April 29, 2022
Christmas in July: 6 lessons for holiday business gifts
- Look for holiday themes to shape outreach strategies around.
- Successful companies usually begin building Christmas campaigns in the summer.
- Automate your marketing solutions by partnering with a sending management platform like Sendoso.
What do you get when you ditch the twinkle lights and tacky sweaters of Christmas, but keep the last-minute shipping deadlines, holiday packaging, and stress?
Christmas in July, of course.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year for B2B marketing teams and a reminder to start planning actual holiday campaigns. Starting in the summer means you won’t be rushed when it comes sending holiday gifts.
Direct mail benefits during the holiday season
It’s also a great opportunity to start utilizing a gifting platform like Sendoso for the end of the year, Christmas, or Hanukkah gifts. Show those top accounts, that make up a big chunk of your revenue, how much you value them as a client.
Holiday campaigns that prompt action and accelerate pipeline require a lot of prep work. Rarely do successful campaigns get thrown together at the last minute. Expert senders recommend planning in July or creating a mini-holiday campaign to increase response rates in the summer.
A well-planned outreach strategy, timeline, and a successful B2B direct mail campaign during the holidays can push contracts across the desk.
It’s the hap–hap-happiest season of all.
The Quantum Metric team has run both end-of-the-year Christmas season campaigns and Christmas in July campaigns with Sendoso. Its most recent Christmas in July campaign closed a big name in the jewelry industry. They got the win and learned important direct mail lessons in the process.
1. Plan holiday campaigns 8 weeks in advance
At Sendoso, we’re the go-to direct mail marketing experts in logistics, stocking, warehousing, and shipping—everything you need to make your corporate gifts for Christmas, or Christmas in July, jingle all the way.
Direct mail featuring branded merchandise or custom packaging takes about eight weeks to execute. That’s the entire gifting journey, from discovery to involving our send curator team, and finally, order fulfillment.
With the current state of shipping and sourcing in the global supply chain, July is the exact time of year to start prepping and planning for your holiday campaign.
Product delays, shortages, and pricing of raw materials are all reasons to strategize now, rather than a week or two before Halloween.
That was when the Quantum Metric team started planning their previous holiday campaign.
“Honestly, I think it was November,” laughed Tessa Corcoran, former event marketing coordinator at Quantum. “But I think that’s why I love Sendoso because we didn’t have to be so prepared.”
Even though the holiday campaign got off the ground late, Sendoso helped bring it all together with top-tier corporate gifts for their clients. It all worked out last-minute, just like snow falling on Christmas Eve.
We did our entire holiday campaign with Sendoso. We targeted our partners and our customers. Everybody was so happy, they loved it.
2. Offer options to reflect corporate values
Customization was a big part of Quantum’s holiday campaign. Their team offered each recipient the option to select their gift based on corporate culture and values.
When you shop our stocked products on Sendoso Direct, you can filter gifts by a variety of categories, like women-and-minority-owned businesses or sustainable products.
“I love that feature on Sendoso,” said Corcoran. “We offered them six Sendoso Direct items from minority-owned businesses and they were able to select whatever item they wanted. They loved that they could pick from it. They loved that they were minority-owned businesses.”
3. Pair holiday gift ideas with themed copy
Quantum’s Christmas in July campaign was geared toward jump-starting clients. Corcoran admits there was less customization. It was designed around a Christmas gift theme to make prospects’ eyes all aglow.
Quantum had Sendoso box up a Voluspa candle in crushed candy cane scent and added an electric lighter. There were also resources for Christmas in July strategizing, but they kept the messaging full of good cheer.
“[We included] a link to our eBook and the card was really cute: ‘The tree is not the only thing getting lit this year,’” Corcoran read out loud from the campaign. “‘Inside you’ll find your favorite holiday candle and electric lighter and your essential digital prep plus for 2021. We’re excited for the opportunity to make you and your organization shine extra bright this year.’”
4. Remember lessons learned
While recipients loved it, Corcoran said there’s room for improvement.
“People would not confirm their addresses, this is our hardest part,” she said. “I think it was kind of a gap, we just didn’t have enough traction.”
Sendoso offers Address Confirmation to help boost response rates. The automated trigger contacts targets and processes their address for you.
Corcoran’s number one suggestion to improve the campaign: plan early. She advised timely involvement to secure buy-in from managers and directors.
“I would send it to a ton of people, try to get them to redeem it, and then do the follow-up much faster.”
Quantum also learned the importance of having more team members in the Sendoso platform back-end. That way account executives are empowered to follow up promptly to close deals.
As Christmas in July faded away into summer, the Quantum team closed a deal with a leading jewelry industry company.
5. Plan strategically with seasonal swag
Whether planning for Christmas in July or the end-of-year holiday season, Corcoran advises making strategic swag buys that are multi-use.
“Keeping inventory is so hard,” Corcoran said. “It’s hard to invest upfront on a gift that’s seasonal.”
Remember, other items within your send can showcase branding, such as the box or the tissue paper, rather than the actual gift. That’s what Quantum did with their Christmas in July candle and lighter.
“The candle wasn’t branded, so then we could use it again as a Christmas gift,” said Corcoran.
When it comes to physical gifts, be sensitive to logo placement. Know when to send a branded gift and when to pull back on out-of-place logos on everything.
“If it’s a plant, a candle, a speaker, people sometimes like un-branded items,” Corcoran said.
Clothing is a great opportunity for brands and logos, just keep it sophisticated. That way, your client is more likely to be spotted sporting it.
“I like nice, subtle apparel that has tone-on-tone branding. Low-key somewhere, or tone-on-tone, black-on-black,” Corcoran said.
As with any direct mail campaign, whether it’s July or December, be ready to make a list and check it twice.
“Definitely curating what you’re going to send and having it be flexible.”
6. Motivate sales teams with outreach ideas
Sales teams are focused on developing high-quality leads and warming up the frostiest of cold calls. There can be a tendency to stick to whatever works rather than trying new things.
“The SDR role [and the] BDR role is just so challenging that they’ll get deflated really quickly,” said Corcoran, who acted as a Sendoso guide for some of Quantum’s teams. “If you can keep coming up with good ideas for them, then they can start to use them.”
For Christmas in July, try to spark that holiday spirit for both clients and internal teams. Get them dreaming about Christmas trees, stockings, mistletoe, and eggnog. It’s a chance to try a send that is shiny and new.
Quantum saw send engagement fall at times when everyone was buried in an avalanche of projects. Corcoran said it is a good reminder that it’s a team effort.
Constantly show them how to do it and then offer up ideas to them to stay fresh.
‘Tis the season to be sending
Part of marketing in the B2B space means spurring other businesses to plan for the holiday season, even if it’s in July. The bottom line is: that the bigger the head start, the better.
Let’s face it. There’s no place like home for the holidays. Don’t get stuck in your office all December, pouring over gift options and wishing you had planned. Avoid as much turmoil as possible by planning for Christmas in July right now.