Every year, I give a donation to my alma mater, the University of Missouri. And small though it may be, I get not one or two, but THREE thank-yous for my donation.

They come in different forms—a link to a video from a student who received a scholarship, a postcard hand-signed by a student and a letter from the fund manager. All take time, resources and people to produce. I appreciate every one of these pieces of correspondence, and they are a big factor in my continued participation each year.

This personal example is not all that different from marketing trade shows or association products. Whether it’s a standard for message touchpoints throughout a dues cycle or—ahem—a custom-branded candy bar box to recognize exhibitors (see picture), active gratitude should be part of your communications and marketing strategy.

We don’t get very far without our customers and clients. A simple, well-placed thank-you might earn you some loyalty.

Acts of gratitude, from left: Chocolate box design for client exhibitor mailer; Fixation-designed wrapping paper mailed to clients and friends over the holidays

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