By SHWETA JHAJHARIA
They say one of the best ways of learning is to mimic the best. When it comes to encouraging us to buy – Santa Claus must be up there among the VERY best!
When you consider that UK people spend on average £225 at Christmas – PLUS £343 on gifts (source: http://www.tnsxmas.com/uk) and 92% of people in Britain celebrate Christmas – that’s pretty hefty spending that Santa’s managed to rack up. And he gets all the perks of milk and cookies laid out for him in every house.
So how does he do it? Let’s see what marketing lessons we can take from one of the most the most popular figures in the world – Santa Claus!
Lesson 1: Keep Your Promises
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
You run down the stairs on Christmas morning and the presents…aren’t there. First you’re confused. Then you’re angry. Then you’re disappointed.
Promises of gifts were made, but then were not followed through. You start to dislike Santa. You don’t trust Santa anymore. You don’t love Santa anymore.
Santa doesn’t make this mistake and nor should you: if you don’t deliver as promised, your marketing isn’t going to help you. In fact, it’s going to hurt you and your reputation quite significantly if your marketing messages are incongruent with your delivery. So make sure you’ve got a secure delivery system in place.
Lesson 2: Always Be Giving
A Bag Full of Toys
Santa is widely loved by people because he’s always handing out gifts to people. People love him because he gives them things. It really is that simple.
Think about how your marketing messages sound. Do you sound like you’re trying to “get” something from your customers?
Bring the value that you’re providing your customers up to the front and centre. It may be the time of year to be giving, but you should be keeping that up all year long. Deliver value year round and you’ll earn loyal customers that come back to you over and over again.
Lesson 3: Build Your List – and Qualify It!
He’s Making a List, Checking it Twice
Santa doesn’t just make a list. He checks it twice. He even finds out who’s been naughty and nice!
Santa has been gathering support for years and he’s managed to capture most of this country, if not the world. Constant building of your list is important. But it’s also important to qualify – who of your customers or clients are suitable for your business?
Who are the nice ones that deserve your best gifts?
Lesson 4: Be Recognisable
A Belly Like a Bowl Full of Jelly
Santa has arguably one of the most recognised uniforms in the world. That big red suit with the white trimming sets hearts alight immediately.
What is it about your company’s branding that makes it instantly recognisable?
You need to have something – a uniform, a logo, even a colour – that you can claim as your own and that people will immediately recognise as yours. Why? Then you can be constantly visible without even being there.
Santa is present in almost every shopping centre in the world – but he’s not actually there is he?
Lesson 5: Systemise
Elves, Reindeer, Malls and Parents
Santa doesn’t actually do most of the work. About four days of the year he’s on top of it, but for the rest of it he’s relaxing. How? He has representatives in every shopping centre drumming up the crowds. He even has the Mums and Dads delivering the gifts for him, and the rest he has the Elves making and packing. He has clear systems in place that run without his direct input.
Next year, make it your mission to systemise at least parts of your business. Hire a hardworking team to make you look good (your elves), create a great delivery process (your reindeer), run repeatable self-promotion events (shopping centre representatives), and create autonomous groups that can manage things locally (the parents).
Lesson 6: Limit Your Access
I’m Sending a Letter to Santa Claus
You can’t call 1800-SANTA to get a direct line to Santa Claus. He’s far too important to be that accessible. If you want to get a message to Santa, you’re going to have to put in a bit of effort, get out a pen and paper and write to him. Even then, the elves will screen the letter and if they can deal with it in the factory, Santa never needs to be bothered. He can stay in his cottage, chilling out with a few icy cocktails with Mrs. Claus.
Only the most important of messages get through to bother him.
Are you making yourself too accessible to your customers/clients? As the business owner, your time should be incredibly valuable and precious. If you’re readily accessible, then your customers or clients may start to think you’re not actually that busy – and not actually that successful.
Customer service is critical, yes. Set up a system – there should be someone else answering the phone, screening calls and bringing you only the most important things. Important people are dealing with important problems – are you an important person?
The man in the big red suit has a bit of a head start, but it isn’t actually that hard to grow big fast. Just learn from the best, implement the right tools and strategies and you could be relaxing in your own North Pole before long, while your elves get the work done without you.
About the Author
Shweta Jhajharia, Principal Coach and founder of The London Coaching Group, is a multi- award-winning business coach, recognised both by external bodies and the industry awards panels as the top coach in the UK. Despite competitive economy, her clients across sectors consistently achieve measurable double digit growth (over 41%) and are the most awarded client base in UK. See: http://www.londoncoachinggroup.com