Welcome to the Choice Gifts Blog

My experience with ChoiceGifts®

Shawna Lawton

Posted by

The following story is from Shawna Lawton, our own Client Success Specialist. Shawna joined our team at the beginning of the summer. I have an ongoing incentive program for my sales and marketing team. I use our ChoiceGifts platform for the reward portion of the program. Without asking, Shawna wrote this story and sent it to me to share on the blog. Please give it a read. I was delighted.

— Tom Stearns, VP of Demand Generation and Business Development

I had most recently worked for a large publically traded company that prided themselves on “team member happiness.” It was actually one of their core values.  The interesting thing was that incentives for a job well done were few and far between.  I have more t-shirts, jackets, fleece vests, and bags with the company’s logo on them than I care to have or need.  I stopped taking them because “free marketing” for someone else’s profit doesn’t appeal to me and I began to feel underappreciated. While yes, there were the occasional raffle gifts such as an iPads, or TVs, your chances of winning were 1 in 200.  In the back of my mind I knew there had to be a better way to keep the team members happy and reward them for a job well done; something personal, memorable, or something they’d actually like.

A few months ago I began working for a corporate incentive company in Rhode Island called The Corporate Marketplace. The company offers gifts for employee recognition and corporate events under the brand ChoiceGifts®. The exciting thing about the gift received is that it is the recipient’s choice.

Ok, so I am sure you are wondering why I am taking the time to write about this.

Every week the sales and marketing team are given individual goals. If we attain our personal goals we are given a code to redeem a gift using the ChoiceGifts platform. This past week I received an email congratulating me on a job well done, a link to the website, and a code to redeem my gift. I immediately logged in to see what I was able to choose from. The funny thing was, part of my job is to look at the core collections that employees around the country look at everyday so I already knew what was included. But this time it was different; I had the opportunity to finally choose my own gift! I looked at several items, even sent a few options to my husband to see if he wanted anything.  In the end I chose the Mophie Juice Pack.

Most of you who know me are aware that I spend a lot of free time “Instagramming” my food and adult beverage images. My mobile phone battery is ALWAYS dying.  This Juice pack can charge my iPhone and laptop at the same time! After I ordered the item, I received confirmation and a note saying great choice. You know what? I agree! I received a confirmation email once the item shipped. I was pretty excited to know it was on the way! Yesterday — three business days later, I received my Mophie Juice Pack via UPS right to my home.  I love it; it was exactly what I wanted. I do feel valued as an employee; I am excited that I had the choice!

If you are looking for something to offer your employees you should check us out! I am one happy employee.  It really worked!!! It was and is a memorable experience.  Gone are the days of branded t-shirts as gifts!

Corporate Event Planning Checklist

Molly Pastore

Posted by

Follow these 3 STAGES of planning to help you pull off the most successful corporate event.

STAGE 1

  • Develop an event mission or purpose statement.
  • Set budget – be sure to leave some wiggle room for those unexpected last minute changes.
  • Find out how many people are attending and what the demographics are.
  • Start to visualize the theme. Social media, blogs, and Pinterest are very helpful with ideas.
  • Location, Date, Time – Research different locations and negotiate price.
  • Determine if there will be speakers.
  • Determine transportation needs (do attendees need to fly, airport transfers, VIP service, buses, etc.)
  • Decide if music is a must.  If so, look at bands or DJs willing to travel to your event location.
  • Determine if there should be a team building activity or experience.
  • Decide if there will be pillow gifts, swag bags, or custom gift bags upon check-in. It’s a nice touch when you check-in to an event no matter where it is, to get a bag of goodies such as a water, granola bar, mints, and the schedule of events.
  • Consider duties and VATs for international locations with shipping gifts and other support materials (signage, etc.).
  • Determine if furniture will need to be rented. Think of tables, chairs, tablecloths, dinnerware, etc.
  • Determine whether or not you’ll need video or audio equipment. If so, electrical will need to be considered.

STAGE 2

  • Confirm the event theme.
  • Book location for your specified date/time and block rooms for guests.
  • Book Music.
  • Book Florist.
  • Confirm food/cocktails.
  • Confirm speakers.
  • Invitations – Send out save-the-dates. Depending on the budget, a printed and mailed card is always a professional touch. If the budget is tight, you can always use the free online service, evite. Also, order the formal invitations and confirm mailing addresses.
  • Order rental furniture.
  • Order electrical and necessary audio equipment.
  • Purchase decorations.
  • Gifts, gifts, gifts! Be sure to book your gifting experience, pillow gifts, or gifts for the swag bags.

