What if Businesses Didn’t Issue Holiday Wishes?

For the last two weeks before Christmas, 2015, my in-box was filled with holiday greetings. You know the kind I mean: Innocuous messages from any company you’ve ever done business with in the last several years.

GrinchFor the last two weeks before Christmas, 2015, my in-box was filled with holiday wishes and greetings. You know the kind I mean: Innocuous messages from any company you’ve ever done business with in the last several years.

When the first few arrived, I had my consumer hat on, and opened them looking for my percent off coupon. I must admit, I was a little disappointed that the message was no more than “Happy Holidays” or “Thank you from your friends at ABC Company.” But by the time the 10th one had started to clog up my in-box, I started pondering the purpose of these massive missives.

If I didn’t receive one from a company, would I even have noticed? Would I think they didn’t appreciate my business anymore? Would I consider switching and head right off to their competition?

Each message was politically correct, of course. No “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hannukkah” or “Joyful Kwanzaa!” in the bunch (although a few included all three!). No. For the most part it was just a simple “Happy Holidays.”

I got these messages from businesses I recognized — and many that I did not. Clearly I was added to their email list (perhaps as a prospect), but it seemed oddly out of place when the message was from my “friends at Unknown Company” — considering I didn’t have any friends at all in that organization (at least that I knew of).

Holiday cards were even worse.

I received at least four different cards that had no company name on the return address on the envelope, nor on the inside of the card itself. Just “Holiday Greetings from all of us to all of you” signed (yeah, right!) by five to 10 people. Truly, I have no idea who sent me these greetings … so, in my opinion, it was a waste of the paper they were printed on (let alone the cost of the stamp!).

This may sound like a huge “Bah humbug!” to you, but I wonder if I’m alone in my reaction?

If the communication was totally meaningless to me personally, and it forced me to spend even more time with my finger on the delete button, then what value did it add to our business relationship (or prospective relationship)?

A couple of companies that we have a very close relationship with sent lovely gifts of chocolate, fruit or cookies. These are always appreciated and is a nice way to celebrate the season with trusted partners. One company sent us much-appreciated wall calendars to mark the beginning of another year together.

To be truthful, our company sent gifts of delicious, homemade Italian cookies to clients and business partners from Bella Pizzelle — a wonderful small bakery run by one of our own employees and her mother. The thank you’s feel genuine, and always pour in from those who look forward to our annual gift.

But we don’t send them (or any other kind of holiday note) to anyone who might see an email or a card and say “Who are these people?” or, even worse, hit the delete key before reading.

Are you guilty of sending a bulk message to your customers? Did it buy you any goodwill? Would you be fearful of scrapping the whole idea entirely in 2016? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Oh, and Happy Holiday.

Author: Carolyn Goodman

A blog that challenges B-to-B marketers to learn, share, question, and focus on getting it right—the first time. Carolyn Goodman is President/Creative Director of Goodman Marketing Partners. An award-winning creative director, writer and in-demand speaker, Carolyn has spent her 30-year career helping both B-to-B and B-to-C clients cut through business challenges in order to deliver strategically sound, creatively brilliant marketing solutions that deliver on program objectives. To keep her mind sharp, Carolyn can be found most evenings in the boxing ring, practicing various combinations. You can find her at the Goodman Marketing website, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @CarolynGoodman.

7 thoughts on “What if Businesses Didn’t Issue Holiday Wishes?”

  1. I have the same reaction pouring through my greetings from vendors. They have always come across as ungenuine to me. And one of our core values is to be ‘authentic’ so participating in this b2b tradition has always given me the ‘willies’. This year I decided to take our entire Holiday Greeting budget and spend it all on our most valuable business partner to show our genuine appreciation for them. We bought thier entire staff of 125 people lunch. It was a heartfelt gesture and they genuinly appreciated it!

  2. I had those same thoughts, Carolyn. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us have in our subconscious mind!

  3. On this note, I would be curious to hear what other companies are doing regarding calendars, particularly B2B. With the increased use of online calendars are they relevant or useful? How about smaller size vs. the traditional larger hanging variety?

    1. Personally, I love getting wall calendars (thank you Swordfish Communications for sending me one this year) ! I’d also love to hear comments from others.

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