You might think Iím joking, but there is a serious note to this question. Itís not because I think that we should start celebrating Christmas in October Ė Iím shocked by the hotel near Reading that already has a Santa by the front door! However, when it comes to planning your marketing, you can learn a lot from key seasonal events or dates, such as Christmas.
If I promise not to fill this issue of Scribbles with unnecessary festive cheer, will you carry on reading it? And if youíd like to complain about Christmas coming far too early (or not soon enough!) then please share your thoughts on my LinkedIn question by clicking here.
Why Havenít You Ordered Your Christmas Cards Yet?
If youíre a regular reader of Scribbles youíll know that Iím not a huge fan of Christmas. I think there is far too much hype and spending and that weíve lost the real focus on what the event is really about. I hate receiving email cards from people who send the same cards to hundreds of people without any thought and who claim to send money to a charity instead. I loathe the fact that supermarkets start selling naff decorations (that only end up in landfill) before we've even got past Bonfire Night.
There is, however, one thing I like about Christmas (other than all the time I can spend in my local pub) and thatís printed Christmas cards. Every year since my business started, I've sent personalised cards to all my clients, many of my suppliers, prospective clients, peers and friends. Each one is personally addressed and contains a personal note.
"But it takes too much time!" This is an excuse I hear every year, which is why it pays to plan ahead. When the charity card catalogue arrived in the post in the middle of August, instead of throwing it away, I gave it to my staff and asked them to choose their favourite Ė the only proviso is that all our cards have trees on, so they had to select a Ďtreeí card. The catalogue came with an offer of a tasty 20% discount for orders placed by the end of August. We maintain a database to which we add all our new contacts and clients on a regular basis, marking up those to whom we'd like to send a card at the end of the year. This made it really easy for me to see how many cards we needed and we ordered in time to get the discount. They arrived at the end of September and will sit in their box until mid-November, when we'll start addressing them Ė all by hand.
Yes, it takes time, which is why we start early. A few now and then, when we need a break from doing something else. Each one will be signed by the members of my team who know them and a personal note will be added. My Marketing Apprentice, Yan, doesn't have fancy handwriting, so it'll be his job to stick all the stamps on! Then, come early December, we'll be ready to fill up the post box with all our cards, making sure they reach their destinations in plenty of time. No last minute rush to catch the final post, for cards to arrive after people have left the office for two weeks. No worry about forgetting to send a card to key new clients. No getting it wrong and accidentally sending a Christmas to someone who doesn't celebrate Christmas. More time to go to the pub!
When you take the time to plan your marketing, you'll be able to take advantage of the really great deals that pop up; you'll be able to spend the time doing your marketing properly. It's not too late to get organised with your Christmas cards for this year; and when they're done, you'll be thinking about the marketing you'll be doing in January to bring in the next batch of new clients, won't you?
Is it too early to start planning Christmas? Will you be sending cards this year? Click here to let me know on LinkedIn.