STAGE 3

  • Formal invitations and stamped RSVP cards – depending on the event type, send out with enough notice so you and attendees can make appropriate travel arrangements. When to send out?
  • Once RSVP’s have been received, book the appropriate transportation. Local DMC’s (Destination Management Companies) can be extremely helpful for airport transfers, excursion transfers, etc.
  • Print out “schedule of events” for attendees and bring with you to location. This handout could go with the nametags or gift/swag bags.
  • Make a list of to-do’s for yourself – stay on top of your vendors to make sure everything is going as planned.
  • Depending on the size of the event, bring an assistant to help you the day-of in case errands need to be run, while you’re on-site.
  • Do a final walk-through before everyone arrives.
  • Collect all the praise!

To learn more about how we can help you with the gifting aspect of your event, visit: choice-gifts.com/events

A Timeline For Promoting your Event

Choice Gifts

Posted by

If you are new to events marketing, you may struggle to time your marketing communications for optimum impact.

Ignoring for a moment the ‘gurus’ who claim to be able to predict when a tweet or email reminder will reach the greatest number of eyeballs, let’s look at a rough timescale for promoting your event effectively online.

Weeks before your event

Book your venue, acts and make arrangements for security.

If you have video footage of past events featuring the same artist(s), upload it to YouTube to catch people curious about the featured artists. As a bonus, video content is extremely well optimized for search engines so it will boost the chance of your content getting exposure online.

3 weeks before your event

Submit your event to as many listings sites as possible.

Tip: If you’re using evvnt to promote your event on multiple listings sites, we recommend scheduling it to go out at least 2 months in advance. Since different websites have different editorial and content approval calendars, your event information may not receive enough attention if promoted less than 1 month ahead of time. However, social media, email and mobile marketing campaigns can be scheduled as far in advance as you like.

2 weeks before your event

Send out an email informing your subscribers of the event. Email marketing for events will not only drive registrations but will help build relationships, cross promoting content, promoting apps and get feedbacks. Remember to have a share button on the email in order to encourage sharing as well as an unsubscribe one.

1 week before your event

Start promoting the event on Twitter with relevant hashtags  (e.g. #evvnt2014, #weAREevvnt).

Publish the event to your Facebook page. You can set this up in advance as a draft and just tweak as necessary later to save time in the run-up to your event. You can do this either directly on Facebook or using one of the external tools available. You can reach additional users by employing the tagging feature (simply tag your artists/partners pages using @[page name] feature).

If you are promoting your event with an SMS campaign or mobile flyer, this is the time to send a mobile message with brief event details and a website link to notify your potential attendees. A mobile campaign can be one of the most effective ways to promote events with regard to response numbers – there are many low-cost SMS marketing providers out there that can help you.

4 days before your event

Consider sending a reminder email to your subscriber list to remind people who may wish to attend your event but have forgotten the date. Do be careful not to send too many emails, however, as you may soon find people are sending your emails straight to spam.

There are different views on the maximum number you should send, but we recommend no more than 2 a week, as the main reason people give for unsubscribing from mailing lists is because they are receiving emails too frequently.

Likewise, you should consider sending a reminder SMS now.

3 – 2 – 1

In the final few days before your event takes place, keep promoting your event on Twitter and on updates to Facebook. As a close to real-time platform, users who are inundated by hundreds of tweets are more likely to take notice of your post if the event is taking place in the next day or two. Your tweets should be useful and informative, not dressed-up ads. So whether you are providing a piece of interesting news, a guestlist invite or special offer – don’t throw away your followers’ goodwill on endless tweets that provide little value.

In the short term, Twitter is useful for filling your venue – but it can also be a valuable long-term platform, depending on your goals. If your goal is simply to build awareness of your brand, you will gain influence and visibility as you gradually accrue followers.

The day of your event

If you have plans to repeat the event, consider posting tweets in real-time during the event to drum up awareness for the next occasion. One of the best ways to gain followers is by using @ mentions and retweeting other people who tweet about subjects of interest to your own followers – sooner or later people will reciprocate.

Remember, no marketing strategy should exist in a vacuum and cross-referencing all of your content should produce a multiplier effect, hopefully resulting on more bums on seats.

