5 Tips for Making Your Customer Marketing Shine Bright During the Holidays

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Author: Jignesh Shah

Whether you’re trying to close Q4 deals or set the stage for 2016, you should start planning a holiday marketing campaign now. More than 80% of business in Q4 can occur during the last two weeks of December. Holiday campaigns are a great way to nurture the deals in the pipeline that you want to close. Holiday marketing can also help grow your pipeline into 2016 as it sets a solid foundation for sales and marketing plans as they head into the New Year. This is a perfect time to do something unique and fun to gain visibility and create engagement. This is also an effective way to spend any funds left over from your 2015 budget!

In this blog I’ll walk you through how to determine the right type of holiday marketing for your audience and share 5 tips to make you stand out to your customers this holiday season.

Focus Your Holiday Marketing

Targeting the right people is key to an effective holiday campaign. To accomplish this, think through who you should target and what you want to accomplish with them. Start with the following categories:

  • Bottom-of-the-funnel prospects: The goal with this segment should be to keep their attention on your business as they work through the purchase. Effective campaigns should create goodwill and engagement opportunities that sales needs to stay in touch and get the deals closed.
  • Middle-of the-funnel prospects: These are prospects who are actively evaluating your product. Holiday marketing should keep you on their radar and help put your product on their short-list for purchases in 2016.
  • Existing customers who are up-sell and cross-sell targets: Holiday marketing should focus on making them feel valued and appreciated.
  • Customers you want to nurture as advocates for references and recommendations: Reaching out to them during the holidays is a great way to thank them for their help and encourage them to continue to be your advocates.
  • Partners you want to build stronger relationships with: The holidays are a great time to recognize and reward partners for being on your team.

Top 5 Tactics to Make Your Business Stand Out During the Holidays

The biggest holiday marketing challenge is finding a way to stand out among the flood of postcards and email greetings your customers will receive and duly ignore. Price promotions may work in the consumer world, but they usually don’t work well for most B2B businesses. Price promotions certainly do not work with existing customers and early prospects who are not ready to purchase immediately.

So, to be successful this holiday season, your campaign must show genuine appreciation for your customers and must engage with them in a memorable way. This should be the driving force behind your holiday marketing campaign.

With that being said, we have compiled a list of 5 high-impact holiday marketing tactics that will make your business stand out among your competitors and delight your customers this holiday season:

1. Send gourmet food and wine

Sending high quality food and wine to top customers and partners is a classic and effective holiday marketing tactic. For maximum impact, choose items that can be decorated with your logo and easily shared around the office. For example, send cupcakes with your logo as a topper. Your gift will be memorable, shared with other influencers and consumed over a period of time, leading to excellent exposure.

Although this tactic is effective, it can be expensive and tricky to execute if you are targeting a large number of recipients. It also requires a lot of planning and lead time for large quantities: one to two months or more if you personalize the items. So, reserve these gifts for your top customers and partners.

2. Give the gift of relaxation

As fun as holidays are, they often are accompanied by stress, and  your customers deserve to unwind after a busy year. Send them small, thoughtful gifts to help them relax during this hectic time of year. Entertain your customers with iTunes, Amazon, and RedBox, help them unwind with spa gift certificates, or send them to Starbucks and Panera to get their coffee and munchies fix. By presenting a small gift, you can instantly cut through the noise and create valuable engagement. These gifts can easily be sent to thousands of customers using digital gift cards and marketing automation. The relatively inexpensive nature of the gift also makes it suitable for middle-of-the-funnel and bottom-of-the-funnel prospects (sending prospects expensive gifts can feel awkward). You can even have sales give the prospect a call when they claim their gift. To make the experience more engaging and memorable, use your own landing pages and send the gifts via your own email. You can extend the impact of these gifts by making it easy for your customers to share the moment on social media.

3. Mail personalized postcards with a digital gift

This tactic combines the best of physical and digital gifting while remaining inexpensive. Use a printing service to print and mail customized postcards that include a link to a landing page where the recipient can request or claim a small gift card. Email gift cards using marketing automation as the requests roll in. Not only do you grab attention with a physical gift, you convert that attention into engagement by including a digital gift. You can also keep track of who received their gift and when. Campaigns like this are great for getting in front of prospective as well as existing customers, but may be more complex and expensive than purely online campaigns. To ensure success, be aware of printing and mailing lead times.

4. Make charitable donations of their choice

It is important to show your customers that your company cares about more than just making money. This will set your company apart from the competition. Share your commitment to philanthropy by empowering your existing customers and partners to give to a cause they care about. Your philanthropy builds goodwill and shows care for the community, as well as sets you apart from your competition. Accomplish this by hosting a donations microsite where you create matching donations. Another similar option is to send charity gift cards to your customers, which allow them to donate money to a charity of their choice. Your customers will want others to see their selfless act, so be sure to make it easy for them to share the moment on social media, thus giving your company more visibility and brand awareness. Making a donation is a highly engaging experience and an excellent way to gain brand exposure while making a difference.

5. Supply valuable, evergreen content

The most valuable gifts you can give your customers this holiday season are time and insight. Your customers will deeply appreciate time-saving tools, such as stock photos, specialized industry calendars, and how-to videos. Stock photos will give them a head start on their own marketing campaigns, while industry calendars will help them plan out 2016 in advance. How-to videos can provide fast and easily digestible tips and training to help your customers do their jobs better. Be sure to align the content with your brand and product value proposition, but do not let your campaign come across as promotional. Keep in mind that it usually takes time and money to create truly evergreen content. However, your customers will appreciate the creativity and effort you put into thinking about their needs. This tactic will set your company apart from the competition by showing your customers you genuinely appreciate and care about them.

