How to do holiday marketing well

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The holidays are upon us! Thanksgiving has just past and Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are coming up on us like freight train in a tunnel. Besides a time to spend with families, the holidays are also a time for bad marketers to do awful holiday-themed marketing and annoy everyone. Don’t be that marketer—here’s how to do holiday marketing well.


The first rule of holiday marketing is that your message should tie into the holiday somehow. Make a connection between the holiday and your product and service. Even if you have a B2B brand, you should be able to make some kind of connection. If you can’t, then your awesome holiday marketing campaign is probably just going to be noise to your audience.


Holiday cards – more to them than you’d think

The most obvious way to connect to the Holiday Season, is to wish your customers happy holidays. A “happy holidays” card is a chance to get in front of your customers and remind them that you exist and reinforce your brand messages. Unless you sell sleds, what’s the point of sending a picture of a sleigh on a snowy night to your customers? You’re wasting a branding opportunity. Creativity and comedy can go a long way here—for example, if you sell physical products, can you stack them up into a Christmas tree shape and take a photo? Or, consider making a funny video like software company Zendesk did a couple years ago.


While a holiday card is good for branding and building customer goodwill, it’s not a good place to put on a hard sell. Trying to sell something with the company holiday card is the bad marketing equivalent of mailing a holiday letter with a few business cards to everyone you ever met when you’re trying to get a job. It’s just tacky and annoying.


End of year discounts

Everyone loves getting a deal. If you have extra inventory or just want to boost sales at the end of the year, consider offering a special end of year discount. Some lucky departments find themselves with extra money at the end of the year they have to spend. Help them choose to spend it on you instead of the office holiday party by offering a nice discount.


Reflections on the year that was and the new one

Did you make any big product changes or achieve significant milestones in the past year? Do you have big plans for how you’ll make your customers’ lives better next year? Tell your customers about what you did or will do to help them—just make sure to put the customer first here and show them how the changes helped them or will help them. Don’t make the moment all about you and boast about how great you are. Your customers will tune out bragging. Keep everything customer-centric.


Think outside of Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Don’t forget about the other holidays! There are many other holidays besides the big November and December holidays—Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, etc. etc. Besides the big holidays, there are plenty of offbeat holidays and special days/weeks to celebrate. For example, if you sell pies, March 14 —Pi Day—should be a big day for your company. If you don’t sell pies, is there a way you can work pie into a promotion?


Work in cyber security? October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Offer HR services to clients? The first week of September is National Payroll Week.


The possibilities for holiday promotions are endless and you’re only limited by the bounds of your creativity. Happy Holidays!

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