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Early Start Essential For Corporate Christmas Card Success

Feb 20, 2008
The Christmas holiday shopping season seems to start earlier every year. According to the National Retail Federation, some 40 percent of U.S. consumers will begin Christmas shopping before the end of October. While many people may question the appropriateness of planning for Christmas as the fall leaves are still turning, there are many reasons for businesses to think ahead one more season and start picking their corporate Christmas cards.

Choosing corporate Christmas cards is like any other business decision that requires evaluation, approval and implementation. Each step takes time, and the more people who are involved, the greater the chance that there will be delays in the process. Ordering cards is often the responsibility of the office manager, but other key executives are typically involved in making sure the card has the right look, message and image for their company.

Waiting too long limits the time available to choose and send holiday cards. With more organizations reducing hours during the holidays and people taking time off, cards should be mailed in early December so that customers and clients are still at work to receive them.

Sending cards on time is important so the cards don't seem like an afterthought. Too often, companies intend to do the right thing - such as circulating cards for personal signatures and hand addressing - but they fail to allow enough time. Then they find their greetings being delivered to an empty desk in late December, limiting the effectiveness of the cards.

Used properly, high-quality holiday cards form a valuable component of a company's overall customer relationship strategy. There are several ways companies gain value from sending holiday cards:

*Cards reinforce company name recognition in a more personal way than advertising or other communications
*Cards can be customized with special messages or hand-written personal notes
*Cards show that a business appreciates the relationship with customers, suppliers and other important groups

Although e-cards may be suitable for some occasions, the quality, beauty and permanence of paper Christmas cards help companies make a positive impression during the holidays. The very act of signing and mailing cards indicates that you value your customers by putting time and thought into what you send them, while sending e-cards may often look like a last-minute substitute.

There are several potential delivery issues with e-cards that also make traditional paper cards a better choice. E-cards that are sent with attachments or as part of a mass mailing risk being blocked by corporate firewalls or spam filters. Even if they are received, there is a chance an e-card will be overlooked or not opened given the volume of e-mail most executives receive every day. In fact, printed cards may stand out more than ever as the volume of regular business mail declines.

Holiday cards provide a distinctive personal touch that's often lacking in an increasingly frenetic world. A study by the Greeting Card Association indicated that nine out of 10 Americans look forward to receiving personal letters and greeting cards because cards make them feel they are important to someone else. Don't waste this goodwill by sending cards late.
About the Author
Tim Christopoulos is a marketing expert, entrepreneur and founder of Holiday Cards Unlimited. http://www.holidaycardsunlimited.com
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