Automated Holiday Cards: The Worst Marketing Tool

Every year, we receive a handful of holiday cards and emails from local businesses, consultants, and even clients. And every year we let out a big, bored sigh. It’s not that we don’t like seeing your group photo or that we don’t appreciate the gesture. It’s that, why not save those marketing dollars for a campaign that is thoughtful, creative, and actually differentiates yourself from the other companies?

The holiday card may already be sent out for 2013, but here are some new ideas to explore for 2014:

Clever End of Year Reports

Maybe sales didn’t sky rocket this year or you didn’t add any new employees to payroll. But maybe you presented at more than 20 industry events. Find creative ways to summarize the year to share with your customers and constituents. Most importantly, think of new ways to present the data instead of a typical email. We recently received MailChimp’s Annual Report and love that despite they’re an email marketing platform, they created a parallax site to share the information.

Sharable Social Images

Facebook and Twitter are giving greater news feed real estate to images. Capitalize on this new format by creating fresh images with bold colors, imagery, and copy. Keep the message brief, such as “Happy Friday!”, “Welcome to the office, Karen!”, or “Check out our 300th blog post.” While these images can be quick to create with little to no budget required, be sure to design for each platform’s image dimensions to avoid pixelated or off-centered posts.

Offbeat Holidays

If you absolutely must share holiday cheer, consider picking an unusual holiday to broadcast to your customers. Think of your company culture and what holidays throughout the year best reflect it. Is it National Bird Day for your aviary inspired logo? Is it a foreign holiday to highlight your international offices? Or is it National Pie Day because… pie is amazing. Picking days between February and October gets your company out of the busy email inbox clutter.

Above are just some ideas to ditch the holiday card and kick start 2014 planning. We plan to implement some new ideas as well and are looking forward to sharing them in the first half of the year. Until then, happy planning!


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