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The Non-Cliche Marketer’s Guide to the Holidays

By Erin Smith

Wow, I can’t believe it’s already here—holiday season in Marketingland. And as a marketer yourself, I’m sure you’ve heard it all…

The same puns from last year (sometimes even last decade). The same offers and strategies reheated like day-old leftovers. But the best marketers know that how you reach prospective customers should vary by audience and industry—even during the season of lights.

Being genuine in B2C

In November and December, business-to-consumer marketing shows up even more than usual. The pressure is on to leave a strong impression, but try too hard, and you might leave the wrong one. Something businesses commonly do that hurts their brand equity year round? Covering up their authentic voice with a sticky candy cane coating.

If your company personality is heartfelt or humorous throughout the year, by all means, maintain that sentiment. But if you skew gritty, youthful, or refined, it’s important to pull that mood into your end-of-year outreach so you always sound like you.

Infusing festivity in B2B

Meanwhile in the business-to-business realm, we B2B marketers are used to hearing things like, “We can’t do things like B2C companies. We talk to professionals, so we need to take things seriously.” I’m sorry, but businesspeople are, well, people. All people like to have fun. Which means you can create a B2B holiday program with instantly unwrappable appeal. Take B2B/B2C software company McAfee. Their “Most Hackable Gifts” campaign highlighted which tech gadgets were most likely to be hacked to educate people during gift giving season. It just goes to show that if you tie your solution to a near-time challenge, you’ll create value in the moment—and in the months after.

Merriness by the industry

Every industry has its own rules of holiday engagement. Want to make the way you go to market merrier? (Sorry, had to.) Keeping on scrolling…that next meeting can wait.


In retail, you have the unique benefit of physical space. Use it this season to show shoppers something new. Switch up your annual holiday look. Do a big reveal. Apply it in-store, online, and even in your packaging and unboxing experiences and watch your promotions become something customers look forward to.

Financial services

Between the Amazon orders, travel, and endless rolls of shiny paper, this season can get expensive. But for marketers in financial services, it’s the perfect time to shine. Can you create an infographic illustrating the interest customers could earn by diverting this year’s holiday budget into a mutual fund or stock portfolio? Or, invite gift-givers to “take it out of the box and put it in the bank,” by opening savings accounts for loved ones instead? Fun, holiday-themed assets that also deliver sound financial advice are a great way to earn goodwill.


Nobody likes seeing the doctor over the holidays. But there’s a way to see patients without seeing them: video. Shoot a quick, personalized hello on your phone and throw in a few health-related holiday tips—how many carbs are in a slice of pecan pie?! Then just text or email it to the people on your list. The patient-provider relationship is important, and the more marketers can do to build it outside the office, the better.

From one marketer to another, happy holidays. Follow this advice and you’ll engage your audience in a festive, yet original way, without adding to all of that “holiday noise.”

If you want to know more about shaping memorable marketing and customer experiences, visit to see what we’re whipping up.