Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Gift Giving

The giving and receiving of gifts is "a pervasive form of consumer behaviour engaged in on a frequent basis by all members of modern society" (Banks, 1979)

To give a gift, emotionally connects the giver and receiver.
‘Research carried out by psychologists and marketers, among others, have found that giving gifts is a surprisingly complex and important part of human interaction, helping to define relationships and strengthen bonds with family and friends’ (Krusa 2008).

How does gift giving affect marketers?
‘It has an inbuilt habit of reciprocity bound into the construction of human relationships that establishes a virtuous circle of consumption - making gift giving a phenomenon of intrinsic interest to marketers’ (Fong 2009)
'Gifting is an emotionally charged chance for retailers and manufacturers to connect directly with two target markets at once which gives gifting its opportunity for exponential marketing impact' (Admap).
Marketers use these associated emotions and sense of it being imperative to they're benefit. As we know, firms such as accountants have long made use of mailed, timely reminders, such as organizers mailed before tax season. Not all industries are that astute, however, and a recent mailing from a Southwest American florist provides a good tip for firms to offer to certain clients. Mayfield florist sends reminder postcards some 50 weeks after a customer had previously ordered a birthday bouquet. "Last year, we assisted you with a birthday order on..." the card reads, then gives the date. "If we can assist you again this year, please call."
The florist's local and toll-free numbers are given, as is the Web site address, and the florist's mailing address, followed by the number of the previous year's order.
The front of the card also offers a picture of a suggested bouquet, and the back offers a written description of another bouquet. Very astute!
Gift Giving can be viewed as a ritual involving the selection, presentation, acceptance and interpretation of a gift, which can be accentuated during every holiday or special occasion. It can be interpreted as a symbolic exchange where the giver is motivated by acknowledging the social bonds between people. 'The situation in which giving gifts take place can be influenced by certain cultures, occasions or ceremonies whether they are personal or on a professional basis' (Solomon et al).
The more things change, the more they stay the same -- at least when it comes to the holiday season. While consumers will focus on traditional gift categories like clothing and books, what they will be buying in those categories will be different from previous years.
There are certain times you just have to accept it, you will be out of pocket and need to give gifts. for example, Christmas.
This previously religious, joyous occasion has been turned into a marketers dream.
'How would you feel if over the course of many centuries the joyful celebration of the miracle of your virgin birth was slowly but inexorably transformed into an increasingly secular event characterized by binge eating, an insatiable lust for consumer goods and blindly pagan reverence for a mythical, chronically obese, gift-giving hermit?" (Feschuk 2008)
The late Cambridge economist, Nicholas Kaldor, is said to have observed that the money supply surges in December and then falls back in January, before dryly remarking, "At last I have discovered the cause of Christmas!"

'Whenever consumer shopping behaviour is driven by emotion, the shopper's goal is to buy a thing to achieve a special feeling, enhance an emotional experience or deepen an emotional reaction.' It is seen to be an action that will strengthen the emotional connection between individuals (Admap)

Contrary to Kotler's beliefs, Social and psychological factors are regarded as more important than economical ones in determining the consumer's brand choice behavior in the gift-giving process of a specialty good such as an expensive mobile telephone to their family members, close friends and colleagues.

Then talking about the change in the level of involvement of gift giving and the emergence of 'experience gifts', Clarke stated: 'Concepts of donor sacrifice of time and effort, alongside gift surprise emerge as especially pertinent to experience gift giving, and notions of sharing, suspense and recipient sacrifice reinforce the proposition that experience gifts are deserving of researcher effort to better understand the phenomenon.' (Clarke 2006)

Interestingly, Fong talks about the altruistic nature of gift giving. ‘despite that fact that agents have no intrinsic concern for reciprocity or fairness, the more altruistic the recipient is, the more the donor exaggerates the gift size.’ (Fong 2009). I have to agree with this thought.

I have to Say that as much as i wish to disagree with the following statement i know its true... but don't stop buying me gifts because of it!
‘cash is often superior to gifts in-kind for maximizing welfare’ (Principe 2009).

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