Surprise and Delight: It's Always the Gift Giving Season

If you don’t like receiving gifts, then stop reading. 

So…you’re still reading, which means you’re like everyone else on the planet who likes getting gifts.

Not exactly rocket science, right? Everybody loves gifts. We’re hardwired to enjoy getting gifts that make us happy. It’s part of what makes Christmas or Hanukkah so fun. It’s why we like birthdays, quinceañeras and bar mitsvahs and… well. You get my point.

Chances are you’ll be getting a gift from someone in the not-so-distant future. Whether it’s a holiday bonus from work, or a colleague picking up your tab for lunch. It feels good to be on the receiving end of a gift,  knowing someone cares enough to invest in building and maintaining a relationship with you. A gift is the ultimate relationship-building tool. It’s among the best ways to show your appreciation and gratitude.

If you’re in the relationship-building business, you should be engaging your constituents by giving them a gift of value. How good is your organization at giving gifts to the audience you care about? How often do you invest in giving a gift that can help build life-long relationships with the people who matter most to your organization?


Surprise & Delight on Steroids

Not long ago a former colleague became obsessed with weightlifting. He started buying products and engaging with companies who sold supplements, equipment, and other bodybuilding related products. He joined social media groups to find others who shared his interests. He subscribed to blogs that helped him learn about ways to improve his results. He was in full-out binge mode.

An astute company noticed his increasing level of engagement. They realized that his new-found interest could lead to a sustained, long-term relationship. Their goal was to galvanize his loyalty to their company.

One day an unexpected package arrived at my friend’s door from bodybuilding.com. He had spent a bunch of money on their site so it wasn’t a surprise. At first he expected the package to be a fulfillment of one of his orders, but didn’t know for sure. As he wondered about what was in the box, the anticipation on his face grew. It was like watching a ten year-old open a Christmas present and hoping to find a Red Rider BB Gun. 

As he ripped off the packing tape and opened the box, he could hardly contain himself. Inside was a branded gym bag stuffed with products and a handwritten note saying: “thanks for being a customer.”

Here’s what his gift spread looked like:


What was his reaction?

“Holy crap,” he shouted. “This is awesome. I need to tell people about this.”

And so he did. Everyone here at Access heard about it.

He posted the gift on social media and mentioned it to anyone who would listen. If you visited his office, there was no escaping him pulling out the gifts and proudly displaying all the contents on his desk.

Some items were products he used. Others were items he’d never tried before but was now open to trying them. At that moment he was as loyal a customer as he could ever be.

This happened well over a year ago and his loyalty to bodybuilding.com never waned. If there ever was an evangelist for this company, he was their poster child.  

In this instance, a $25 total investment paid off in huge ways for bodybuilding.com. First, they developed a life-long relationship with an existing customer who turned into a vocal advocate. But he also encouraged his workout buddies and other friends to try the products on their website.  Just those purchases alone more than paid for the initial $25 investment.

Pretty good ROI, right?

This is a perfect example of a “Surprise and Delight” campaign. Bodybuilding.com identified the key indicators of engagement and recognized my friend as someone whose loyalty would grow after receiving a customized gift. They were right.

New Call-to-action

Gifts Don’t Have to Cost a Lot

This month our clients here at Access enjoyed the benefits of a special gift-giving campaign. We sent a series of emails with surprising and delightful discount offers to millions of Access users. With no additional investment, our clients watched their rates of engagement surge, with a 97% increase in the number of members who signed up to save more.

Sometimes, a compelling discount can work just as well as a gym bag or protein supplement.

Maybe a little surprise and delight is what your organization needs? Whether it’s a member incentive program or a customer incentive program, such programs are among the best ways to achieve greater overall engagement. You’d be surprised at how much love and goodwill you can generate from a simple but meaningful gift.

New Call-to-action

Topics: Customer Incentives, Member Benefits, surprise and delight, member retention, customer incentive programs, member engagement, membership benefits, member incentives

Written by: Gary Toyn

For 25+ years Gary Toyn has helped organizations large and small improve their constituent/member acquisition, retention and engagement. He's a multi-published author, writer, and researcher.

Share your Comment.