Everybody loves getting gifts, but when it comes to the corporate world, some gifts you get may cause a conflict of interest, be against your company policy, or simply make you uncomfortable. That’s why if you’re going to give your clients or customers a gift for the holidays, make sure you don’t induce any of those feelings.

Know what you can’t give.

Some companies have gift policies in place that forbid employees from accepting certain gifts such as alcohol, cash, gifts involving travel, etc. Before you go ahead and make a purchase, make sure you look into your client’s gift policy. You don’t want to give them something they can’t accept.

Consider the culture.

If you’re giving a gift to an international client, do a little research to find out what their culture considers to be an appropriate gift. Also, if they celebrate something other than Christmas, make sure you take note and give them something appropriate for that holiday.

Don’t be too promotional.

Our digital marketing agency knows that combining a nice gift with a little bit of company promotion can be a good idea, but don’t go overboard. Giving clients or customers something that’s obviously for the sake of advertising not only looks tacky, but significantly lessens the value of your gift.

Avoid favoritism.

If you know that the people you’re giving gifts to will see each other or will share what they’ve received, get them the same gift (or gifts that are considered equal). This will prevent them from thinking that you favor one over the rest.

Pay attention to timing.

If it’s not around the holidays and you’d like to give a gift, consider the timing of it. For example: Don’t give a gift when you’re trying to negotiate a contract – you’ll just seem like you’re bribing them. Also, don’t give a gift to someone you’ve never worked with – this will also seem like a bribe.

Get personal.

If your client or customer is someone you talk to often or someone you’ve become friendly with, get personal with your gift. If they love their pet dog, get them a subscription to a monthly dog treat program. Or, if they are avid hikers, get them a gift card to the local sporting goods store. A personal gift shows that you care.