This is a guest post by evvnt. evvnt enables people all over the world to fill their events utilizing the most effective event listing sites on the web. Every minute, with little more than a click, more events and conferences appear in listings, in search engines and on mobile – discoverable by both category and location. With next to no effort customers of evvnt get better attendance, while consumers find events they previously had no idea existed. To date customers in 70 countries worldwide have submitted over 500,000 thousand event listings, created over 300,000 live links, and generated 1 million clicks to ticketing and registration pages. Learn more at www.evvnt.com

4 Tips to Make Your Corporate Events More Enjoyable

Marimer Guevara

Posted by

1.  Be Flexible

If you are organizing an event that includes training sessions, ceremonies or presentations, make sure to give your audience some time to enjoy the trip itself. You spend lots of money choosing a great venue and location. Now, allow for people to interact and get the best out of the event.  Do not over-schedule dinners, cocktail hours and networking opportunities either. Give your attendees some freedom; it will help with team building and company morale.

2. Take advantage of the outdoors

Employees spend most of their time indoors (offices) or traveling for work (airplanes, rental cars and conference rooms). When planning an event make sure to include one or two activities that take place outside. Unless it is raining or snowing, your guests will appreciate some fresh air. Golfing, short hikes and poolside cocktails are among the most popular activities chosen by event planners.

3. Think outside the box with gifts

Planning a corporate event or incentive trip is a difficult task, especially if you have to organize everything from plane tickets to meals.  Usually, selecting gifts for your guests gets left behind. As a result, event planners opt to give the SAME gift to all attendees: standard welcome bags, swag bags, pillow gifts, award gifts, etc. Remember that people have different tastes and it’s very hard to choose a one-gift-fits-all option. Look into other possibilities such as an on-site gift experiences where your guests can choose the gift of their choice from a curated selection of products.  You can get more information on latest gifting trends here.

 4. Geek it out

Include social media hashtags and virtual photobooth sharing so your guests can interact on-line, in real time. It is fun and can help further promote your event or brand.  You could even work with social interaction experts like Pixe.  Try mixing it up in the gifts too. Gadgets and electronics are great gift alternatives to engage your employees. People love connecting the cell phones and computers to new and trendy technology. Earphones, Bluetooth speakers and phone accessories are on the rise!

To learn more about how we can help you achieve innovation at your event, visit: choice-gifts.com/events

For our newest watch collection, click here

For our newest electronics collection, click here

 

The Corporate Marketplace, Inc. launches event gift collection featuring nine trendy timepieces.

Choice Gifts

Posted by

The Corporate Marketplace, Inc. launches event gift collection featuring nine trendy timepieces

N. KINGSTOWN, R.I. (July 15, 2014) – The Corporate Marketplace, leading provider of brand name event gifting experiences, announces a new ChoiceGifts® Watch Collection featuring the trendiest timepieces and the hottest brands.

This Collection features nine different styles for men and women from four popular brands. The exclusive ChoiceGifts Watch Collection includes: Breil, Mondaine, Tommy Bahama and ToyWatch brands.

“Watches make wonderful event gifts. They become a personal statement for every guest, and long after the event, they serve as a lasting reminder of a great time.” said Brian Boucher, Director of Global Event Services for ChoiceGifts. “However, choice is key when offering watches at an event, so we’ve designed this collection to have something for everyone, men and women. From high-style to high-technology and precision craftsmanship, this collection gives each guest a truly unique choice.”

Every event gift detail is handled by the ChoiceGifts’ team, including:

  • working with each planner to select the best gifts for the specific event
  • managing all logistics including shipping, customs paperwork and returns
  • setting up, managing, and breaking down all event gift stations
  • helping every guest choose the right gift, and
  • managing post-event details including paperwork and returns

Read more…

The Corporate Marketplace, Inc. launches an exciting event gift collection featuring six of the hottest consumer electronics.

Choice Gifts

Posted by

The Corporate Marketplace, Inc. Launches An Exciting Event Gift Collection Featuring Six Of The Hottest Consumer Electronics.

North Kingstown, RI — June 3, 2014. The Corporate Marketplace, leading provider of brand name event gifting experiences, announces a new ChoiceGifts Electronics Collection featuring six of the most popular consumer tech items, from battery packs to headphones from Beats by Dr. Dre.

