Holiday Marketing: Creative Options for Year-end Promotion

by Audrey Nezer - Date: 2006-11-28 - Word Count: 987 Share This!

Now is the time of year when organizations express gratitude to their customers and clients by mailing the standard and ubiquitous Christmas-Kwanzaa-Channukah-New-Year-Chinese-New-Year cards. These cards make customers feel appreciated.

We're closing in the end of another year. With the approaching holiday parties, fundraisers, and galas, let alone the reality of tight budgets, you are wondering how you are going to get that Christmas-kwanzaa-channukah-new-year-chinese-new-year card designed, printed and mailed before mid-December. By the second week in December, you've already missed the deadline to order cards from one of the many catalogs that can foil stamp the world with Joy in 12 different languages. Good thing - it would be less cheesy to send each of your clients a cheese log. You could always wait and send a New Year's card after January 1, but I should warn you that sending new year's greetings shortly after the new year is the walk-of-shame of company holiday wishes. By then, office windowsills have been cleared and most people are happy to be done with the cookies and eggnog.

Fourth quarter is a crazy time for most businesses; our time is most taxed. We have a million professional events going on and even more personal ones. In January, the first thing may people find themselves doing is recycling all of those thoughtful holiday wishes. As a designer often in charge of clients' holiday greetings, I have these words of wisdom: No one cares about holiday cards. If you have a customer, donor or client who will be seriously offended if they don't receive multilingual, foil-stamped Joy from you, get rid of the client. Here are a few creative solutions to the ubiquitous holiday card dilemma; each will make your company memorable and keep you sane.

Pick another holiday and make it your own:

If you're in the chocolate business, send your big annual promotion on Valentine's Day. If you're in healthcare, get people moving with wishes for an active spring. Are you a nonprofit? Thank your major donors in late January with a post-new-year bottle of Tylenol after the holiday galas are over. Groundhog day, St. Patrick's Day, Halloween - they're all up for grabs, and those who receive your greetings will actually have time to appreciate your creativity.

Quality over Quantity:

If you really feel you need to send something in December, limit the recipients and give them something really nice - and I don't mean a calendar mug with your logo on it. For example, if your organization is involved in international issues or trade, buy your quality clients a set of world spices from Dean & Deluca. A Fruit-of-the-month gift would be perfect for philanthropists who donate generously to gay rights organizations (if they have a sense of humor, they'll love it all the more). If you are in the import/export business, give your top reps a really high-quality telephone headpiece for all the talking they do for you. The options are endless. Use your imagination and think about the person receiving the gift; what would they truly appreciate? By limiting recipients, you create a small prestigious circle that includes a few chosen individuals.

Pick a holiday or event that reflects your business:

There are 365 days in the year and for each day, there is a celebration going on somewhere in the world.

Are you in the fashion industry? The Japanese celebrate Koromo-Gaye on June 1. This is the day people store their winter clothes in favor of lightweight summer clothes; school children change their uniforms.

Are you in healthcare? Celebrate Florence Nightingale's Birthday on May 12. It falls in the middle of National Hospital Week celebrated in the U.S. and Britain. Send a card that thanks your donors for their continued support. Florence Nightingale would be proud.

World Holiday Book by Anneli Rufus lists a holiday or event for each day of the year. You just might find the perfect holiday to use as a Christmas-kwanzaa-channukah-new-year-chinese-new-year replacement.

If you feel you really must send your nearest and dearest 8,000 clients a card, here are some ideas:

Make it a keeper.

Create something that they can use throughout the year. A well-designed wall calendar works well. You could also start a 4-part series of calendar postcards that they receive at the beginning of each quarter. Or send them a card that can be perforated into four bookmarks (perfect if you sell books or are involved with literacy awareness).

Be funny.

Avoid the standard gold, red and green. Give your logo a break from being front and center. Be funny. Last season I sent a card with calendar and the greeting "If, during this time of year, your tradition involves standing on your head and chanting wildly to a coconut, make it the best headstand and the biggest coconut ever". Most of my clients laughed, some were confused, but they all used the calendar. Overly earnest or mushy cards may be appropriate within some families, but I find humor is a better way to go for large mailings.

Use a Different December Holiday.

Wish everyone a happy Saturnalia instead of a the more generic "Happy Holidays". Saturnalia is a week-long Roman holiday that starts on December 17th. This was the day that masters gave their slaves a week's freedom and reversed roles by becoming their indentured servants. This gives you an opportunity to ask your clients what you can do for them for their continued support. Include in your card a discount coupon for your services.

It is always a great time to thank the people who support your company or organization; don't waste the opportunity or your money in December with a forgettable card, especially a forgettable card that has been pre-printed with signatures. Make it personal. Make time during the year when you can put your energy into finding a unique way to thank the people who support your company. Even if you need to send a large December mailing, take a risk. Let your company culture and personality come through. That's what will make you memorable.

Related Tags: holiday, marketing, cards, graphic design, self promotion, audrey nezer, artifex design

Audrey Nezer is an award-winning graphic designer in Seattle, Washington. Her company, Artifex Design, creates playful, edgy and effective marketing and communication materials for companies and organizations throughout the United States. Visit to learn more. Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

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