How the Gift-Giving Process Makes You a Better Marketer

I love to give gifts. Part of it is seeing the joy that the recipient expresses, but part of it is the process. Finding the perfect gift for someone isn’t easy and shares a lot in common with the marketing process.

Danbo Santa Claus_Takashi Hososhima_flickr

First, there’s the research into what the recipient likes and how he spends his time. What’s a day in his life like? Is he a workaholic? A teacher by day but writer by night? Doting Dad of two? You need to understand what makes the recipient tick in order to give a meaningful gift.

Sound familiar? Studying a potential gift recipient is a lot like creating a buyer persona or understanding your customer. Step into your prospects’ or customers’ shoes in order to understand what they truly need. What would make their job a little easier? How can you take some stress out of their life?

After doing your research, you need to keep your budget in mind. Sure, it would be great if you could buy everyone a dream vacation or a MacBook Pro, but that’s not always feasible. Don’t be disappointed with your lower budget; just change your level of thinking. Does your friend love to travel? Pick up a scarf with multiple uses or a great travel bag that will be perfect for her next trip.

The same way of thinking holds true in marketing. Budget is always something to keep in mind no matter what yours is. Figure out how to maximize your exposure and effectiveness with what you have to spend. Maybe you can’t afford a digital billboard in Times Square, but you can afford passing out flyers about your new pop-up shop to those in the area.

Another way to expand your budget is to partner with others. So your brother and sister-in-law need a new washer but it’s out of your budget? Get together with family and friends to organize your gift-giving efforts. Everyone can contribute to a ‘new washer fund’ via a crowdfunding source or a group gift card to the appliance store.

The same practice works well in marketing. Partnering with like-minded businesses can expand your reach and your budget. Attend networking functions to find other businesses that you can help and vice versa. The important aspect of any relationship is that both sides are committed and both gain something. If only one business benefits, it’s not a good fit and the relationship won’t last.

Finally, evaluate the feedback. No matter how much you do your due diligence, sometimes you miss the mark. A gift is not well received or the recipient has no use for it. Make note of why the gift failed to live up to expectations so you can improve for the next occasion.

In marketing, sometimes your efforts fail. You can conduct ample research and maximize your budget but your campaign or project may not produce the expected results. Your customers and prospects are people, which means they’re complex. No matter how well researched your buyer personas are, maybe you missed one key aspect.

It’s crucial to examine your feedback so you can improve whatever part of your marketing is lacking to see better results in the future. That’s not always easy but that’s the topic of another article (actually the next one).

Who knew the gift-giving process could make you a better marketer? Maybe that’s why I enjoy it so much. Or maybe it’s because I love to make people smile. Or because I love a good challenge. Regardless, put some thought into your gift giving and marketing this Holiday season and you’re bound to see the results.

p.s. Do you know an entrepreneur or small business owner who could use some marketing help? Give them a gift that will keep on giving long after it’s opened. We offer gift certificates toward any of our services. Let’s talk about your recipient’s business, product or idea, so we can customize a gift certificate for you.

Picture: Danbo Santa Claus by Takashi Hososhima via CC BY-SA 2.0

CCC’s Chief Elf,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about gift giving, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Inside/Out: Brands, Take Your Message To The People

Last night, I attended a launch party for a unique concept called Inside/Out Akron. The Akron Art Museum has embarked on an ambitious community outreach program to take art to the people. High-quality art reproductions from the museum’s collection will be installed throughout the city for Akronites and visitors to enjoy as they go about their days.

Taking your message to the people. It’s a concept that seems everywhere today, or maybe I’m just noticing it more. From museums and churches to malls and grocery stores, everyone is reaching out to its audiences instead of only trying to market their products and services to them.

How can your business or brand take its message to the people?