“It’s an easy choice for event planners, but more important, it’s fun for guests because they get to choose gifts from an exciting selection of the hottest tech items.” said Brian Boucher, Director of Global Event Services for The Corporate Marketplace. “…and for planners, the best part is that we do everything for them… from setup and guest assistance, to breakdown, shipping and all the paperwork.” He went on to add… “We like to say The only thing a planner should have to do is collect compliments.”

The exclusive ChoiceGifts® Electronics Collection includes the BOOM Urchin Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speaker, Flips Audio HD Headphones, a Beats by Dr. Dre Tour In-Ear Headphone set, the Braven 570 Bluetooth Speaker, and innovative Mophie Juice Pack smart phone battery life extenders.

“This collection brings exciting, new opportunities to event planners who want to offer innovation and a variety of gift experiences to their customers.” added Boucher “I love working these events – everyone gets so excited about the choices!” Read more…

Choice Gifts’ parent company receives Incentive Magazine’s 2014 Platinum Partner Award for fourth consecutive year.

Choice Gifts

Posted by

Incentive MagazineNorth Kingstown, RI May 19, 2014. The Corporate Marketplace Inc. (Parent company of Choice Gifts) of North Kingstown, R.I., the nation’s leading supplier of brand name products for reward and incentive programs and corporate gifts, has been named the winner of Incentive Magazine’s Platinum Partner Awards’ Corporate Gift Services category.
Read more…

ARTICLE TAGS
| | |

Attend the 6th Annual AA-ISP Inside Sales Leadership Summit

Choice Gifts

Posted by

The 6th Annual AA-ISP Inside Sales Leadership Summit will be held on April 8th and 9th at the beautiful Intercontinental Chicago O’Hare, just minutes from O’Hare International Airport. The 2014 Summit will feature all new presentations from over 40 of the today’s most recognized Inside Sales Experts. Learn the latest tips, technologies, and proven best practices for solving today’s toughest challenges and issues.

In addition, Summit attendees have plenty of time to network and share with fellow Sales Leaders throughout the event. The Birds of a Feather discussions help to connect you with like-minded individuals on common topics of interest and the Attendee Networking Reception lets everyone meet in a relaxed, informal atmosphere. The Solution Provider Exhibits offer attendees the opportunity to meet with today’s leading inside Sales service providers and learn first-hand, about their various products, service offerings and more importantly – if they can help you or your organization.

The 2014 Summit will be packed full of innovative topics, practical ideas, and best practices you can implement immediately. You’ll leave revitalized, exhilarated, and armed with knowledge, techniques, and tools to help you improve your Inside Sales organization as well improve your own personal management and leadership skills. The Annual AA-ISP Award luncheon, a Summit tradition, will be held on Wednesday and will honor those top individuals and organizations that have made a significant impact to the inside sales profession during the past year. Check out the past 5 years of Leadership Summits in review.

Enhance your Summit experience: Join us on Monday, April 7th, from 2:00 – 5:00 for the Pre-Summit Executive Workshop. This interactive session will focus on leadership development and common challenges. In addition, you’ll have an opportunity to meet and network with other liked-minded sales leaders at the exclusive Executive Welcome Reception on Monday evening. The Workshop has limited seating so be sure to reserve your seat early.

Click here for complete details and to register.

Check out the AA-ISP Video!

 

 

2014’s “Hot” Incentive Destinations are…

Brian Boucher

Posted by

Despite the seemingly end-less winter with weekly snowstorms across the nation and some of the largest-scale travel delays in the US since the late 1980’s, the busy 2014 Incentive Travel season is well underway. To help brighten the day and break us all out of the snow-coma, the team at Choice Gifts™ wanted to share some of this year’s “hot” incentive destinations based on customer feedback survey: Read more…

Four tips for launching your employee recognition program.

Daren Jennings

Posted by

You’ve always felt that your company lacked a cohesive recognition strategy, but you’ve finally convinced the executive leadership to support employee recognition. Now what?

Read more…

Latest Gifting trends for Incentive Travel Programs

Brian Boucher

Posted by

As many of us prepare for another hectic holiday season, many corporate meeting planners are entering the final stages of organizing Q1/Q2 Incentive Trips, National Sales Meetings, Corporate Retreats, etc. In honor of Black Friday & Cyber Monday, we wanted to share some hot gift ideas and trendy items that the Choice Gifts team has seen for the upcoming incentive travel season. If you typically include gifting as part of your program, now is the time to begin brainstorming and sourcing gifts to avoid last minute delivery delays while inventories are still plentiful.
Read more…

From the 2013 HR Tech Conference: Why gifts instead of cash?

