Merry Christmas! Reasons Customers Don’t Respond to Ill-Timed Marketing
It is the second day of October. Already, Merryteasers, the yule-tide spin-off from Malteaster Bunnies by Mars, can be spotted in the sweet aisle of supermarkets.
Clearly, Mars is ready for Christmas. And it’s asking the rest of us to get thinking about it too. Three months before we even have to think about stuffing a turkey and making time for family members we don’t even really like!
No one in the real world is thinking about Christmas. Marketers on the other hand, are always thinking ahead for opportunities to sell their products.
Christmas is a great excuse to gorge on treats you wouldn’t normally indulge in, so chocolate makers like to bring the bandwagon around early.
But every year people complain about the early onset of Christmas in a consumer context. The classic gripe is that Christmas songs seem to play in supermarkets and clothes stores from about July.
What does this tell us about how consumers feel about seasonal marketing?
They don’t like it that much.
It’s sort of sacred. Brands seen as pouncing on holidays as commercial opportunities expose themselves as soulless corporate machines.
Customers don’t relate to this. Reacting with a tut and a roll of the eyes we say things like, “Far too early,” and move along.
For small businesses, it is probably counter-productive to try hopping on Christmas too early. As an SME, you have the potential to connect with customers on a more personal and genuine level than big brands can, as it’s likely your individual staff members already have relationships with them.
Your customers won’t respond to an artificial buzz about Christmas in October for this reason. It’s expected of big brands, not from actual people.
But is it ok to start leaning towards Christmas to help people prepare?
If you offer a service to people that they will have a genuine need for in the run up to Christmas, then it’s good sense to advertise with this in mind.
If you run a hotel and take bookings for Christmas parties, advertising this in late summer and autumn is a good idea. It saves people thinking about it last minute: there is a genuine need.
If you’re a mainstream chocolate brand already letting loose on the Christmas packaging, then in the eyes of the public this is less forgivable. Chocolate is available all year round.
If you’re seen as capitalising on it at Christmas, this is not a cosy image. People won’t like that you’re using a family-oriented time of year to peddle your product.
Too early for humbugs.
Is it too early to be griping about too-early Christmas advertising? Is this possible? Have you seen any Christmas promotions on shelves? Does it get you excited or make you cringe?