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Six marketing lessons from Santa Claus

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24th Dec 2014
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One of the most effective ways of learning is to mimic the best, and when it comes to marketing, nobody has things sewn up quite like the big man.

So how does Santa Claus do it? 

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. You're confused, angry and disappointed.

Promises were made – and broken. You start to dislike and distrust Santa.

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 your reputation. So make sure you've got a secure delivery system in place and stick to your promises.

Lesson 2: Always be giving

A bag full of toys

Santa is widely loved by people because he's always handing out gifts.

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 front and centre. 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 finds out who's been naughty and nice.

Santa has been gathering support for years. Constant building of your list is important. But it's also important to qualify – who are the nicest 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, and that's his brand's greatest asset. 

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. Then you can be constantly visible without even being there personally.

Lesson 5: Organise your team

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, Mums and Dads delivering the gifts, and the Elves making and packing. He has clear systems in place that run without his direct input.

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: Choose your channels of engagement wisely

I'm sending a letter to Santa Claus

You can't get a direct line to Santa Claus. He's far too important to be that accessible. Even if you write to him the elves will screen the letter and if they can deal with it in the factory, Santa never needs to be bothered.  Only the most important of messages get through.

Are you making yourself too accessible to your customers/clients? Remember, your time is incredibly valuable and precious.

Customer service is critical, yes. Set up a system – there should be someone answering the phone, screening calls and bringing you only the most important things.

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. 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 for you.

Shweta Jhajharia is principal coach and founder of The London Coaching Group

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