The halls are decked, the tree is lit and the big man himself is on the way, ready to make dreams come true for kids around the world. What makes Santa so beloved – and what can we learn from him about business and marketing? From making and maintaining a list to delivering on promises, Santa Claus just may be the world’s best marketer – here’s why:
Stay Focused on Your Customer; Santa is Always Smiling
Santa is all about the customer: You’ll never catch Santa complaining or making excuses, even when there has been a gingerbread fire in the workshop or the elves go on strike. Saint Nick never tells kids about his personal struggles with hot cocoa, troubles with suppliers or what’s going on behind the scenes. Every interaction Santa has with his customers is about them, period. Learn from this by focusing your interactions on your customer’s needs – not your own reasons. While a customer may have an interest in knowing about the conflict going on behind the scenes at your site or workplace, sharing this information doesn’t help you in the long run or build your relationship. When in doubt, don’t share, and advise your employees to stick to the same policy.
Marketing Trends Change Faster than You Can Say “Rudolph”
Santa tracks trends: Whether it is a singing and dancing Elmo or the hottest new video game console, Santa knows what’s trending. Knowing what is important to your customer helps you get and stay engaged, even if you don’t produce or sell the trending item. You can incorporate trends in a variety of ways, if you know what your target customers are interested in. Be aware of the latest in social media, tech and other advancements if you have technology savvy customers and you’ll be one of the first marketers to reach them in a new media or outlet. Staying ahead of marketing trends can be difficult, one way to stay ahead of these trends is knowing about the factors that shape marketing trends.
Superior Marketing Starts with Branding; Suit Up!
Santa builds his brand: Red suit, check. Red hat, check. Bushy white beard, double check.
Ask any child over the age of three to draw a picture of Santa and you can be pretty sure you’ll get a heavyset guy dressed in red, with a reindeer or two on the side. Santa’s brand is so recognizable he never needs to explain himself or his product– and he certainly doesn’t need an elevator pitch! While your business’ brand likely won’t be as instantly recognizable as the global Christmas icon, you should pay attention to your branding within your target industry. Do your ideal customers recognize your brand, images or product instantly? Can you explain your product or service in a single sentence? If not, it may be time to take a cue from Santa and focus on building your brand for a greater impact from your marketing efforts.
Segmenting Your Marketing Lists (and checking them twice)
Santa knows how to focus: “Naughty” and “Nice” are broad terms, but they allow Santa to quickly segment his leads into two distinct groups – customers and non-customers. Segmenting your data allows you to focus your efforts on the right demographic and keeps you from wasting money or missing the mark entirely. Spend some time with your database and make sure that your marketing efforts are reaching the right people; focus on the prospects that matter most.
Marketing is About Giving More Than You Get
Santa gives: If Santa crept down the chimney and took things away every year, he’d be a felon, not a beloved holiday figure. Homes, hearts and minds are open to Santa because he is a giver, not a taker. While your ultimate goal is to sell your product or service, make sure your marketing plan includes more giving than taking. Give your customers information, attention and useable or entertaining content and they’ll keep coming back for more. Giving doesn’t have to cost you a fortune – from engaging on social media to offering customer profile or simple contest opportunities, you can build your reputation as someone who gives. Santa shows us just how welcome cheerful and consistent givers are in the hearts and homes of customers.