I do site IT support for a manufacturing plant, and I can tell you that sending Word and Excel documents to employees of another company is not common place, especially for sharing tips. I get these sorts of emails all the time and the tips are always contained within the email, included in a PDF, or a link to a page on their company web-site.
Within the organization, this is a different matter. Users within the organization often share Word and Excel files through email.
Sending zipped files on the other hand is common place both inside and outside of the organization. It's also 50%/50% on whether it's spam or not. The users I support forward me emails they received to determine if they were spam or not, and zipped files often accompany the spam emails. On the other hand, they frequently contact me for help when they receive ligitimate emails that contain zipped files or need to send one with a zip file. Often organizations have limits on the size of the emails they can send or receive and the users opt for zipping the files when they exceed those limits. But again, when companies send emails to share tips, I have never seen this.
Side Note: This is just my experience, but anytime a company (any company, not just an IT company) has to contact you first, they aren't very good at what they do and you should avoid them. When a company is good at what they do, the customers will come to them.