I’ve never rated sending Business-to-Business Christmas cards as a great idea. At one time I used this as an excuse because my business was so busy on the run up to Christmas, I never had time to write them … unless I did the job in August when trade was quieter. But when I thought it through, I began to believe my own rationale.
Why do I make this claim? Not because I’m a grumpy Scrooge type but because lots of other people do it.
There’s two probable reasons for sending a B2B Christmas card. The first is a seasonal goodwill gesture in appreciation for being a good customer/supplier. The second is a marketing exercise, hoping that the recipient will continue to be a good customer/supplier. Both are perfectly acceptable reasons and I’m not suggesting you don’t send Christmas cards, rather that such a medium may not be the best way to get your message across. And if traditional cards are not a good idea, e-Greetings via email are, in my opinion, worse.
Lets be honest, most people are otherwise preoccupied in the two or three weeks before Christmas to fully take note of your gesture. They probably wouldn’t even notice if they didn’t receive Season’s Greetings from you! So what do you do?
If marketing is about standing out from the crowd, getting noticed and remembered, you need to do something different. A Happy New Year card may have more impact, or a Happy Epiphany, Happy St George’s Day, Happy Winnie the Pooh Day (yes, really, on 18th January) or, any week of the year, a Happy Monday card. So suggestion #1 is, send your greeting at a different time. You can get inspiration searching ‘Awareness Days’ online.
Or, instead of a card, how about a small gift? Consider the annual or lifetime value of a customer to your business. Now would a small gift costing maybe just a few pounds (dollars/euros/etc) be appropriate to reward such loyalty? I hesitate to suggest this, being in the promotional merchandise industry, but a branded corporate gift will go on reminding your client of your gesture for quite some time to come and is near guaranteed to be appreciated.
If you’re in an industry that routinely gives gifts at Christmas, try to think of something unique rather than following the trend of alcohol, chocolates, or whatever. Again, give something different is suggestion #2.
Being different to stand out, get noticed and be remembered is my message here. But I’d just like to conclude by saying … Season’s Greetings!