If you’re like me, then the end of summer is a bit of a downer. As the months of vacations, cookouts, and beach days come to a close and the days start to get shorter, I’m already thinking about when the winter holidays will finally get here and bring me some festive cheer.
Holidays, especially the winter ones, are often great times to celebrate your business partners. As we’ve talked about before, recognition is a vital part of building strong business relationships—with both your channel partners and your internal teams – and holidays are a natural opportunity to show your appreciation for those relationships.
But you don’t have to just wait for Thanksgiving or Christmas – there are actually a ton of great business-focused holidays throughout the year that are perfect opportunities to recognize the people who help your business run. To name just one, MFG Day, a day celebrating manufacturers, is on October 7th this year! Let’s take a look at a few holidays that happen throughout the year that you can use to show appreciation for your business relationships.
4 Holidays You Should Think About Celebrating
Throughout the year, there are several holidays that shine a light on a variety of business relationships, both internal and external.
- National Employee Appreciation Day: celebrated on the first Friday in March, which will be March 3 in 2023. Employee Appreciation Day was originally created in 1997 by a member of Recognition Professionals International, so it’s got roots in our home turf of the incentive industry. It’s all about finding ways to express gratitude for the essential role your employees play in helping grow your business.
- MFG Day: as we said, MFG Day is on October 7th this year, the first Friday in October, but it’s celebrated throughout the month. MFG Day is a holiday organized by the Manufacturing Institute with the goal of promoting the manufacturing industry to students and communities around the country.
- Small Business Saturday: celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which is November 26 this year. Like Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the same stretch of time, Small Business Saturday was created to help consumers get the most out of their early holiday shopping.
But unlike those other two, Small Business Saturday focuses on supporting the small businesses that support your local community. Even though it’s intended as a consumer-centric holiday, it can easily translate into the B2B world if you and/or your clients are small B2B businesses.
- Get to Know Your Customers Day: celebrated quarterly on the third Thursday of January, April, July, and October. Although you certainly don’t have to observe it four times a year, Get to Know Your Customers Day is a great opportunity to check in on your clients and see how you could be serving them better.
How Do I Celebrate?
These holidays don’t have festive movies to watch or traditional meals to cook (at least not yet!), but there are still some great ways to celebrate holidays like these that put your business partners front and center. Here are some ideas:
- Marketing Communications. Whether it’s digital messages, print mailers, or something more elaborate, personalized communications are a simple but incredibly effective way to let your employees or customers know you appreciate them. Use the holiday as a chance to inform your audience about special offers, to encourage preferred behaviors with calls to action – or simply to express your gratitude for all that they do for you.
- Short-term promotions. A holiday is a perfect opportunity to run a short-term promotion. If you already have an incentive program, consider using the holiday promotion to re-engage participants who have fallen out of touch throughout the year. Even if you don’t have an incentive program, small-scale gamified events are great ways to surprise and delight your business partners.
- In-person events. Some days, like MFG Day, are specifically about spreading awareness. If you’re a manufacturer or you work with manufacturers, invite participation in in-person activities (open houses, product expos) that help communicate information you think your customers need to know.
- In-office employee events. Days like Employee Appreciation Day are great opportunities to establish a positive office culture and build morale. Consider offering wellness initiatives or other activities that will help turn your office into a more employee-friendly space.
Everyone’s got their favorite holiday, but you don’t need to wait all year for the big ones just to express appreciation for your internal staff or external business partners. Consider other times throughout the year when you can offer promotions, hold special events, or simply express your gratitude through an email.
These don’t have to be huge celebrations in order to be impactful. By offering these shows of appreciation throughout the year, you let your audience know you’re thinking of them even outside of the major holidays—but because they’re still on special days, they still feel celebratory. Plus, it gives us all something to look forward to now that summer’s over…