Rick Short: Santa, you’re a Marketing legend. You clearly dominate your space. In many ways you are considered THE thought leader when it comes to kindness, goodness, love, charity, and thoughtfulness. What’s your goal?
Santa Claus: Thank you. Yes, I am always amused by my reputation, and with the way people hold me in high regard. It wasn’t always this way, and, honestly, I didn’t set out to achieve this notoriety.
My goal, originally as well as today, remains: Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men.
I hope to instill a feeling of calm, of serenity, and a deep sense of satisfaction in people. I’d like everyone to focus on what is truly important; love, respect, family, dignity, charity, camaraderie, and appreciation. Then I’d like everyone to put that to good use by first enriching their own lives, then the lives of others. Living a full and rich life is NOT about racing around collecting as many material possessions as possible – and outperforming your friends. A truly meaningful existence includes slowing down, understanding and serving yourself, then considering what you can do for others, and working, daily, to strengthen the fabric of your community and your world. Finally, it involves reflecting on all the good you have accomplished, and on how you can do even more.
Rick: I see.
Santa: Yes. It was never about me – it was always about my target audience. I started out with a singularity of purpose, focusing exclusively on my “customers’” needs, and their experiences. I figured that, if I could earn their trust, they would bring my message a little closer. I hoped that, eventually, they would first appreciate, then seek, me - versus me pushing my agenda into their world when it wasn’t necessarily appreciated. I think you call that "inbound marketing" these days.
In the beginning my singular premise was to drive true growth of my message using Fred Reichheld’s concept of The Ultimate Question. I merely strived to be worthy of being recommended to a friend.
Santa: We all know that the word, the message, of an outsider is nowhere near as persuasive, as powerful, as that of a trusted friend, advisor, or partner. In the beginning I knew that my message had to be adopted by mavens, leaders, and influentials – thought leaders. Their trust had to be earned, then they had to become my “salespeople”, if you will, if my message was to ever grow legs. Ultimately, I aimed to become a trusted insider via being recommended, endorsed, by each person’s inner circle. Third party endorsements, especially by respected colleagues, were critical to building my brand.
Rick: Once you were established as a bona fide “go to person”, how did you assure your position as a meaningful resource?
Santa: One word: CONTENT! I could sizzle all day long, but, if I didn’t have the steak to back it up, people would drop me like a hot potato. In my business, CONTENT equals deeds. I set out to build a credible body of irrefutable evidence to unequivocally prove my bona fides. After a few centuries of non-stop toy building, kid monitoring, reindeer training, midnight deliveries, and a smattering of guest appearances, people began to truly trust that I was the real deal.
Rick: But no one could possibly accomplish all that alone.
Santa: You are so right! This brings me to another key to my success. I have always surrounded myself with excellent people. From my network, to my trusted advisors, to my teammates, right down to Mrs. Claus, I am surrounded by passionate, successful, driven individuals.
Rick: It’s a very convincing package, but exactly HOW did the word spread? Did you simply leave it to your target audience and all the mavens to independently and autonomously spread the word for you?
Santa: Well, at first it was hard to get people to notice. Initially, I rambled on and on about all the cool things I had going on. But, people had their hands full and didn’t spend the time it would have taken to digest my message. That’s when I stumbled upon my elevator speech. Once I put my story into a succinct, compelling nugget, I got people’s attention.
Rick: Where did you take things from there?
Santa: Once I had people’s sincere interest I counted on the fact that people like to help other people - and that people love to listen to and tell a story. I took it upon myself to seed the clouds, so to speak. You see, rather than let the facts, and my rich content, simply sit out in the open and hoping people would put it all together, I put things together and started the ball rolling. I told a few good stories to the people who cared. You know … the one about “‘Twas the night before Christmas”, and that crazy “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” story. Other times I simply suggested various interpretations of the facts – I especially like the story about that old Grinch. These stories took root, then spread like wildfire. Why? Because they combined people’s inherent social desires with a topic that they had come to care about.
Rick: Fascinating. Any final words before you head back to the shop?
Santa: While all of my tactics occurred long, long ago, they are as applicable today as they ever were. When I first used these principles people were purely a face-to-face group. That was true word of mouth. Today, social media speeds things up and extends our reach – but these principles still work. Don’t be afraid to depend on them to get your word out, to enhance your reputation, and to reach your goals. I may be old school, but my tactics still work today!
... and my imagination ran wild!