What could be easier than sending a gift to a customer, prospect or partner? Let's say that you decide to send a box of cupcakes with your company logo to all of your top prospects, to keep your firm top of mind. Great idea, right?
According to corporate gifting specialists Alyce, the answer is “not necessarily.” Your prospects might be diabetic. Or fitness fanatics. Or on a diet. And even if they do like cupcakes, having bad contact data can mean delivering a box of stale baked goods - and that doesn't exactly build your brand capital. This is one of the core principles behind this young firm that helps businesses make corporate gifting about the receiver, not the giver, to help build stronger relationships.
We recently sat down with Alyce's Director of Gift Operations Kelly Salmon and Operations Project Manager John Hochberger to discuss their unique services and their data quality needs – both of which go hand-in-hand for their business.
Alyce's services are aimed at corporations who send out large numbers of gifts and want them to have the maximum impact on their business relationships. How do they make this happen? By focusing on what recipients are interested in outside of work. As Salmon puts it, “Everyone has something they do from nine to five. We really put our focus on five to nine: what do you do when you're not working?”
Alyce's services leverage the wealth of open, publicly accessible information that is available about recipients to create personalized gifting strategies. “We'll look at their interests in terms of what they post on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and all their different social sites that are publicly available,” according to Salmon. “We don't grab or look at anything that is private. It's just like what you could find if you went and looked.”
This, in turn, leads to better gift choices. “Let's say I'm researching John and I see that he lives in the city. He has two dogs. He enjoys tennis. What can we send John that he might love? How about this really cool Yeti Dog Bowl? Or this cool backpack that is made to hold a tennis racket? Or suppose that he volunteers with this food pantry – how about if we send a donation to Feeding America? Then you – as the marketing or salesperson who wants to send these gifts – look at the people on your list and choose gifts they will love.”
Salmon notes that their infrastructure is designed around building engagement between companies and their recipients, which benefits both parties. “A personalized message gets sent, by email or physically in a beautiful gift box, with an invitation to accept their free gift using a code – and now they can accept that, or exchange it for anything else on our marketplace of over 13,000 items, or donate the value to charity. And if it's a prospect, or a current customer, or a lead that has gone cold or in mid-cycle, often they are accepting this gift with the understanding that you are going to book a meeting with them to talk further.”
Contact data quality is critically important to the entire value proposition of Alyce's services. “Our physical gift invitations have to land, because if they don't get to the recipient, we're dead before we've even started. Moreover, we send everything through a top delivery service, but they will charge us if the address is incomplete – for example, if it's going to a high-rise building with no suite number.” Additionally, while Alyce makes their initial contacts to business addresses, recipients have the option to have gifts delivered to other addresses such as their homes, so it's important for customer satisfaction to guard against issues such as incorrect addresses and data entry errors.
“When we ship a physical (box) gift invitation, we always ship it to the person's business address. When the person accepts their gift, they let us know where they would like to have it shipped, and this is often their home address. We use Service Objects' DOTS Address Validation - US service to verify both the business address and then again to verify the address they provided.”
Hochberger also notes that having the ability to validate their customer addresses by sending Service Objects a list made it easier for them to get started right away, as they move towards an eventual API integration with recipient data entry forms and for finding addresses in real-time. In the meantime, working with Service Objects has helped them ensure delivery accuracy and avoid excess delivery charges.
We are delighted to work with unique, innovative companies such as Alyce, who are finding new ways for companies to add value to their business relationships. As Salmon notes, “Working with Service Objects has enabled Alyce to significantly improve the recipient experience – and like your company, reduce waste.”