Posted on March 1, 2021
Gifting for Virtual Happy Hour: Tips from SAP
Like virtually every live conference in 2020, SAP’s annual SAPPHIRE NOW Reimagined event went fully digital in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But SAP didn’t want to lose the emotional experience that comes with in-person events (or the valuable networking), and was looking to replicate the toasting experience in its VIP Success Lounge celebration online.
In the past, SAP’s Sales and Marketing groups had experimented with online lunch-and-learns and other meetings, sending Uber Eats, Dunkin Donuts and other gift cards to complement virtual meetings. However, gift cards proved challenging. Many are paid for but go unredeemed, have complicated tax rules, and are difficult to track if and when they were used.
For this critical event, SAP wanted a different experience. They needed a better way to source champagne and treats to VIP clients, organize the campaign and deliver on-time, no matter where guests were physically located.
How did SAP’s Director of Digital Content, Jennifer Segro pull it off?
Finding the gift
Jennifer worked with her dedicated CorporateGift Account Manager to source gift that fit SAP’s specific criteria (based on company policies) and per-recipient budget. Once the perfect bundle of drink-and-snacks was found, her team received a sample to ensure presentation and quality were up to par.
Giving the gift of choice
A considerate host ensures everyone’s included. The choice of alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage was a key requirement in this campaign.
Using CorporateGift’s E-Gift solution, SAP asked attendees to choose between champagne or sparkling cider options, paired with a snack tower.
E-Gift invitation from CorporateGift.com
Clients could also decline the E-Gift if they were unable to attend or company policy prohibits them from accepting gifts. Knowing the exact quantity requested for each option before placing gift orders directly from suppliers helped SAP optimize their spend and reduce waste.
With many key clients working from home, office addresses on file in a CRM are typically unreliable. E-Gifts allow recipients to enter their preferred shipping address to ensure successful delivery.
The post-toast experience
The response from guests has been overwhelmingly positive, from “this is so cool!” to “I can’t wait to get another one (bottle of champagne).”
Through the CG Elite platform, SAP’s Account Managers can see the thank you notes and responses from each E-Gift recipient.
Says Matt Cohen, Senior Account Executive, SAP: “It’s been big for Sales and big for customer experience. We want people to have a good experience whether meeting with us, joining a webinar or celebrating a customer milestone. The unique experience and physical touchpoint is important.”
Having one, centralized place for sourcing, sending and managing gifting campaigns has more post-show perks. Busy account execs don’t have to track down receipts or submit any reports, and every user has insight into the campaign, results, responses and more.
In response to COVID-19, virtual experiences are becoming so important and SAP plans to leverage them very heavily across a variety of departments, events and customers for occasions such as go-lives, customer milestones, deal signings and new feature releases.
“We don’t want to wait until the next Sapphire event to celebrate. I can see using the gifting platform more like twice per quarter for group activities, as well as on a client-by-client basis for individual occasions” says Matt Cohen.
Tips for Planning Your Virtual Happy Hour Celebration
Plan Ahead. Whether a Summit, company party or client meeting, it’s important to provide enough lead time for finding a gift, ordering a sample (and potentially revising your order and repeating the process), customized gift production (adding your branding and greeting messages), sending E-Gifts and up to 2 reminders, and delivery in advance of the event (many alcohol and beverage gifts ship ground). We recommend getting started a minimum 8 weeks in advance for net-new gift bundles. Remember, you may be placing your final orders after taking RSVPs to minimize waste, so plan accordingly.
Use a gifting platform! Gifting platforms are designed to help streamline the corporate gifting process. CorporateGift is the only platform with a native gifting marketplace to help you find and kit great gifts, manage campaigns and E-Gifts, easily re-order inventory and more.
Know your all-in budget. Factor in any costs such as one-time set up fees for customization, per unit drop-shipping fees, gift card or other inserts (production and run charges) in addition to the max value per gift.
Mind your guidelines. Know your company policies around branding and use of brand marks, max spend per person, restricted product types (e.g. alcohol, if applicable), policies for gifting employees versus clients outside your organization, reporting requirements, etc.
Think inclusive. What options should you offer recipients to ensure no one’s left out? Are there attendees from countries you can’t ship to that you can segment out of your E-Gift send? Can you offer them alternatives such as gift vouchers, or source local suppliers to fulfill their gifts?
Offer an opt-out. Let recipients decline for any reason. CorporateGift supports exchange, re-gift or upgrades from our Marketplace if you choose to allow it.
Interested in what a corporate gifting platform can do for you? Book a CG Elite demo today.