Cutting through the noise generated by every Christmas marketing campaign out there

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It’s Christmas time, and people are in money-spending mode. By the time you reach the end of this article, thousands of dollars will have been spent by people on gifts that’ll go appreciated for a few days and then forgotten for the rest of time.

As a result, every company and its dog has something to sell. What’s more, they’re all putting a Christmassy, possibly emotionally manipulative spin on the way they’re selling it.

So whether it’s sleigh bells chiming subtly in the background of an otherwise standard commercial, or an epic forty-minute webisode that’s actually about nothing, Christmas marketing campaigns and adverts are swarming all around us now, whether you like it or not. And they’re generating cacophonous amounts of noise.

So how do you cut through all this noise?

Ultimately, the best Christmas marketing campaigns get people in the mood. They force people into gift-giving mode. Have a look at this list, for example.

Think about what Christmas means to you for a second. Feeling sentimental? That’s correct.

It’s a time of year that’s all about generosity and giving, so people are feeling all sorts of warm and fuzzy things that they’re usually not. If you can use your services to help people feel the Christmas spirit (whatever that might mean), you’ll actually positively influence the public perception of your brand.

By the way, as this article puts it, “Christmas ascended to its central place on the national calendar as a result of an intense marriage between commerce and sentiment”. So, the campaigns that have the most success and drive the most engagement are usually those with just the right combination of both emotional and material appeal. As we’ll see, quaintness also helps.

The rule is: tug the heartstrings, and give stuff away. That’ll snare customers quicker than you can say “Yuletide”.

Use your content and email marketing to call customers to action

Barbour created a gloriously vintage piece of Christmas-themed goo with “The Snowman and the Snowdog”. Produced in tandem with Penguin Books and Lupus Films, it’s a gorgeous-looking, very simple advert that nails home the brand’s message (“gifts they’ll always remember”) while also having appeal as entertainment in its own right.

Barbour also struck gold with an email marketing campaign that asks customers to nominate a friend or family member to win a gift. It’s even more personalised and effective, however, when you consider that customers are also asked to explain why their nominated person should win (also, don’t forget to set up those conversion funnels and retargeted emails!).

So this is a perfect example of how successful brands don’t just splurge on an expensive Christmas advert and wait for the money to roll in. Barbour really tried to create some Christmas spirit and call customers to action here, and it’s worked very well for them.


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Make short, instructive video content

At Christmas, you should be creating content that’s helpful and instructive, but altogether short and painless for people to experience. It’s the holidays, and people are less in the mood to engage with anything, so don’t take too long to say anything to them.

A good example of this is in action is Hobby Lobby’s gift-wrapping videos. The first sentence of its description reads, “If you have the perfect gift to give, why not wrap it up perfectly too?” Good question Hobby Lobby! Why didn’t we think of that?

Video content that your customers can share across Twitter and Instagram is one of the most effective

What might customers really want to know about your products? Think about it, and create some short, shareable content that helps illuminate it. Don’t be promotional about it however. You’re sending the message that Christmas can be insane, but you’re just here to help.

Give joy to your existing customers

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You shouldn’t just be concentrating on winning more customers throughout Christmas. It’s also important to leverage the customers you already have. Think about the 80:20 rule – the Pareto Principle. 20% of your customers create 80% of the profit. So make that 20% count!

As Ezra Firestone points out, you can use Facebook pixels to target existing customers in almost limitlessly variable ways. If a customer has bought one product and not another, you can use Facebook pixels to seek them out, target them and give them that extra push to buy.   

You can also use remarketing on AdWords and social media to target existing website visitors and convert them into customers. Email marketing, again, is perfect for reaching out to these people as well.

But perhaps the most important thing to realise about this is that your efforts to retain customers cost much less than what you’ll spend on converting brand new ones.

Reward people and give stuff away

Another good way to stand out amidst the Christmas hubbub is to actually just gift your customers. Unsolicited, non-promotional gifts sent totally out of the blue will win almost anyone over. Simple as that.

If you want to go more cutting-edge, you can, for example, reward mobile users by offering them discounts and free stuff. This will convert these users into longer-term customers, and make them appreciate the value of your brand even more.

Have a look at some more great ideas here.

Conclusion

In closing, there are a few simple ingredients to crafting an effective marketing campaign for the Christmas crowd. You don’t have to pull a Sainsbury’s and film a big-budget mini war epic (and rub some people the wrong way in the process), but you do have to convey something a little bit special. Place your brand at the centre of what makes Christmas fun, and force your customers into action.

 

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David is Studio Culture’s Head of Digital Marketing.

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