Last Holiday season, I received all sorts of holiday business marketing, cards, emails, and promotional gifts from vendors and business associates. Two stood out in my mind, but for different reasons. One was memorable for its sincerity and the other for its crassness. How do your business partners and customers perceive your holiday business correspondence?

The Good the Bad and the Ugly of Holiday Business Marketing

The Good

A company I had done business with sent me a Holiday Card through the mail. The envelope was hand-addressed, the card was a tasteful winter scene, and a handwritten note was inside. The handwritten note thanked me and referred to specific interactions between myself and the company. It went on to wish me happy holidays and invite me to an open house with snacks and entertainment in appreciation of my patronage. I was impressed. I’ve recommend their company to others. It was an effective holiday business greeting.

The Bad 

In Mid-November, I received an email from a company I had done business with. The subject line pretty much said it all. It was “Holiday Savings!” the email shared an image of a rosy-cheeked Santa next to their product surrounded by ribbons and bows. The copy shouted the special offers, only for select customers, and limited time only. It was an impersonal form letter with little or nothing to do with the holidays. It was strictly marketing. Okay, I get that. I’m in marketing. But which do you think is the better marketing campaign for long-term customer loyalty, the good or the bad? It wasn’t an effective holiday business effort as far as I was concerned. It didn’t motivate me to buy their product or advocate for their organization.

The Ugly Sweater

A company I work with holds an annual ugly sweater contest. It’s competitive. The top sweaters win prizes. It’s a lot of fun. The cheer and laughter carry over to their interactions with customers. Holiday cheer spreads—so spread the cheer. Decorate, play holiday music, and let personnel wear holiday garb (not only ugly sweaters). Your customers will notice. They’ll see the smile on your teammates’ faces and hear it in their voices.

The Office Party

I remember a Christmas party I attended with my wife. I had been with the company less than a year, and it was the first event we had attended. There were many adult beverages. It got loud and bawdy. My wife and I left early. When I asked my wife her thoughts, she said, “It was a lot of people desperately trying to have fun.” The party was about holiday business, not the business of the holiday.

Today, I’ll attend an annual catered holiday luncheon at a business office where I facilitate leadership development. The president thanks everyone for their contributions and gives individual recognition, and there are door prizes! I look forward to this event, and so do the employees.

Close it up

I’ve worked in retail, sales, and marketing most of my life. My first Christmas with TKO Graphix was the first time, as an adult, that I got home on Christmas Eve before 7 pm. That was 2010. Christmas was on Saturday. They had a luncheon the Thursday before Christmas. After the luncheon, the leadership sent everyone home for the holidays. I had the entire Christmas Eve day off! Even B2B companies may not always be able to do that. They may have urgent jobs that we need to complete. But I know this – If TKO is open, there’s a good reason. Are you open? Do you have a good reason?

Give back

The single most memorable gift I’ve ever received was from my eldest daughter. It was nearly 30 years ago, yet it’s still fresh in my mind. She had moved out of state and was on her own. The gift was a simple card, but the note inside was the gift. It said, “Dad, your present this year is a coat I gave to a homeless lady. I’ve passed her on the street several times, and she didn’t have one.” The Best Christmas Present Ever

Contribute to a customer’s charity, get behind employee’s initiatives, or donate in an employee or customer’s name.

He’s Checking it Twice so Be Sure to Check Your Holiday Business Marketing 

Will your business be naughty or nice this year? Will your company use the holidays to send thinly veiled marketing pieces or sincerely reach out to your customers?

How Can I Help You?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

So, does your business have a management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.

Are You in Sales Management?

Are you leading people or managing projects? Do you set goals based on activities to continue, eliminate, or improve or do you strictly look at the results? Do you believe one sales strategy fits all your clients and all your sales team? If so, you’re walking the streets I paved, and those streets lead to disappointment. The good news is if you recognize these behaviors in yourself, you can change. I did. I eventually became a highly effective sales manager and so can you. This workbook is the place to start. The New Sales Managers Workbook

Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash