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Holiday Cards: Evil for Business Owners?

Holiday Cards: Evil for Business Owners?

November 14, 2013

There is a right way and wrong way to do Thanksgiving if you run a business
In the frenzy of activity before the end of the year, we usually miss a marvelous marketing opportunity… Thanksgiving! 

Holiday cards, forget it!

Consider this. Most people are bombarded with holiday cards in December. Walk into any office and you’ll see 30 cards hung up on the wall. So even if yours is gold trimmed, embossed, plays music and lights up, it will likely still be just a drop in the ocean of cards your customers receive.

But a Thanksgiving card -- thanking them for their business and offering a promotion -- shows you remembered them and puts you a step ahead of your competition.  


Thanksgiving Promotional Ideas

When it comes to Thanksgiving, it’s hard to top Macy’s promotional efforts.  Their parade in New York City has been going strong since 1924. Complete with giant balloon characters, marching bands, and celebrities, it draws over 50,000 people. Okay, so they win. But you should do something, too!





Start with with a card. No, not a generic, fancy one. Make it personal, homemade, different. I can hear it already: “Aaack! But that’s not professional!” It’s alright, it’s alright… our client Jim McQuaig used this tactic. His mother hand-made cards on her computer. And he had more response from this one move than any other marketing activity that he did.

Good: A professional card
Better: A homemade card
This is a unique opportunity to thank your customers while enhancing your relationship. A handmade card -- even one that looks like it was drawn by a child -- has a greater impact than a mass-produced card or e-card. 


One savvy company thanks their customers and gives them a special offer. By coming into their store or liking them on Facebook, they can choose between three gifts from the BNF Catalog: a duffle bag, a grill, or an auto vac.


Identify with what they are thinking
The holidays are actually a seriously stressful time for many people. In fact, this time of the year marks the peak for reports of depression. Springhill Suites Marriott played upon this emotion with a contest taking an interesting twist on Thanksgiving. As relatives inundate your home, you might need some “alone time.” So Springhill Suites offered a “Save My Holiday” video promotion, asking people to send in a video explaining why they need their own space during the Thanksgiving holiday. The person whose video received the most votes won a free stay at Springhill Suites. 

Typical gift problem easily solved

Whom do you give the gift to if you do business with another company? If you give it to the most senior person, you burn the others. Try using food; that way it can be shared. In today’s health-conscious world, consider fresh fruit. But know your audience. For the right group, a 12-pack of beer, a bottle of Scotch, or a turkey will do the trick. Edibles have the advantage of touching multiple people in one office. The disadvantage is that it food is gone quickly and there’s nothing left to show for it. Solution: include a laser engraved cutting board in the basket.

“If you don’t love me, I’ll leave you.”
(68% of your customers)

Thanking your customers is more important than most business owners think. Studies show that a whopping 68% of customers stop shopping at a particular merchant because they feel unappreciated, unimportant or taken for granted.  

J. Dennis Petimezas, president of Watchmakers Diamonds & Jewelry in Johnstown, PA, won’t let his customers feel unappreciated. For Thanksgiving and Black Friday, he’s offering the video game “Call of Duty” to customers who spend at least $199, while those who spend at least $799 get a Pebble smartwatch. Spending $1,999 or more nets customers a PS4, while the final tier, $2,495 and up, gets customers a four-day luxury cruise. Wow!


Petimezas feels that people react with more enthusiasm to gifts than discounts, and he gears his gifting to the demographics of his buyers. “We want to do something that generates water cooler talk the next day,” says Petimezas. And it works.


His current promotion is nuts! “Buy a diamond and get a hunting rifle.” Unusual, to be sure, but it’s generating a lot of talk “People need to understand that hunting is part of the culture here in Pennsylvania,” says Petimezas, whose upcoming campaign will be Rhythm of Love, for an amazing new diamond that vibrates in the setting, drawing attention to the brilliance of the diamonds.  The diamond will be delivered with flowers, a card and a dancing delivery person who will gyrate for two minutes to the pulsating song Rhythm of Love.  



As Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, here are a few ideas, if you act quickly.

  • Have people bring in the wishbone, unbroken, on Black Friday and they can break it with one of your employees – then give the customer  gift or gift certificate: larger if they win, smaller if they lose. 
  • Try sending out homemade Thanksgiving day cards. Better yet, have a kid use a crayon and color copy them. 
  • Offer gifts as a call to action (visit our website, visit our store, like us on Facebook).
  • Host a local food drive and give a discount, coupon, or points off on a purchase to everyone who participates. 
  • Send a food gift.
  • Make a donation to a charity, include an article about it, and send it with a card.
  • And finally, don’t forget to thank your employees with a gift that lets them know you appreciate their hard work, too. It’s insulting to thank your customers and not your team.

We are amazingly blessed. Be someone who exudes gratitude and watch how it comes back to you.  

In the end, the point is to thank your customers and your employees and make them feel appreciated on Thanksgiving, while also promoting what you do in a thoughtful and entertaining manner.  You can “do well by doing good.”


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