I’ve already started my Christmas shopping, and although technically I don’t need any, this weekend I bought some sparkly new decorations for my tree. In my house, Christmas starts in September.
Am I mad? Some might vigorously insist that I am, but I famously love Christmas (I’m THAT person who starts counting down on Facebook in July) and if your aim is a successful and stress-free festive season then you need to start planning well in advance of the big day. And believe it or not, many of our clients’ thoughts have turned to Christmas, too, because they understand that if they get their end-of-2018 promotions strategy right it will put them in a great position at the start of 2019.
When I’m advising clients on their prize promotions strategy, the first question I always ask – even before do you like mince pies or Christmas cake best? – is what do you want your promotion to achieve? Some want to raise general awareness of their brand, grow their social media followers or reward their loyal customers, while others want to put a particular product or range in the spotlight.
Once you have a clear business goal you can design your promotion to achieve that goal. For that you need a concept. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a high-concept concept, as it were, but something that chimes with both Christmas and your goal makes sense, gives your promotion a coherence and distinguishes it from a promotion you might run at any other time of the year.
Advent calendar-type promotions are popular and for good reason, because they are not only seasonal, but the build-up – or countdown if you want to look at it that way – to the week before Christmas can be easily harnessed to generate a sense of excitement. However, Christmas has so many rich cultural associations that it’s not hard to find one to hang your promotion on. Just have a little bit of fun, because if you can’t do that at Christmas when can you do it and I guarantee your customers and potential customers will respond to it.
With the concept in place you need to decide on the mechanic – essentially how people will participate in your promotion and how you will select your winner or winners fairly – and you do need to plan this element carefully by thinking through all the details and any possible issues that might arise.
Concept and mechanic must be paired as perfectly as Christmas pudding and brandy butter, but it’s not necessarily a linear process and of course it’s fine to settle on the mechanic first – Instagram might be your primary point of connection with customers and if that’s the case an Instagram mechanic is the obvious choice – as long as the two are well-matched. Clearly both must also have an appeal to your existing or potential customers.
OK, I know it’s only September, but Tesco is already selling tubs of Christmas chocolates, and mark my words it won’t be long before the fairy lights come out and the tinsel goes up, so this should get you started thinking about Christmas. It’s actually the first in a short series of posts I’ll be writing about getting your seasonal promotions right, so do check back for my thoughts on Christmas prizes, compliance and fulfilment.
Prizeology’s campaign consultancy service can help you identify your objectives, come up with a concept and decide on your mechanic. If we can help, do give us a bell on (0)20 7856 0402 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Christmas elf and Chief Prizeologist.