Final Tip…

Don’t forget to integrate social media! Support all of your holiday marketing efforts by posting about them to your social networks—and get your customers to post about them, too! For example, if you send them gift baskets, encourage them to tag your company in a social post where they show it off. You can also start a mini-social media campaign around how your partners and top customers help others around the holidays. To easily track any activity around your social media campaign, create a memorable hashtag and strongly encourage your partners and customers to use it.

Remember, your holiday marketing should serve as a strong ending to the year and as a springboard into the next. The relationships you build and strengthen now will serve you well into the New Year.

Which of these tips resonates the most with you? Have you run a really successful customer holiday marketing campaign? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 Tips for Making Your Customer Marketing Shine Bright During the Holidays was posted at Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership. | http://blog.marketo.com

The post 5 Tips for Making Your Customer Marketing Shine Bright During the Holidays appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.


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2016 Marketing Events That Will Shine as Bright as Gold

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Author: Michael Powers

Last year I decided to take a leap of faith and move from Boston to San Francisco, not knowing anyone. Nearly 25, I thought to myself, when would there be a better time to disrupt my life and explore a new adventure? So, I packed up my bags and went for it.

I am happy to say that leaving my home in Beantown and venturing out to the unknown West coast has been the best decision I’ve made for both my personal life and professional career. I’ve landed my dream job managing events at Marketo, checked things off my bucket list (think: traveling internationally and running a multi-activation event at SXSW), and I have forced myself outside of my comfort zone on numerous occasions. (It’s when we really get uncomfortable that we grow, right?).

For instance, this past weekend I went camping, and for those of you who know me, you know that the whole sleeping-in-a-tent-and-singing-songs-around-the-campfire routine isn’t my cup of tea…well, unless this is all taking place under the roof of the Four Seasons. But, I packed up my (new) sleeping bag and (new) hiking boots anyways (thank you, helpful folks at REI), told myself I was going to have a good time, and set out to actually make that happen! My friends and I headed up to the Yuba River and set up camp. When we got there, I expected that I would spend the day floating on a tube and maybe doing some fishing (but, of course, secretly hoping that I wouldn’t have to). But instead, to my surprise, one of my friends suggested that we pan for gold—just like the Gold Rushers did! I shrugged my shoulders and thought, “When in Rome….”

I loved it. Gold panning is an interesting activity and takes dedicated time and patience as well as some creativity. When you’re panning for gold, you find a spot near the bedrock and start digging. You then use a sifter to get rid of the big rocks in order to get down to just sand. You then go through about three more steps (that I won’t bore you with here), and eventually you may find a speck or two of gold (cha-ching!). However, even after all that work, you may not find any at all (whomp, whomp). You then move onto another spot and try again.

Pan for Marketing Gold

So, how does my gold panning experience relate to you, my fellow marketers? I’m glad you asked. I encourage you to think about your marketing programs—and specifically in this case, your marketing events program—in the same way that one would pan for gold. In recent times, our industry has seen more and more events pop up right and left—it seems like every company and organization is putting on a show now. But with this volume, how do you weed through the haystack and pinpoint the ones that your company should actually have a presence at? Some of these new events may be a good fit for your company, however with others, you may not find the gold you were looking for.

If you’re like me, you’ve already begun planning your event roadmap for 2016. As a starting point, make sure that you review event data that has accumulated over the past two years. Run that analytics report! This is the foundation of determining how you can be successful going forward. Assessing your year-over-year return on an event will tell you if the events that you are consistently participating in are truly working…or if they’re not. Determine the ROI. If your a B2B marketer, evaluate how many opportunities were created. Are these events generating pipeline better than other events? Then conclude whether they are really “must-attends.” If not, scratch them off the list and start digging somewhere else. With enough research and assessment, I’m sure you’ll find that gold you’ve been looking for.

Choose the Right Events to Attend

Need some golden event ideas that shine bright? Here are my suggestions of where to dig your shovel for the remainder of 2015 and for all of 2016:

October 2015

November 2015

December 2015

January 2016

February 2016

  • B2B Content2Convergence – February 15th – 17th  – Scottsdale, AZ | Pairing killer content with a demand generation program that delivers results.
  • Marketing Sherpa Email Summit – February 22nd – 24th – Las Vegas, NV
  • SAASTR – February 22nd – 25th – San Francisco, CA

March 2016

April 2016

May 2016

 June 2016

July 2016

  • Marketo Marketing Nation Roadshow (cities/dates coming in early 2016)

August 2016

  • Marketo Marketing Nation Roadshow (cities/dates coming in early 2016)

September 2016

  • Content Marketing World – September 8th – 11th – Cleveland, OH | Build an innovative and exciting content marketing program for your company. Learn how to differentiate your company from your competitors through your content.
  • Dreamforce – September 15th – 18th – San Francisco, CA
  • AdWeek – TBD – New York, NY
  • SM2 Innovation Summit – TBD – New York, NY

October 2016

November 2016

Are there any golden opportunities missing from this list? Let me know in the comments below!


2016 Marketing Events That Will Shine as Bright as Gold was posted at Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership. | http://blog.marketo.com

The post 2016 Marketing Events That Will Shine as Bright as Gold appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.


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