What marketing can learn from Xmas? It's that time again! The tree, sparkling red & green decorations, smell of speculaas-spices, 50's Jingle Bell songs, 4 red candles & funny reindeer lights @ the neighbours, ...
We do everything we can to make it warm inside & cheer everyone up in the cold winter. Is there anything useful from this particular experience of Christmas that can be applied back to the marketing science?
We've dissected the Xmas-shopping trip for you, and reverse-engeneered it to push your marketing up the emotional ladder.
Whenever you make a gift to someone, you desperately try to avoid the anonymous 25€ voucher from a cheap retail chain.
You think of their context, what they have & need, what age, what they like, their taste or aesthetic preferences, etc. You do everything you can to tailor the gift to your specific audience.
Marketing is trying the very same with their branded messages : we go personal. Digital & data are allowing us to dig deeper on a big scale.
Make sure your message is personal, responding to a need, adapted to age & tastes, fitting with audience's preferred tone-of-voice. Ensure it's contextual & relevant enough to score an “Aha”-moment you hope for when you give that 1 special present to your loved one.
The customer experience is made of a series of touchpoints. Just having the perfect present / product is not enough.
The product is obviously a key vehicle of communication with your customer, but there's more.
To build a brand experience, we need to make sure all the other touchpoints wrap the product in a fantastic way. Map all your customer touchpoints and search for ways to be consistent, overdelivering, to be differentiating vs. competition. Is your gift wrap unique enough to have stopping power? Does it emerge in the clutter or did it go down to the cheap commoditization-zone? And of course (& here's a difference with the magical mystery of surprise-gifts), does it communicate clearly, crisply & simply what's inside?
Avoid commoditization of your gift. Be different. Don't offer the same as your neighbour.
Trigger the reaction that the link between you & your loved one is special and unique. Your partner wants to feel you bought the gift precisely for them & you didn't recycle some freebie you got in the office.
When you make a product, you hope to make a margin & charge more for it. You buy a gift for 5€ and hope it looks like 50€, so your audience is impressed by the huge effort you make for them.
So, yes, work on driving costs down, but don't forget to build a user experience that is enriching and overdelivering on expectations. Average customer service is not enough anymore, only a WOW-effect will get word-of-mouth going.
People's emotions are triggered when they receive emotional & superfluous/luxurious things (they wouldn't dare to buy themselves). Not the rational toothbrush or the kitchenaid I will certainly need.
Even B2B buyers are humans : don't just limit the relationship to the rational product specs: build a story, enrich your relation with non-copiable unique layers. Content-marketing is just that : create content around your expertise that will increase your credibility. And since we're digital, make sure that content is not only rational pdf's of your product specs. Make people want to read it : make it digestible, enriched with video or other visual infographics. 200 page product manuals won't get read anymore, did you know our attention span got down to 8 seconds nowadays?
Back to our comparison, maybe Xmas could learn from Marketing too? Maybe the love & warmth & kindness we exchange at the december 'burst' could move to an “always-on” strategy?
Why limit the love to December 25th?
Competition and real-time relevance of competitors is so aggressive, that it is necessary to remind your customers that your love is omnipresent, 365 days of the year. So avoid the Xmas rush, buy your customer little personalised/emotional/revelant gifts every day!
Gregory Berleur & Thomas Mees