We are so excited to announce to all of our incredibly loyal blog followers and readers that we have a brand new face joining our blogging team.
Lucia Phillips is a marketing guru who has worked for one of Australia’s largest market research companies. Now she is passing on her marketing wisdom to new designers and start-ups, working one on one with them to find their brand authenticity and share that with the world.
This Year, Make Your Christmas Marketing Count.
Whether you are a maker, wholesaler or retailer, if there is one thing you can’t afford to get wrong, it is Christmas.
Many non-holiday businesses say they can make 20- 40% of their annual sales in the two months leading up to Christmas.
It is the most wonderful time of the year. It is also the noisiest. A quarter of all marketing emails for the year are sent in the lead up to Christmas, branded social content explodes and advertising space across all channels becomes more expensive.
How will your business cut through the noise?
It is easy to get caught up in the tactics of Christmas marketing- the email campaigns, the social media posts and the thorny question of whether and when to discount. And these should absolutely be part of your Christmas planning, and well under way.
But if you only think about these things, you risk becoming just another brand in customers’ inboxes and social media feeds. You also increase the chance that you’ll need to use discounts early and often to capture the attention of your customers, unnecessarily eroding your margins.
Disrupt your own marketing by telling your customers a story
One of the first things I like to ask a business owner when they ask me about their Christmas marketing strategy is what they love about Christmas.
Putting aside the stress of preparing for the festive season, most people agree that they love the joy of Christmas, the opportunity to connect with friends and family, to give and receive love.
Christmas is a time when people are not only primed to spend money but also a time when they are primed to connect. Christmas is one of the most valuable opportunities you’ll have to tell your customers the story of your brand and invite them to connect with that and with each other.
Christmas Marketing Done Right
Some of my favourite holiday campaigns are done by Tiffany’s. Even as I write that sentence, I bet you are thinking of a print ad they’ve done. Perhaps there is a stylish man standing at the door of a New York brownstone, a beautifully wrapped box held expectantly behind his back.
We remember these ads not just because they are beautiful but because they tell us the story about what Tiffany’s stands for: love, glamour, romance. But importantly, they tell us a story about the connection we all long for at Christmas time. They put their customer at the centre of the story, inviting each of us to create our own version of the story by buying their products.
Create your own Christmas Story
Christmas may be only a few weeks away but there is no reason why you can’t use this storytelling strategy in your own business.
1. Be Clear On Your Values
Firstly, you need to know what your brand stands for. Christmas is a hugely busy time and definitely not the time for delving too deeply. So limit this to thinking about what matters to you and what you want customers to remember you for. Perhaps it is ease of transacting, personalised products or truly experiential shopping. In 2017, I’ll talk a lot more about how to develop your brand position and values more deeply!
2. Get Personal
Christmas is a great time to share some personal posts on social media. Just make sure that any personal sharing fits with your brand values.
For example, if you make personalised products, perhaps you could show some pictures of how you personalise your Christmas tree or table. If your brand is all about convenience, post about the ways you streamline your personal Christmas preparations.
And don’t forget to thank your customers for their support throughout 2016. Tell them what it meant to you.
By doing these things, you are reminding customers of what makes your business unique and inviting them to feel good about buying from you.
3. Find a Way to Make Your Customer the Hero
Have a look at your feedback during the year. And have a look at sales data for this time last year. Are there any patterns? If you can find a way to give customers what they have asked for or what they need at Christmas, it is a great way to create a deeper connection with them.
For example, you might have had some customers complain about missing your shipping deadlines last year or you might be getting lots of last minute enquiries this year. For one week after your official Christmas shipping cut off, you could offer to include express shipping for the price of regular.
Again, make sure you are telling your customers that they spoke and you listened. Promote your offer through all your channels. And when you are crafting these promotions, put your customer at the centre of the story. The focus of an express shipping offer shouldn’t be on you bearing the costs for the customer. The focus should be on your customer creating joy for their loved one on Christmas morning and on how much you love enabling that.
Time at Christmas is limited for us all, but it is especially crazy for anyone who works in retail or an associated industry. It is easy to feel as though anything that doesn’t directly increase sales is not worth the time. But before your brand can sell, it needs to create an audience who wants to listen. Some of these simple ideas could give you the most valuable of Christmas gifts- free airspace to talk to your customers.