Marketing Bootcamp

What Content Marketers Can Learn from Santa Claus

What Content Marketers Can Learn from Santa Claus
Image credit: Bart Fields | Flickr
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There are more than 2 billion children on this planet. For North Pole dwellers both tall and short, this means one thing: filling every stocking is a tall task to accomplish in one night. According to some basic math, Santa Claus himself would have to visit more than 132 million homes on Christmas Eve, crossing 24 time zones and 135 million land miles to deliver toys to every child. Beyond figuring out how to make room for milk and cookies at every house, there’s one major hurdle big enough to puzzle St. Nick: How does he know exactly what every child wants?

As content marketers, we can relate. With more than 27 million pieces of content being shared on a daily basis and an estimated $18 billion spent on content marketing last year, our industry too is tasked with reaching and pleasing audiences across the world with varying tastes. Between understanding consumer demand, scaling globally and pleasing audiences, there are some serious areas of overlap between content marketers and Santa himself. In fact, we might stand to learn a thing or two from the man’s holiday approach all year round.

With Christmas just around the corner, take these lessons from Santa’s workshop to heart in the New Year.  

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The world is your market

Crossing borders and expanding to new territories is no big deal for Father Christmas, as long as he understands what toys are right for different children. Santa knows the importance of understanding every audience’s demands -- and he does so in spades.

Whether or not your brand has offices around the globe, you can’t afford to neglect consumers outside your main hub of operation. After all, 95 percent of the world’s consumers are outside of the U.S. While it might seem daunting, scaling your content-marketing program internationally starts with understanding consumer demand: what they want and need in each market. The best way to this is by testing, frequently and carefully. Push out different forms of media to your audiences both locally and around the world, and make sure you’re measuring success and gathering a pool of data to evaluate. From there, you can focus on the nuances, and diversify your strategy for varying markets. But don’t drain resources trying every tactic in the book. Focus on what works well for each market and stick to it. As market demand fluctuates at differing rates, keeping tabs on what consumers want -- and how it changes -- is crucial for your bottom line.

The modern Christmas list has arrived

While many children still send wish lists to Santa, the days of handwritten correspondence are long gone. My kids now email their Christmas lists to the North Pole, and I wouldn’t put it past them to send a tweet or two from their mobile phones with some gift suggestions. We live in an omni-channel world, where knowledge is shared across devices, social channels and personal networks — and that affects how content marketers, including Santa, understand demand.

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For your brand, today’s multi-channel reality means one thing: more opportunities to engage. Ninety percent of multiple device owners switch screens to complete tasks, so if your marketing strategy doesn’t cover all bases, you’re undoubtedly missing out. From an international standpoint, monitoring channels becomes even more important. Many countries, like China, boast more mobile users than PC users, so your content-marketing strategy should naturally shift to favor mobile. Twitter offers precious glimpses into how conversations vary by community and country: Millennial interests might contrast older generations, and consumers in different regions of the world may discuss region-specific events or pop culture topics. Look at how Taco Bell chimes into local discussions on Twitter or how Starbucks’ mobile app engages customers via SMS. Big or small, your brand’s content marketing approach must leverage all opportunities to connect with consumers, no matter the channel.

Christmas wasn’t built in a day

Everyone knows that Christmas Eve is Santa’s night to shine. But what we often forget is how much planning and strategy go into making that night a major success. Santa takes an entire year to perfect his strategy, and, as marketers, we could use the reminder: a good campaign takes serious planning. A solid content-marketing strategy takes time to develop, especially if you’re taking time to evaluate performance along the way (which you should be).

Even more, as campaigns build and strategies come to fruition, things can change -- it’s only natural. After all, no kid knows what they want for Christmas in January, right? Being willing to reinvent yourself, make adjustments and try new ideas is the key to longevity in content marketing. Consumer demand can -- and will -- change with seasons, big events and holidays, so being nimble enough to absorb new directions will prove a boon for your brand’s ability to connect with consumers.

No matter your company’s size or reach, you’ve got just as many consumers to delight as Santa -- and if he can do it, so can we. With the holidays in full swing, understanding consumer demand for all audiences is more important than ever. If we can learn to engage our consumers like Santa has perfected, we’ll be well on our way to major content marketing success.

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