Why You Need to Plan Ahead With Your B2B Direct Mail and Gifting – Especially Before Holidays.

Have you noticed that stores start decorating for the upcoming holidays sooner and sooner each year? Halloween decorations start before school starts and don’t even get us started on Christmas. With the hustle and bustle of our everyday life, it’s easy to think you have more time until the holidays until they sneak up on you. Last year Klarna’s Last-Minute Shopping Survey, found that 79% of consumers left their holiday shopping to the last-minute. With 55% of those shoppers planning to purchase gifts online even if those items won’t be delivered by Christmas Day, it’s not surprising that B2B gifting takes a backseat. 

What makes a gift impactful? When you think of giving a gift, ask yourself these questions:

How do I want the person to feel when they get their gift? While a gift card is a quick and easy way to go, it may not be as memorable as you would like it to be. Balancing that with a highly personalized, branded landing page that speaks to your message is one way to make sure they know they are valued.

 

How customized do you want the gift to be? On average a branded gift takes between 4-5 weeks to create once art approvals happen, but if you are looking for a hyper custom gift, that can take around 8 weeks to create. 

Add to that the planning and creative process which averages 3-4 weeks and around 1-2 weeks to be delivered. 

 

If there’s one take away, it’s that starting to plan early can make a real difference to make sure you aren’t pressed for time. You avoid the holiday rush which can impact production timelines, avoid shipping delays that inevitably happen around the holidays and you may even be able to lock in pre-holiday pricing on items by not waiting. 

 

When do I want them to receive their gift? For an eGift, that’s easier but keep in mind that December can be tough with people taking vacations. If you want to ensure your gifting email gets there before people are “out of office,” we recommend sending in the first half of December or simply waiting until after the New Year to make sure you aren’t lost in the shuffle. 

 

The same could be said for physical gifts – between September 1st and December 1st there are only 66 working days in 2021 which doesn’t leave a lot of time for the elves to make the perfect gift. Along with getting the gift made, you have to consider shipping during the holidays can be an adventure in itself. Between inclement weather and sheer volume of packages during that time, sending earlier or even waiting until after the holidays is a good thing. If you think about the number of packages you get during November/ December, you can understand the importance of trying to stand out.

 

Who should I send the gift to? Ultimately, that decision will depend on you and your budget. Holiday gifts are a great way to appreciate your champions or remind people that you are there for support. With some teams being back in the office, one idea is for you to even give the team leaders the option to gift their team, instead of just themselves. Give yourself time to make your list (and check it twice).

 

Where do you go from here?

Now that you have a better idea of when, what and who you want to send gifts to we can move on to the how. If you have your budget and are ready, we recommend getting started soon to get everything in time for this holiday season. 

Here are some tips to speed things along:

Get started on your messaging. Even a draft or an idea, can help spark the conversation about what gifts would best match. Having this ready along with imagery you want, can speed up the process for creating postcards and/or landing pages.

 

Understand the type of person you are sending to. Different gifts resonate differently with people. Fitness gear or relaxation kits may not work for everyone – you’ve all heard the phrase surprise and delight. Offering a choice is a nice way to go or something that you know will be useful for them.

 

Be ready to decide. There is a reason that we estimate the planning and creative process to be around 3-4 weeks, since it often takes a few sessions to finalize the gift. If you have an idea of where you want to go along with your budget, you can trim that down by a week or two. If you aren’t ready to make a decision or you don’t have the right stakeholders engaged, it could push your campaign further out.

 

If you are still dreading this moment, you may want to look for a gifting partner that will help you take it up a notch from last year.

 

Don’t forget to take advantage of the rest of the year

I’m sure the other big holidays come to mind first like 4th of July, Halloween, or even New Year’s and you may not want to send a Valentine’s gift to your B2B customers or prospects but there are plenty of other days that could be fun and you’ll be sure to stand out. Check out some non-traditional holidays that will let you stand out and get your message heard. 

National Plant a Flower Day happens on March 12th. With messages like “grow with us” or “you’re plant-tastic,” you can have a lot of fun sending houseplant, herb growing garden, or even a garden set.

National Donut Day is the first Friday in June. “Donut” miss your chance to send a sweet treat or go the extra mile and send a donut maker they can use all year round.

National Safer Internet Day is February 22nd next year. It doesn’t have to be “phishing” season to show them you can “tackle” any challenge for them with a themed gift.

National Big Wig Day could be a fun and engaging way to give back at the end of January. It’s part of the American Cancer Society’s Look Good Feel Better division to ‘fun’raise a small amount for a lot of people. Let your recipients ‘wig out’ and tag you in their pics on social media. Walgreens has their Red Nose Day, while you can show you care with a brightly colored wig. 

 

Keep calm and gift on!

We’re the experts – Outgage is the Direct Mail and gifting solution built by marketers for marketers. We empower and guide B2B marketers on a creative journey to create meaningful customer engagement through memorable, actionable, and measurable gifting experiences. Learn more on our website or reach out at [email protected] to set up a demo.

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