Deal Tombstones: 5 Ways to Magnify Their Marketing Impact

February 9, 2024 by David Parry
Modular Lucite Deal Tombstones

If may be new to deal tombstones or, as they’re also more commonly known, “deal toys“. To the extent you do know them, they might seem like a waste of time, money, and effort. The word “toy”, after all, usually tends to denote something that, however amusing, is still basically pretty frivolous and insubstantial.

Deal tombstones Have Several Significant Functions

One is to recognize and reward the efforts of those employees, usually at an investment bank, who put together a transaction.

The other, even more significant rationale involves the bank’s clients. Unlike the countless, interchangeable pens, letter openers, and clocks that banks once gave clients as celebratory gifs following a transaction, deal toys are distinctive, bespoke items—ones that tend to have considerable value and cachet with the clients receiving them.

That cachet leads them not only to keep but proudly display them for years to come.

And that’s precisely where the marketing value comes in.

For almost 60 years now, banks have appreciated the impact of deal tombstones. Whether they’re made of Lucite, crystal, wood, etc., or displayed in a reception area, conference room, or office, they succeeded in silently keeping that bank’s name (and brand) in front of the clients for years—even decades.

Amplifying Your Deal Tombstone’s Marketing Value

So deal tombstones have marketing value—and something that’s been proven over a number of decades. But what about special situations in which you may want to enhance that value and impact? There are a number of reasons for this.

You may be looking to celebrate a landmark transaction of some sort. Or the transaction might involve a new, or particularly prized client. Or the deal might mark the first foray of your bank (or group or office) into a particular sector, type of transaction, or geographic region.

Obviously, a memorably creative tombstone offers one route to increased impact on a client. (And rest assured: a memorable piece doesn’t necessarily involve a flamboyant design or a huge budget). But are there other, additional ways of heightening a deal toy’s impact?

We’ve outlined a few ideas below.

Deal Tombstone Custom Packaging

Custom boxes can greatly enhance the perceived value—and marketing impact—of a deal toy.

1) Custom Packaging

Custom presentation boxes provide a cost-effective way of increasing the perceived value of a deal toy. They also provide another way of showcasing your logo (especially effective when coupled with that of your client).

Multiple Transaction "Graveyard" Tombstone

A so-called “graveyard” design incorporating a number of tombstones. These pieces can highlight a firm’s longstanding relationship with a given client, or its expertise in, for instance, a particular sector or region.


2) “Graveyard” Pieces

A “graveyard” design is an assemblage of “tombstones”, each representing a separate transaction, in a single piece.

Graveyards are a cost-effective way to commemorate a number of deals at once (which makes them an ideal solution if you have a backlog of deals you need to commemorate.)

But graveyard pieces also offer a number of marketing possibilities. You might, for instance, want to provide a client with a piece commemorating not only one transaction but a number of transactions you’ve performed on their behalf.

Or you could use a graveyard design to serve a more general marketing goal. A graveyard piece on display in a reception area or conference room could, for example, show transactions involving a variety of clients that highlight your expertise and experience in m&a, Latin America, or the tech sector.

Modular Deal Toy Design

Modular designs like this are ideal for a series of related transactions. They can also showcase your firm’s service on behalf of a single client over time.


3) Modular Deal Tombstone Designs

Modular designs commemorate a series of related transactions for a given client over a period of time. They can be a very compelling, tangible expression of your sustained commitment (and dedication) to that client over time. One example is the puzzle piece shown at the top of this post. Another is the modular design shown above, in which successive deals are slotted into a base.

4) Signature Designs

One ongoing strategy for elevating the impact of your deal toys involves a signature design. A recognizable signature tombstone design is yet another way to maintain visibility and further advance your brand with clients.

Deal Toy with Custom Embedment

Few things resonate more with clients than a commemorative incoporating their own product.

5) Deal Tombstones Incorporating Custom Touches

One surefire way of ensuring that both a deal toy—and your brand—continue to resonate with a client involves customization. More specifically, it involves an element of customization particularly significant to your client.

That might mean, for instance, a tombstone with a Lucite embedment of your client’s actual product. Or the design could be based on a 3-D facsimile of that product. Or it could creatively play off the client’s brand mascot or logo.

The key here is to incorporate something that with meaning unique to the recipient.

Maximizing the Marketing Impact of Your Tombstone

To fully appreciate the marketing value of a deal tombstone, you have to approach it from several levels. Yes, deal toys have a demonstrated ability to advance an institution’s brand, such as that of an investment bank. That also holds, as mentioned before, on a secondary level. They can further the brand (and reputation) of a group of offices within that bank.

But even beyond that, deal toys serve another, more subtle marketing goal. Importantly, they can also help advance your personal brand. They provide tangible evidence of your own expertise and experience, ones that you will probably want to take with you as you change jobs (or simply move to successive jobs at the same firm.)

At The Corporate Presence, we’ve been creating and enhancing the value of deal toys for clients for over 40 years. Whatever the size or type of transaction you’d like to commemorate, we can make sure your deal toy recognizes its full marketing potential. Reach out to us and get your project started.




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