2 seconds after Halloween it seems that all the retail stores put up their Christmas decorations - trying to capture as much of the Holiday market as possible. Typical ways that retail stores use to capitalize on the holidays include extended hours and sales. This is all well and good. Today I want to give you an early present by giving you some novel ways to think about holiday promotions.
Many people are fed up with holiday crowds, which is reflected in the growth of online sales and the decline of some traditional retailer's sales. There also seems to be a trend towards buying fewer gifts, but those gifts tend to be higher-ticket luxury items.
In the type of marketing we all should be doing , we start with the customer in mind. What do we know about people this time of year?
- Time is a commodity - there's too much to do and too little time. - People have more shopping to do than they usually do. - People are under a tremendous amount of stress. - People tend to clean and decorate their houses.
These are just some of the factors affecting people during the holiday season. I'm sure you can think of many more. Take these things into consideration, and take the stance of being a giver.
Here's an idea I've never seen (so I want credit if you use it). If you own a store, offer free gift wrap - nothing new there. While people are getting their gifts wrapped, they get a free chair massage? You could partner up with a local spa, or even a massage school who could also give every customer a promotional coupon. You save your customers time, take away their stress, and create a fusion marketing partnership with the spa.
If you are in a household service business, offer to do additional winterizing services for your customers to save them time. Offer a free holiday housecleaning. If you aren't in the cleaning business - again team up with a cleaning service.
Give-aways are great. Give away free Christmas trees - depending on where you are you could buy a couple hundred for $10 a piece. The deal could be - spend $100 and take home a free tree. Give away turkeys, or complete turkey dinners - a lot of grocery stores have this promotion.
Everybody gives away calendars, aim for something different but still useful. How about ice-scrapers if you live in the north? Blankets, sweatshirts, caps - are all good promotional items when the weather turns cold.
Holiday cards are great. People enjoy getting them and displaying them. Hardly anybody sends Thanksgiving cards, definitely consider it. In this politically correct age (gasp) you have to be sensitive to people's religious sensibilities. Send Happy Holidays cards and not Merry Christmas Cards - unless you are absolutely sure your customer celebrates Christmas.
If you have any kind of retail business, think about add-on gifts that might be used as a second gift. A florist might include a free gift-wrapped ornament with a certain level of purchase that can be sent to a different address. Two gifts for the price of one. Buy one get one free offers are great at holiday times.
Use your creativity this holiday season and think about how you can solve your customers’ problems.
Copyright 2005 Marketing Comet
J D Moore - Marketing Comet Small business marketing coaching that gives you more customers, higher profits, and a lot more fun in your business. http://www.marketingcometcoach.com blog - http://marketingcomet.typepad.com