, Easter egg hunts, donations to the needy, and so much more.  Nearly all would agree that thoughts of “over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go…” are powerful generators of very positive, nostalgic memories and emotions.  Why not tap these emotions into your promotional incentives?

If your company can take advantage of the highly emotional aspect of the holidays in your promotional efforts you may discover a surprisingly impactful and highly cost-efficient means to draw consumers into your business.  If your gifts or promotional incentives can associate you with the positive emotions of the holidays they will not only generate consumer draw, but will create positive impressions about you that can be memorable, motivational, and long-lasting.

Some Gift Certificates Have High Emotional Value

Gift certificates for free turkeys or hams are a great example.  Turkeys and hams received as gifts or as promotional incentives carry a lot of emotional value.  During the holidays a thought of turkey or ham is a thought of Grandma’s kitchen and all of the warm, wonderful, loving, and nostalgic feelings that come with it.  Like flowers or chocolates at Valentine’s Day, your ROI is higher, because the perceived value of the item is so very much more than its dollar value.  And turkeys and hams are almost universally appreciated:  For example, studies done by the National Turkey Federation show that over 95% of American families participate in a holiday meal where turkey is served.

A Relatively Untapped Opportunity

There is still a lot of opportunities – Relatively few companies have discovered the high return on investment that can be gained from using gift certificates for products of high emotional value as promotional incentives during the holidays.  This relatively untapped marketing tactic can work for you.  Following are some examples of what some companies have tried with turkey and ham gift certificates during the holidays, with great success.  Use these ideas as springboards for planning your own holiday promotional incentives:

  • A large casino offered a free turkey to any member of its “players club” who played at the casino in November.  Thousands of gift certificates were distributed, with corresponding incremental traffic and profits.
  • A car dealership offered a free turkey to anyone who took a new car for a test drive during the two weeks before Thanksgiving.
  • Another casino ran an Easter promotion offering a free ham to anyone who achieved a certain level of play in the casino.  Thousands of gift certificates were distributed.
  • A radio station used turkeys as promotional incentives in holiday on-air contests.
  • An auto tire chain gave turkeys as promotional incentives to anyone who bought a set of tires in November.  Tens of thousands of gift certificates were distributed, with huge increases in customer traffic.
  • As a philanthropic and public relations effort, a high profile company offered to match all public donations of turkeys to a local food bank.
  • A national firm gave its thousands of employees turkey gift certificates for Christmas and offered to help coordinate the donation of the gift certificates to local charities if the employee chose to do so.

Appearance is Everything

Because the highest ROI comes from the highest emotional value, self-promotion of any kind included with the item makes you look selfish and cheap.  Leave your advertising slogans for pens, hats, golf balls, and other promotional incentives that serve entirely different purposes.

The promotional incentives you give on holiday occasions should have high perceived market value as well; otherwise, you will be perceived as being cheap.  Private label items and gift certificates good on a broad range of products carry a low-value perception and should be avoided.  Stay with gift certificates that are good on well-respected brand names.

Don’t Sacrifice Emotional Value!

In terms of emotional value, gift certificates are seen as equivalent to the items they are good for, plus have some convenience value as well.  But if consumers encounter difficulty or inconvenience in redeeming the gift certificates, their frustration may be enough to negate the emotional value of the item.  Here are a few considerations to help you avoid these problems and maintain the highest possible emotional value of your promotional incentives:

  • The gift certificates should be good for only one type of product, rather than a cash-equivalent certificate good for any of a broad range of items.
  • Make sure the gift certificates are redeemable at any retailer carrying that type of item, not just at specific stores.  The broader the reach the more convenient your promotional incentives will be for your customers.
  • The supplier of the gift certificates should have a proactive retailer pre-selling program in place to make sure retailers will accept his gift certificates.  This may dramatically reduce the frustration of your customers having to search for a retailer who will accept it.

To maximize consumer draw, customer satisfaction, and ROI always looks for holiday promotional incentives with the highest possible emotional value.  Gift certificates for free turkeys or hams are hard to beat.  Your customers will respond with more interest in your company, and more long-term customer loyalty.

©2018 PFR Corporate Gifts, LLC   May be reprinted unedited in whole with proper credit given.

For other articles related to employees, gifts go to our “Best Practices” section.

PFR Corporate Gifts, LLC
1469 North 1200 West
Orem, UT 84057

Telephone  801-569-2381
Fax     801-569-1629

Email   [email protected]

Gift certificates for turkey, ham, and more. The perfect holiday promotional incentives.