Daren Jennings

Posted by

On the floor of 2013 the HR Tech Conference In Las Vegas Daren Jennings takes a moment to address a common question when it comes to recognition – why gifts instead of cash?

How to avoid the annual panic around B2B gifting

Tom Stearns

Posted by

It’s that time of year of again – time for corporate holiday gift planning. Yes, planning – that’s the optimal word. Typically the word is panicking, because most people don’t actually plan their corporate gifts. If you do, congratulations, you can probably skip the rest of this article.

So let’s get right to it. If you intend to provide memorable corporate gifts to employees, clients, partners, vendors or anyone else, here are a few things you should be thinking about now: Read more…

Take a fresh approach to your Years-of-Service program

Daren Jennings

Posted by

In this week’s video blog, Daren Jennings discusses how to better engage your entire workforce with a fresh approach to your Years-of-Service program.

Rethink your employee holiday gift budget

Daren Jennings

Posted by

‘Tis the season! Well, almost. Before you start agonizing over this year’s holiday gift for your employees, check out Daren Jennings’ video blog. Daren shares his ideas on how one small change to your gift giving strategy can have a big impact on your company’s employee engagement levels, without spending extra money.

Four basic tips for measuring your recognition efforts.

Marimer Guevara

Posted by

Success

It is always a good idea to incentivize and recognize your workforce. After all, you know there is nothing more valuable than your own employees. And, of course you do your job: events are organized, plaques are engraved, gifts are given, bonuses are paid… Once everything is settled you get some smiles and thank you’s… Everyone is finally happy! Right? But, are they really?

I am the Marketing Research Analyst at TCMPi and yes, I am mostly driven by graphs, numbers and reports – but there is a good reason for that: Results are always important! They hold the key to success! That is why measuring the effectiveness of your programs should be a priority on your list. You would like for your employees to be pleased with their jobs and to be proud of being part of your company however, have you ever wondered if the incentives/rewards/bonuses/gifts you give them are actually working? If not, don’t panic! It is never too late to start getting valuable information. Here are a few tips to start: Read more…

5 tips to avoid customs catastrophes

Brian Boucher

Posted by

CustomsWe’ve all been there, the client blinded by the breath-taking beauty of Santorini, or the turquoise waters of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic that hastily selects their event site without researching or considering some of the arduous location logistics such as Customs.

If you find yourself needing to provide and/or ship supplies, promotional products, event gifts, etc. here are a few helpful tips to prepare yourself and (hopefully) avoid any customs holds or clearance issues: Read more…

5 tips to make your sales incentives more effective

Daren Jennings

Posted by

Sales IncentivesMost sales leaders agree that it’s important to offer sales incentives that go beyond normal compensation and bonuses. If done right, those rewards can become the most powerful ingredient in driving the kinds of behavior you want to see in your sales force. Here are 5 easy tips to make sure your incentive efforts are doing what they need to do:

1. Be Consistent

If you run a quarterly sales contest, make sure to run one every quarter. The goal is to motivate your team to do their best, day in and day out. Think about your runners up – if they barely missed the win in Q2, they’re going to want another chance to redeem themselves in Q3. If you don’t give them that opportunity, your incentive plan will surely fall flat. Instead, give them every chance to prove themselves by offering a consistent program. Read more…

Way to go! Why public recognition makes rewards and incentives worth more.

Tom Stearns

Posted by

public_recognitionAccording to research from the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP), both leaders and representatives in the sales arena cite “rewards and recognition: motivating teams and reps” as one of the top five challenges of sales organizations. Sales managers are tasked with motivating their teams to achieve specific goals. Recognition and incentive programs are used to excite their teams and encourage them to perform.  What is the best method of recognition to use? Read more…

3 things you should know about giving gift cards

Brian Boucher

Posted by

3 things you should know about giving gift cardsPractical though they may be, giving gift cards to employees, clients or business partners can backfire if you’re not careful. These tips can help you avoid embarrassment or outright disaster.

Before jumping to the conclusion that gift cards are the solution to showing appreciation to your employees, clients or business partners, take a second look at these three common considerations. Read more…