At Intertype we recently surveyed over 3,000 businesses to discover their plans for leveraging the Christmas season to help build relationships with their customers. There are some surprises in the results.
Let’s drill down into each of the three questions
1.“Will you give anything to your clients this Christmas?”
a.53% said yes…they get an elephant stamp for relationship building
b.22% said maybe…they need to make a decision, take action and either delegate or outsource otherwise there is a high chance their competitors will “schmooze” your clients behind your back.
c.25% said no. ..and will miss a great opportunity and are at risk of their competitors getting a jump on them in the New Year.
While traditionally client giving has been “feel good” or brand building marketing there is nothing wrong with including something extra such as discount vouchers or bonus offers.
At Intertype we have a client who uses this to great effect. She includes discount vouchers for redemption in January and February. These months used to be her slowest sales months but now they run at above average. Needless to say she is achieving massive marketing ROI by building relationships AND making sales.
2. “Do you give the same gifts to every one of your clients?”
a. 47% said yes…they didn’t differentiate between their top clients and the rest. This indicates to me that approx. half of all businesses are missing this fundamental understanding which will seriously limit their profitability and growth. Embracing this principle is a massive opportunity if your business is part of this group.
b. 28% said they only gave to their best clients. This is a sound strategy as long as the “best” includes smaller clients that fit their ideal client profile and thus have the potential to be among their top client group.
c. 25% are differentiating between their best and the rest. Again another sound strategy as long as the investment in “The rest” is appropriate for their revenue. What I see working really well is when businesses use the traditional ABC segmentation approach and use three levels of investment, alternatively build relationship with A & B clients only.
3. ”What will you be giving your clients?”
a. 14% use physical Christmas cards while 65% used ecards. Last year I received a meager 3 physical cards but lost count of ecards at 250. Let me state my bias here, Intertype produces physical cards so I’m pre-disposed to disliking ecards. BUT from a pure marketing perspective I believe ecards have the potential to damage relationships. Basically they scream out to me that the relationship with my supplier is valued as much a spam email and I NEVER open them as they often contain executable files which are renowned for containing viruses and other nasty’s.
b. 23% use calendars and promotional gifts. Not only are they powerful marketing tools in the pre-Christmas season but have the potential to work for you for an entire year. A well designed calendar will keep your contact details to hand AND you have the capability of promoting different products and services each month…now that’s exceptional value.
c. 9% use wine or hampers. These have great a WOW factor and I often use them for my best clients. A great low cost idea is to buy a bulk supply of “clean skin” or unlabelled wines and apply your own custom deigned labels, you can some fun here with the design and messaging.
d. 6% opted for client Christmas parties. These can have the ultimate WOW factor and relationship building capabilities but aren’t for everybody as they usually involve great effort and expense.
All businesses should leverage the Christmas season to strengthen customer relationships, if you don’t your competitors probably will be and your clients’ other suppliers will probably be doing it also, either way you lack of action will send a negative relationship message.
If you haven’t done anything in the past, just start with “baby steps”.
Firstly segment your customers into best Vs the rest ensuring your best includes those that have the potential to become a top client.
Secondly commit to doing something even if it’s just sending a physical Christmas card but don’t forget to add a promotional voucher or even a simple magnetic calendar.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to take much of your valuable time nor cost a fortune. At Intertype we have developed a range of Christmas relationship builders that cost less than $250. If your budget is genuinely tight or if you only have a small client list go to your local $2 shop and you’ll be surprised what you will find.
The key thing is to just do it.
Ian Bosler is the founder of Intertype which provides a suite of integrated online and offline communications tools that are configured to help you Design, Build and Deploy automated Marketing and Sales Processes