I must confess. I used to be one of those marketers who lived for the non-religious holiday/change in season/cultural marker because it gave me something to toss in an email. I can’t even hazard a guess at the number of March Madness, Spring Cleaning, or Halloween themed messages I’ve sent over the years but I know it’s many. Too many.
Now, it’s not that a holiday message is necessarily ineffective. I’ve certainly taken advantage of many a holiday-themed offer as a consumer (I’ve gotten three 4th of July themed emails while I’ve been writing this post) and I have seen it work in the B2B space (I once led a very successful March Madness campaign that included a fax blast (like an email blast but to fax machines…sounds horribly antiquated but if you are targeting customers who work on a manufacturing shop floor, it can be surprisingly effective)).
It’s not the holiday theme that’s the problem; the March Madness effort I mentioned above was a true campaign that took place throughout the basketball tournament and worked offers through a bracket system. It’s the desire for the holiday bump that’s the problem; specifically, the use of a standalone, one-off email to your B2B audience.
When you hit send on the one-off email that you think is a great way to capitalize on the holiday week, you throw off your messaging cycle and risk confusing the recipient, especially if the offer is a complete digression from what you’ve been trying to help prospects learn/buy. You might get a good open-rate (especially if it’s a week like this one where email will be coming in slowly and your recipients who are in the office might be especially bored), but if it’s a complete departure from your usual messaging, it can end up being more trouble than it’s worth.
If you can’t help yourself from sending a holiday message this week, my best advice is:
- Make sure your message complements and supports the messaging you’ve already put in place.
- Don’t get too cute. It’s easy to get overly excited about a holiday tie-in but if you bury the lead (pun intended) in marketing fluff, you’ll only cause even more confusion.
- Think through the details. If none of your salespeople is in the office this week to process interest, you could be making a mess for yourself.
- Mark your system. You’ll want to know if this exercise was worth your time, so make sure you know where to track on the back end.
- Triple-check your list to make sure you aren’t sending to non US-based contacts. Explaining March Madness to someone in Italy is a bad use of everyone’s morning. Believe me, I know.