The Lure of the Holiday Bump

Marketing ‌• July 2, 2012

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:

  1. Make sure your message complements and supports the messaging you’ve already put in place.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Happy marketing!

Sam McCue
Inbound Marketing guru, avid fisherman, and all-around backcountry enthusiast.

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Laura, informative post and you make some excellent points.

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