This Holiday Season Don’t Play Santa Claus to the Analysts [AR practitioner question]

question-mark-graphic.jpgWe 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.

SageCircle Technique:

  • 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?

One comment

  1. I’m afraid that I don’t agree with the sentiments posted about not sending gifts to analysts. I feel that, at Christmastime, it’s a thoughtful gesture to send a good, but not necessarily expensive gift to analysts. Say an US$15 bottle of wine is absolutely fine. As I’ve worked as an analyst, at the end a hard year, it’s nice to receive a gift. The vendor’s not necesarily trying to curry favour – all that’s being done is that they’re using Relationship Marketing techniques to raise awareness of a vendor’s brand. The exercise doesn’t necessarily sway an analyst’s opinion of a vendor, but it does not harm and it’s a relatively low cost exercise for the vendor to carry out.

    And yes I have a list of the gift policy of analyst companies, so it’s all above board.

    I would guard against giving analysts larger, technology-related gifts but sending a low cost gift to analysts at special times of the year is fine in my view.

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