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father christmasHave you given any thought to your Christmas promotion this year yet?

I find that many business operators feel an unexplainable urge to implement some form of Christmas promotion each year.  This urge does not carry with it other urges associated with considering exactly how this Christmas Promotion fits into their overall marketing strategy or implementation schedules.

Being a savvy business operator yourself, it probably won’t shock you to know that this lack of marketing strategy consideration is compounded by poor timing.  Many business operators do not commence planning, preparing and implementing their Christmas promotion early enough so as to do justice to their investment.

Five Questions to Consider

Here are five questions to consider before launching into your next Christmas promotion:

1. What are your Objectives with regard to your Christmas Promotion?

Starting with the end in mind and giving consideration to the outcomes that you would like to achieve from your Christmas Promotion is a very good first step.

For clients that we have worked with over the years objectives have included:

  • Simply saying thank you
  • An opportunity to position the brand by executing a Christmas Promotion that highlights or reinforces desired Brand Positioning values
  • Sales objectives such as developing relationships
  • Brand awareness objectives
  • Other sales and profit orientated objectives

Note that “Because we always do one” is not listed above

2. How does this Christmas Promotion fit with your overall Marketing Strategy?

Great opportunity to pull out your existing Marketing Plan and review key decisions such as who your Primary and Secondary Target Markets are and what needs are they looking to have satisfied by your brand. This will also reinforce who you should be targeting with your intended Christmas Promotion.

Reviewing your Desired Brand Positioning Criteria will help you shape the nature of your Christmas Promotion and even help you decide if you should implement one at all.

3. What will be the physical implementation of your Christmas Promotion?

Defining what your Christmas Promotion will look like and how it will integrate with your other scheduled Marketing Activities is also important. Christmas Promotions come in all shapes and sizes, examples include:

  • Basic Christmas greetings with or without modest gifts
  • Clever electronic greetings complete with dancing elves etc.
  • Personal touch including a telephone call or visit
  • Christmas function or other customer ‘get-together’
  • Upgrade of business premises, website and electronic stationery to include a seasonal message
  • Dedicated sales promotion designed to capitalise on the season and other noise taking place in the media
  • Dedicated sales promotion with supporting promotions and advertising activity
  • Numerous other forms of Christmas Promotions that have been implemented over the years

It is important to define exactly what your Christmas Promotion will comprise of.  You also need to define how it will impact your budget and other required/scheduled marketing activities.

4. What resources will you need to effectively implement your planned Christmas Promotion?

It is useful to define the resources that you need including time. Costs and time requirements have a habit of blowing out and if you have not started early you may incur additional costs for short lead-time deliveries.

When you have fully defined the costs and resources required to implement your Christmas Promotion you can then refer back to the objectives that you have defined above.

After you have defined your Christmas Promotion and the total investment required you will be in a position to make an informed ‘Go or No-Go’ decision.

5. How do you intend to measure the effectiveness of your intended Christmas Promotion?

It is very good practice to complete a post project analysis of every significant marketing project. In the case of your Christmas Promotion your post project analysis may help you understand the following:

  • When you should commence planning and preparation
  • Which customer groups are most receptive to this type of promotion
  • What forms of promotions activity are worthy of consideration
  • What budget and human resources do you need to allocate for your Christmas promotion to be effective
  • Should you implement a Christmas Promotion next year

Your post-Christmas Promotion project analysis does not need to be a mammoth affair.  A simple analysis of the investment made and outcomes achieved combined with a review of what worked well or did not work well is all that I suggest.

A Good Start to Christmas Promotions

Often Christmas is a time where promotional activity is less effective than at other times of the year. Low budget promotional activity can be lost and diluted in amongst the major advertising and promotions investment implemented by many larger retail oriented brands. Without knowing your business and your brands personally I am unable to recommend in favour or against a Christmas Promotion. What I recommend is that you invest in up front planning to ensure you use your marketing resources as effectively and efficiently as you can.

A good start when considering the merits of your next Christmas Promotion is to commence your planning and preparation early and give consideration to the five questions above.  You will then be in a better position to map out a plan for implementation from there.

In the meantime, I inform you that modest parcels of wine, jewellery and exotic perfumes are always well received under the Baker Marketing Christmas tree.

Image by Bart Fields on Flickr (CC by 2.0)

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