Christmas PR: Do Something or Be Doomed

Christmas isn’t only about religious and spiritual meanings anymore. It is also a lot about marketing. Businesses in any field try to come up with great ideas for this time of the year, struggling to capture the biggest slice possible of that money cake available for holiday shopping.

People save money to buy something they want or need for Christmas. Big bucks go for presents, and a recent survey showed that 7 out of 10 consumers will spend the same amount of money or more this year as in the last. People plan to buy gifts for their families, friends, co-workers and themselves. In fact, 6 out of 10 shoppers said that they will spend an average of USD139 on gifts for themselves.

So marketers need to be prepared and launch new and interesting campaigns. But they also need to go beyond existing and new customers and think back to suppliers, partners, media representatives and so on. Yup, it’s that time of the year in which a very comprehensive address book is useful. It’s time for companies to show their appreciation for their shareholders and each type of target audience which influences the company. It’s that time of the year when choosing a perfect gift is a challenge, but, at the same time, it is a moment that no company can afford to miss.

There was a moment, several years ago, in my country (Romania) when many people were complaining that they receive only datebooks and, although they are useful and needed, they can use only a limited number of such office supplies throughout the year. Some were also complaining about receiving a big pile of calendars. A datebook, a card and a calendar were the standard Christmas gift.

But there was something worse than sending a gift similar to those sent by many other companies. And that was not sending anything.

This “capital sin” is still valid nowadays. It is not good to be “accused” of not being very creative, but it is a whole lot worse to be that company that didn’t send a gift. And in the end people forget identical or similar gifts after a while, but they tend remember the companies that didn’t send something.

Of course that a gift sending campaign comes at a cost. It takes time to find the best idea, to personalize the items, to pack them and have them delivered. But it is not as if Christmas and the winter holidays come out of the blue, as a surprise. It is a celebration well known by anyone.

Marketers need to pay attention to the religious orientation of the receivers, but many people celebrate Christmas. And in the end, marketers could find that giving something away means, in fact, receiving something. Appreciation. In fact, a smile, even if it remains unseen by the sender, a simple smile from the recipient when they unpack and see the gift, is all that matters. It is great to receive gifts, but it is at least as lovely to offer them. So companies should prepare great marketing campaigns, but also some inspired gifts for those they have interacted with over the year.

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