Holiday cards are excellent tools for demonstrating customer appreciation during the holiday season; however, many businesses struggle with the decision whether to print holiday cards with religious overtones or to generalize season’s greetings for mass inclusion. It’s the “Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays debate,” and regardless of your own position on the matter your choice of verbiage can have a direct impact on whether customers will do business with you. As such, some companies have printed multi-religion holiday cards in an attempt to be all-inclusive. Should you send multi-religion holiday cards? The short answer is “no.” No matter how much you want to demonstrate your respect for your customers’ religious beliefs, printing multi-religion holiday cards can alienate more customers than it attracts. Here’s why:
- Rather than demonstrating solidarity with your customer base, multi-religion holiday cards demonstrate your willingness to accept all religions. Though that might seem a smart business strategy, devout customers are likely to see multi-religion holiday cards as exclusive – they don’t accept other religions, and anyone who does is not part of their own religion
- If you’re marketing to a group that’s predominantly affiliated with one religion, you’ll be able to connect on a more meaningful level with religion-specific holiday cards than “all-inclusive” holiday cards. In my hometown, for example, roughly 99.9 percent of the residents are Christian. Thus, Christmas-centric holiday cards are the rule; and holiday cards promoting any other holiday might draw customer ire. Know your market, and cater to it
- What about printing several different holiday cards? If you can segment your list with certainty, this might be a feasible idea – though it definitely risks profits, since you’ll have to pay to design each religion-centric holiday card
- The term “happy holidays” is innocuous – some might call it a “war on Christmas,” but the fact is the term’s use doesn’t seem to have significantly or negatively affected Walmart’s sales. Otherwise, they wouldn’t use it
- Your holiday cards are about your connection to your customers via your business relationship, not your religion. Resist the urge to make a statement about your company’s values, and instead focus on enhancing the customer relationship. There are many ways to do that without invoking religion
The potential risks of sending multi-religion holiday cards far outweigh the potential benefits. The best strategy is to avoid the discussion altogether. If you don’t like “happy holidays,” you can go with “season’s greetings,” or, just a simple “thank you,” which could hardly be construed as anything but an expression of your gratitude. Honestly, what would a “Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa-etc.” holiday card look like anyway? What are your thoughts on the subject? Should you send multi-religion holiday cards, religion-centric holiday cards, or religion-free holiday cards? Let us know in the comments!