At the end of the year, does your company send out a holiday email marketing greeting or do you send in a print one? If you’re like most other companies, a graphic designer will squeeze in 30 minutes to whip out some template greeting that doesn’t look any different from the hundreds of other greetings out there. And there you have the extent of your holiday greeting.

Big mistake. What’s worse than not sending anything is sending something cheap and meaningless. In the past when I’ve gotten the very typically styled digital cards from companies and vendors, I honestly thought less of them. The reasons being are that:

  1. They put almost no real thought into this and treated the holidays like just another product to be pushed out
  2. Probably congratulated themselves for being on top of the ‘miscellaneous’ tasks
  3. If this is the level of effort and creativity they put into something they can have fun with, what are they really doing behind the scenes? Is this the same level of effort they put into their business and products?

Arguably, this is the opinion of a highly critical marketer with experience in design, packaging and art direction. That said, I can also share that absolutely no one ever has been impressed with a digital greeting – unless you do a video greeting.

However, if you take that same thoughtless digital greeting and print it out and mail it in, did does generate some warm feelings. Not much, but just enough to show that you’re part of the family. And that’s really what makes print special. Cards are what we get from family and friends – even if we don’t particularly care about the style of thought. It’s the thought that you’re thought of as family or friends. Those feelings are very powerful when they translate to a business environment and help build bonds.

That said, you can plot your end of year print campaign a little more stylishly than the typical holiday greeting. Print holiday campaigns that tie in your brand are the best way forward. This way you’re being brand-centric but also holiday-minded – and creative. Take the example from a museum of architecture that definitely gets you looking, thinking and talking. This could very easily have been adapted for the holiday feel with more “wintery” elements like snow and lights. The rest is already there.

Or you can take a humorous tone like this one from a shaving club that showed an unwanted subscriber. And on the opposite end is what marketers love most: brand + story. Take the example from Tiffany and Co., the popular jewelry line, that paired product and romance to come out with “love stories.” Not only does it highlight the brand but it also touches on bringing people forward and the stories of warmth and reconnection people love most during the holidays.

However you go about it, the idea is to make it personal. Your print campaign shouldn’t be lazy and sloppy, which will inevitably associate you with the same descriptions. If you’re short on time to produce a great idea, turn it into an office holiday contest with the reward of a paid day off during the holidays or a $100. Both are great motivators and get all minds on board.