Great Marketing Lessons From Santa Inc.

A few years ago, Sean D’Souza, one of my favorite marketers, wrote “Why Santa’s Marketing May Work Better Than Yours.” I’ve condensed and updated it; hope you enjoy.

1. Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle All the Way

If you go to the heart of Santa’s marketing, the one word you come away with is ‘consistency’. Generation after generations have been exposed to one brand, one message, and the same powerful imagery.

Tip: Santa stands for something. What does your restaurant stand for? What’s your vision? What’s your mission?

2. Santa Consistently Occupies One Niche, Then Builds On It

Santa doesn’t change his mind. His customers are kids and he knows it. Like several marketers, he might have been greedily tempted to enter a different niche. With bad advice, he would have tried to get to teenagers, adults and everyone. He realizes that even the tiniest of niches is huge … and niches have a way of expanding by themselves.

At the end of the day, it’s the consistency that takes the jingle all the way to the bank. Too many restaurants lose focus and give you multiple reasons why you should buy from them. Santa sticks to one.

Tip: Find your position and be the best at it and famous for it.

3. You Can Spot Him in the Middle of a Crowded Sky

Do you know anyone else who comes to visit on a sleigh in the middle of the night? And, with reindeer and gifts? The reason Santa stands out so vividly in our memories is because he’s different!

Tip: It’s all about the Wow. If it doesn’t Wow, it’s boring.

4. Give and You Shall Receive

Take a look at Santa’s style. He’s into giving first.

Tip: Make a memorable impact with your customers and in your community.

5. He Knows if You’ve Been Bad or Good

Santa knows his customers. He even knows when they’re sleeping!

What about you? Look at your best customers. What are their names? Their birthdays? Their likes and their hobbies?

The reason Santa’s marketing works is because he knows your individual needs. If you want a Star Wars toy, you get one. If you want a Fitbit or new headphones, you get that too, and you’re not disappointed. Santa knows because he’s interested in giving.

To give, you have to know what the receiver wants or your gift isn’t worth the packaging it’s wrapped in.

Tip: Connect with your best customers; get to know everything about them, even if you have to use Google or LinkedIn to get the information.

6. Hire The Best Reindeer

The Christmas Eve journey is tough and long, which is why Santa hires only the best to haul his sleigh. One weak reindeer slows the journey down as he spans the globe. While Santa’s hiring techniques are tough and stringent, his retention of his reindeer and elves is eternal.

They are loyal to him, and Santa is loyal to them. The culture in the workshop along with incentives, makes Santa Inc. ‘thee’ place where people want to work.

Tip: Is your restaurant a place where people would enjoy working at? Do people come to you for employment or do you have to go out and hunt for them?

7. Have A Plan; Make A List & Check It Twice

With all that Santa has to do, each year he’s got to have a plan and it all starts fresh on January 1st.

He immediately starts planning for the year ahead; making lists on the next best toys, who gets what and where they live.

As gigantic as his task is, and even though it’s just once a year, Santa plans it out with perfection and checks it twice.

Tip: Without a plan, there’s no direction. What do you want and by when? How are you going to get it and who will be responsible for getting it done?

8. Santa Let’s You Know What He’s Up To

Santa uploads videos onto his website so people can watch him. He’s also got photos of his Christmas Eve journey posted on Instagram. And, he broadcasts parts of his journey on Facebook Live.

Santa understands the importance of memories – they keep people together and smiling. He keeps those memories alive using social media.

Tip: Are you using social media enough so people can see you online – who you are, what you do. Are you encouraging your customers to post their memories on social media?

9. Holiday Conclusion

Santa’s marketing is simple and it’s withstood generational changes and advances in technology.

It’s the perfect template that every restaurant can use.



How To Watch With Envy Your Competitors Becoming Famous This Holiday Season

With the holiday season less than a month away, as you know, there’s a huge media focus on festive cooking.

Your local media is planning ahead for “cooking features” to write about in their newspapers and feature in their locally-produced morning TV programs and news segments.

They’re always looking for new talent … preferring not to use the same face as in previous years. So, if you’ve got a great story to tell, your chances are good that you’ll be heard.

But before you say, “Who cares about pizza or sandwiches for the holidays” – well you’re wrong. What about pizza/sandwiches/salads for New Year’s … the day that features millions sitting at home watching the Bowl Games or the NHL’s Outdoor Classic?

You’re road to being featured in a newspaper story or a TV cooking segment depends on your story. For example:

    •  How to cook holiday turkeys or hams with a local/regional style
    •  Special holiday dinners
    •  Tips for catering holiday dinners
    •  Holiday drinks
    •  Nutrition topics
    •  Easy recipes
    •  10-Minute recipes
    •  Holiday recipes and party planning ideas
    •  Ethnic recipes
    •  Holiday pizza platters
    •  Holiday desserts
    •  Holiday appetizers
    •  New Year’s Day college football recipes

Every restaurant has a story; every product has a story. TV producers are looking for new, bright talent to talk about food and cooking … and that’s you.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Create your story; the more unique the better. What do you have that’s interesting?
  2. Run through a local TV guide and get the names of the locally produced shows.
  3. Call the TV station and get the name of the features editor and/or producer of a specific show. For your newspaper, ask for the features editor.
  4. Prepare what you’re going to say.
  5. Make a phone call and say something like, “Good morning, I’m the owner of Ruby’s Steakhouse, my name is Ruby Ruben. I want to let you know that as the holiday season is just around the corner and if you’re preparing segments on holiday foods and cooking ideas, I’ve got some unique ideas that would be interesting to your viewers.”

Want to become famous? Now’s the best time to do it – when media is most receptive.

But here’s the number one reason why you should do this now:
If you don’t do it, someone else will … and there’s a good chance that someone else will be one of your competitors.


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