Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

...well, fall, actually. Leaves are turning brown, falling. Tomato plants are bursting with yellows, reds, and oranges. Grape clusters are hanging heavily on the vines. It's easy to get caught up in enjoying the abundant fall. But for savvy marketing organizations (like TPC and my clients), now is the time to begin thinking about, and planning for... the holidays. That's right--they're just around the corner, and coming quickly!

The end-of-year holidays are, in my Surviving to Thriving opinion, an extremely fertile time to reinforce and build your branding and your marketing. Why?
1. It's a chance to thank the most important people related to your business--your best customers.
2. It's an excuse to reach out and "touch" prospects and those you want to do business with in the future.
3. It's a chance to differentiate yourself among all the other holiday cards and boxes of chocolate.

The question then becomes, What to do? Again, a few tips:
* Stand out from the pack. Be creative. Don't just send a holiday card; send a card wrapped in y and accompanied by z.

* Be genuine. I invite my best clients to a dinner in late November. Last year, I also splurged and bought rooms for everybody at the hotel where we were dining. Why? I truly wanted everyone to not have to rush home, and not have to worry about drinking and driving. Not only did the group have a fantastic time, we all had brunch together the next morning, for more bonding and fun times.

* Have a higher purpose in mind. As much as possible, attempt to show that you do realize the "why" behind the holidays. This doesn't have to be (nor should it be!) religious. Instead, give thanks. Show gratitude. Express joy. Have fun.

* Whenever possible, utilize your existing customers. One of my clients is a massage therapist; I also work with several wineries. Hmmm, do you think a gift certificate for a hot stone massage would be a great gift? How about some high-quality Napa Valley wine? You bet! Not only do the people receiving my gifts receive something of value, my clients benefit as I am purchasing from them.

The end-of-year holidays can be an extremely important time to differentiate yourself in the marketplace, to say "thanks" to important clients and business partners, and to help jump-start your 2009. Don't delay, begin planning now. Should you need some brainstorming help, contact me.