We are starting to get the annual round of inquiries about what is the best gift for AR to send to analysts during the holiday season. Common Items that vendors have sent in the past include bottles of expensive wine, boxes of chocolates, consumer electronic gadgets, pen sets, clocks, Steuben glass trinkets, and so on. This annual exercise can produce anxiety in AR staff and distract from the true strategic mission of AR, which is generating leads and assisting sales to close business.
Frankly, this annual exercise is a waste of precious time and resources. Why? Analysts receive so many packages during the holidays that any one package does not stand out. Many items are not even kept by analysts, either ending up in the trash or in the coffee room for administrative staff to pick through.
While some analysts like gifts, many others cannot accept them because of firm policy. In this age of media stories about financial analyst conflicts-of-interest, IT analyst firms are starting to forbid analysts to accept gifts to avoid any PR disasters. See the comments from analysts on both sides of the issue in Analysts and swag – A waste of time and money… or worse. Complying with firm policies on vendor gifts just adds an additional layer of effort onto already overstressed staff.
- AR should skip the “gift giving” exercise this year
- Reallocate the time to additional analyst touches, planning or staff training
Bottom Line: Every year AR departments waste precious time and money sending analysts holiday gifts. Because these gifts are ineffectual and not wanted by the analysts, we suggest that AR drop the practice and use the resources more productively. If you really, really have to give the analysts a gift, give them something that they really, really want – a private conversation with your CEO.
Question: AR – have you given analysts gifts in the past? How have you measured the effectiveness of this exercise?