The holiday season is upon us. Christmas is tomorrow, family is in town, food is bottomless… it’s the best time of the year. Crises happen, though. Client work doesn’t end just because the year is reaching its final days. Holiday shopping takes a toll on us. Advertisers are targeting online shoppers more than ever. Social media has created a platform for angry consumers to air their grievances to hundreds or thousands of potential customers. There’s so much happening this month that marketers, PR pros or advertisers might let some things slip through the cracks (let’s hope not, though!).
For those in marketing-related fields, there are some lessons to be learned this time of year:
1. In crisis situations
The holiday season is certainly not without its bumps in the road. When you’re out shopping on Christmas Eve and find the perfect gift in every size except the one you need, it’s time for quick thinking. You either need to see if other stores have different sizes, or it’s time for quick thinking to find a new gift.
If your Christmas dinner is forgotten in the oven while tens of hungry guests are waiting, setting off the smoke detector, it’s time for a solution, and fast–maybe it’s seeing if your Christmas ham is salvageable, or maybe it’s ordering pizza. Always have a plan B.
2. In selling
It’s all about how you sell things. One of the many lessons I’ve learned as a waitress (or salesperson, as the restaurant I work at calls its employees) is that with the right phrasing or gauging of your audience, you can get them to buy what you’re selling. Your table might not want to pre-order a holiday pie right off the bat, but when you start to describe it when it’s a warm, apple-y, cinnamon-y delight covered in vanilla ice cream, they’re more likely to bite.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Do you want to hear about how to write effective marketing copy for the millionth time, or do you want to hear someone’s first-hand story about how changing one small thing in their copy contributed to a 30 percent sales increase? I’d choose the latter.
3. In design
To go along with the “selling” part of Christmastime lessons, it’s all about looks. No one wants to have a poorly timed pitch or a press release sent to the wrong journalist, just like no one wants to eat an ugly pie. It might be the most delicious pie (or best written press release), but looks mean a lot. Design your writing, posters or speeches in a way that makes people want to interact with them. If you wouldn’t want to look at what you’re selling, your audience won’t either.
In short, this is the time of year when “normal” people are out and about–when they’re easy targets for marketers. By avoiding crisis situations (or by doctoring them in the best way possible) and marketing your product or service in the right way, you can get your audience to take your bait, and maybe even gain a new customer.
What tips do you have for marketers who are trying to sell during the holidays?