Flip on your television over the next few weeks, and you'll be reminded of the many heart-warming lessons of love this holiday season. Pay attention to the way shoppers and customers act, however, and you can learn a lot that can help you grow your business for any part of the year.
You see, the same things that make December a month of celebration also make it a unique lens for viewing human behavior. That means that, if you're looking closely enough, you can learn some important lessons for your ongoing marketing efforts:
1. For some people, it's all about the prices.
As we see every Black Friday, there are people who will wake up in the hours of the night, drive to shopping mega centers, and literally trample over one another to save a little bit of money on a flatscreen TV or other piece of merchandise. While this might seem equal parts comedic and unfortunate, it also shows that consumers (both retail and business-to-business) will go to great lengths to keep some of their money.
With that in mind, it's important to know whether you can compete with other companies strictly on price. If you can, then that should always be a focal point of your advertising strategy. If you can't, then know that there will always be a certain segment of the market you can't capture.
2. … For others, price isn't a motivator.
Although most buyers are at least somewhat price conscious, finding bargains isn't the most important thing for some customers, which is why they skip big holiday sales and simply look for gifts at other times of the year, or when shopping crowds aren't present. In fact, they may be skeptical of advertised prices that are too low, especially on the Internet, since they want to buy quality, even if it costs a little more.
The moral of the story is that, if you aren't the lowest-priced provider in your market, you could actually hurt sales by trying to draw in bargain buyers.
3. There are many different kinds of buyers out there.
The fact that Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and a few other holidays are celebrated around this time of year is a reminder that, even here in Canada, there are lots of different types of people. The same can be said for your pool of potential customers – they all have their own needs and motivations.
Successful marketing plans are the ones that focus on the people who are most likely to buy from you, and touch upon the most powerful reasons for convincing them to do so. Trying to do more or less than that is hardly ever a good idea.
4. Everything changes with time.
If you want to remind yourself just how fast things change, and how fickle customer demand can be, Google the most popular Christmas gifts of 2007. That's only five years ago, but there will be a lot of items on the list that will make you shake your head, and more than a few that you probably have forgotten about completely.
The lesson to take from this little exercise is that the market is always shifting around us. If you aren't the leader in your industry today, you could be tomorrow; and if you're in the top spot now, you're going to have to keep fighting for it because no one is going to stop trying to take it from you.
The holiday season is a great time to reflect on things and enjoy life, but it's also a good occasion to remind yourself of fundamental marketing truths that stay with us all year-round. Do you know where your company ranks in terms of prices and competition, what your buyers want, and how you're going to be better next year than you are today? If not, it might be time to meet with a member of our team this holiday season.