Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Confounding Corporate Greeting Cards

Speedbump comic from the Official Site of Dave Coverly
Should you or shouldn't you?

Many small- to mid-sized organizations send Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or catch-all Season's Greetings cards, quite often simply going along with the personal preferences or habits of the company owner. Others ditch the December dilemma and send Thanksgiving or New Year's cards instead. The brave (or truly conflicted?) send no cards at all. Whatever you do, you're sending some sort of message. 

I opt for Thanksgiving cards. This year, I'll admit, I'm intrigued by the idea of Haikus for Humbugs. Funny, but I'm pretty sure it won't catch on with the corporate crowd.

So let's get back to business. Should your organization spend executive brainpower (and salaries) even contemplating something as seemingly superfluous as greeting cards? 

Um, have you heard of Black Friday?

Like it or not, 'tis the season to capitalize on the gift-giving tendencies of ye average shopper. Even if your business isn't affected by retail's seasonal spikes, it's hard to look the other way when a surprising number of businesses are determined to spend every last penny in their budgets before year-end. And while it's nice to demonstrate customer appreciation, there's the environment to consider.

Do corporate greeting cards spur sales? Do you risk losing customers if you don't send cards? What about e-greetings?

Robert Felber, MAS, and President of Felber & Felber Marketing, says it all comes down to relationships, and those know no season. As he explained earlier this week:

I do not think sending or not sending cards dramatically impacts your return business. Is it a nice touch, yes. Does it burn a lot of energy, paper and postage, absolutely. My real challenge is our large database. If we tried to have a touch with everyone in our database, postage alone would cost thousands. So, many opt for email. Again, the thought is nice, but does lack personalization. I recently saw a holiday email that was addressed to two people in my company, but used an "or" between the names. That was tacky. I cannot imagine anyone keeping score on who sent them a card, but perhaps some people have that kind of time.

I do like the Thanksgiving approach, as it does stand out. In the end, if you enjoy it, have the budget and time, address away. Otherwise, find as personal a way as you can to thank your clients at this time of year and all year long. Tickets to their favorite event, remembering special anniversaries or perhaps a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant would make a welcome gift. Oh, and if you want to send me a card, specify if you are expecting one back!

Sit down with Rob and find marketing at Felber & Felber Marketing. Actually, you won't catch Rob sitting down very often. In addition to running a busy firm, he's a volunteer firefighter and  Relay For Life: Twinsburg/Macedonia 2012 Chair. Even when he's on the run, he's quick to return calls - if not greeting cards.

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