Marketing: The Alternative to ‘Christmas Planning’

As Halloween and bonfire night come to an end we find ourselves hurtling towards Christmas.  You could argue we have been hurtling towards Christmas since, well, last Christmas.

And you know what?  There may be some truth in that.


As I visited my local shopping centre recently I could not fail to think about all the planning required to get all the goods into the various stores in time for Christmas – the planning of production, negotiations with distributors, the designing of merchandising, the production of gift guides and so on.


This is all a huge investment for all concerned, but absolutely key.   These retailers and their shareholders know that their success for the year will be dictated by how well they do over the festive period.


That’s why there’s no room for error – the planning cycle has to be that well defined.  Product lines have to be decided in March for the following Christmas.


But what happens when everything is not as predictable as Christmas?


What if your business isn’t reliant on a few weeks at the end of the year where you can make the majority of your sales?  Surely that should make things easier as you can make your sales at any time of the year?


But that’s exactly why some business struggle.  Without an industry defining event like a major exhibition, there is nothing to dictate their marketing efforts.  As such businesses are forced to create some momentum.  This requires strategic input, planning and imagination:


Strategic Input

Ask yourself what are your company targets?  Are they realistic?  Is the market big enough?  What assumptions have you made? 



What resources do you require to meet your objectives?  This can be finance, skills, time, as well as experience.


What key milestones have to be met and by whom?  What are the implications for not meeting them - is this a strong enough motivation to ensure buy-in from your team?



Rather than copying the competition what can you deliver that is different?  What idea can you own and use to steal a march on your competitors?  Use ‘What if’ as a prompt i.e. what if we guaranteed delivery within a fifteen minute window?


This is not an exhaustive list but should serve as a prompt to take action and not rely on outside factors to dictate the success of your business.  So with a little strategic input, planning and imagination you could see Christmas come early for your business.

Posted by: Nimish Sawjani on Nov 6, 2012
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