Hit the Road — Exhibit at trade shows, conferences or community events. Take advantage of the tremendous foot traffic that these events generate, and the opportunity to get your message to new audiences. Early registration timelines and product/service trades can reduce your expenditures and help you receive even more exposure. Maximize your return on investment (ROI) by putting together a show strategy and executing a pre, during and post-show plan. Don’t forget about sponsorship opportunities, either at these events or elsewhere. They can be a boon to your business if chosen carefully.

Related Reading: Event Planning: You Need to Have a Plan  |  Sponsorship: Your Name Here

Make New Friends — Look for opportunities to partner with other businesses or organizations to expand your reach. Make sure it’s a win-win situation, so you can develop a long-term, positive relationship. For example, the Akron Art Museum partnered with numerous organizations, including the Summit Metro Parks, Downtown Akron Partnership and Akron-Summit County Public Library, to reach new audiences and increase promotion of the Inside/Out initiative. A local homeless shelter partners with organizations to expand its reach, including Chick-fil-A to host a canned food drive. When you drop off at least two canned goods, you receive a coupon for a free sandwich. The right partnerships can open up a whole, new world.

Related reading: Love — and Marketing — is in the air!

Be the Host with the Most — Step outside of selling your products and services for a minute, and invite people into your building with no strings attached. What can you offer? Host a monthly book club or allow community members to reserve little or unused space for meetings. For example, the Summit Mall has flourished in an era when malls nationwide are struggling by opening itself up to the community. The mall encourages walkers, even opening the building well before the stores to accommodate work schedules, and posting wellness tips from a local hospital system. It also hosts a variety of events, from career fairs to pet expos, and seemingly everything in between. Once people are in the mall, it’s amazing what happens. They spend money! Another win-win.

Flip It Inside/Out: Your Turn!

How can you take your message to the people?

What are other examples of businesses who have taken their messages to their communities and beyond?

Would you be interested in a similar type of art outreach program in your community?

p.s. If you have event-related questions, let us know (or check out these event-related posts). While it’s not a core service that we promote, CCC has plenty of event experience of all kinds and would love to help with your next event.

“Just a small biz owner in Akron, OH,” 🙂
Jaime

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Sports & Leisure: Scoring Points and Creating Fans

sports fans

Fun times at the Kentucky Derby!

It’s no surprise that fan is the root of fanatic. People are passionate about their sports teams, so why not make your brand an integral part? From game day giveaways to local team tie-ins, you can elicit as much passion about your company as the home team.

Becoming a part of game day is a great way to get involved with the local community. Brand popular giveaways, such as noisemakers, signs, stadium cups or lanyards, to hand out at the gate or pre-game tailgating events. Help fans become the 12th man by giving away branded rally towels or shirts to create a ‘black-out’ effect – a sea of black across the stands (or use any team color). Shoot t-shirts with your company’s message into the stands during stops in the action to keep the passion and energy high.

Not going to the game? Bring the excitement into the office. Make your employees the MVPs of a celebration honoring the local sports team or a season kickoff, complete with branded giveaways and merchandise. Pair this special day with a cook-off or potluck to foster team spirit and company pride within your organization. Reward winners or all participants with prizes to acknowledge their efforts. Giving branded merchandise to employees that they’ll use outside of work is an unobtrusive way to spread your message and potentially generate new business.

Don’t limit creating fans of your company to the field or the office. Branching out into leisure time activities is an easy way to build rapport with potential customers, who are everywhere – shopping at stores, strolling parks, attending community festivals, etc. Sponsor teams or leagues, donate branded giveaways for fairs or partner with fellow local companies to create programs that will benefit the community and generate goodwill about your company at the same time. For example, a casual healthy eating restaurant could partner with a fitness center to promote healthy living. Both companies promote the program (and each other) by offering discounted products and services (15% off a fitness center registration with a receipt from the restaurant), helpful information (healthy living tips) and rewards to encourage participation (a free ‘healthy eating set’ after working out at the fitness center 10 times). Not only does partnering with other companies help promote your organization, it can also help with advertising costs. Split the cost of co-branded merchandise, so it’s a winning situation for both companies and the community.

Don’t forget the face paint…

Jaime