B2B Holiday Marketing: How to be Successful at It
Holiday marketing is often assumed to be only for B2C or D2C brands. After all, it can be up to 30% of their annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation. But for B2B companies, the holiday season tends to be more of a snooze than a sleigh ride. Even if potential clients are at the end of their yearly budget, they are simply too busy dealing with the holiday rush to worry about finding or committing to new deals.
But just because holiday marketing can be a challenge, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to make it work. If anything, because other B2B companies are pulling back, you will have the advantage. Here are four tips to help you be successful in your holiday marketing this year.
1. You don’t have to be Hallmark—Be Authentically You.
Unless you are Hallmark, you don’t need to change all your messaging to support media-driven perceptions about the holidays and how people feel. Remember that ol’ marketing sentiment that if you look the same as everyone else, no one will remember you? If you want to focus on holiday wishes, that’s fine, just know that your message will probably be deleted, ignored, or considered not important because of all the other canned holiday messages that your clients and prospects receive. Personalize whatever you choose to send and include something unexpected, creative, or an element of humor.
2. Be clear on what your clients actually need.
Your target market is custom to your business, so there is no “one way” to do B2B holiday marketing. This is where having clarity about what your clients and prospects are doing during the holiday season becomes beneficial. When you know, you can create a campaign offering useful information relevant to how you can help them and build brand awareness. If you know that you have clients and prospects with projects that they have been too busy to tackle, now may be the best time to get that project started. The key here is to focus on the priorities that your clients are looking for at the end of the year and early the next year so you don’t waste time and money.
3. Be clear on what your goals are.
Marketing for marketing’s sake isn’t going to get you anywhere. What do you want to accomplish and why do you want to accomplish it? Do you want to close an extra contract to meet a revenue goal? Are you trying to build a pipeline for next year? Is this the right goal? Is it in alignment with what you can expect from your market?
If you don’t have good answers to these questions, then for this year, it may be best to skip a holiday campaign and try again next year so you don’t waste time and money trying to get results that are unachievable anyway.
4. Stop assuming that people don’t want to receive or won’t engage with your content on holidays.
Your clients and prospects most likely have more time to engage with your content than they normally do. Also, family drama is often inevitable, and your content could be just the distraction they are looking for to avoid the black hole of doom scrolling.
Contrary to what you may think, many business owners and decision-makers do work during the holidays to get caught up or even to prepare for the new year. Just remember, be timely and relevant.
If you’ve checked all the boxes above, then you are ready for some ideas. Here you go:
- The obvious one is can you leverage Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday in any relevant way. If you can great, if not, leave it alone. Remember, if you do choose to run ads for this, they are more expensive, and be careful that you don’t cheapen your brand or the value you provide by offering a discount to “fit in”.
- Remember a moment ago I mentioned that decision-makers work on the holidays? Do outreach. They will have fewer distractions and are more likely to talk to you.
- Holiday marketing doesn’t have to be about the holidays or selling a product. It can simply be brand awareness getting them ready for what’s next.
- Pull back the curtain and use the holiday season as a time to introduce your market to your team and their quarks. Maybe put a holiday spin on it with the Elf or find a toy that is relevant to your business and see where your team and the toy end up.
- Time your holiday outreach to be either before the holidays or after. This way your simple holiday greeting doesn’t get lost.
- Do your clients and prospects have a ‘use it or lose it’ budget? Offer to customize an offering to fit within whatever they have available.
- Put together a “20XX Year in Review” that is relevant to your business and industry. Need some inspiration for this one? Google does it every year.
- Sponsor nonprofits or charities or participate in giving back. This aligns your brand with a cause and demonstrates your brand’s humanity. When your clients and prospects know that they are having a positive impact on society simply by doing business with you, they’re more likely to stay with you for the long term.
- What do your clients need to do to start the new year off right, relative to your business of course? Help them plan this through your holiday campaign so you become the go-to resource.
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