The week before Christmas – a marketing tip

Caribbean guidesMany years ago – before mass marketing by e-mail and when the fax machine was in its (brief) heyday – the Royal Mail advised me to do some business-to-business promotion in the week before Christmas. Their argument was that most businesses don’t use this time for marketing so I’d have a better chance of being heard. It worked better than any of my arms-length marketing before or since during a 35 year career!

I was selling books at the time – including a series of ‘alternative’ guides to the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. I wanted to get 50 travel companies (that I knew sent travellers to the countries covered by our books) to send our publicity to their customers.

I hadn’t any money to offer them, so it was a challenge. I decided to make those 50 companies an offer they couldn’t refuse – I sent each of them a fax with three questions:

–          Do you send travellers to Latin America and the Caribbean [Yes]

–          Would you like to reach 5,000 people with a declared interest in Latin America and the Caribbean with your publicity? [Of course]

–          Would you like to send your publicity to them for free? [No brainer]

Within 48 hours (ie still in the week before Christmas) I’d had a response from 24 of the companies – yes, a 50% response rate! Most said ‘I’m intrigued tell me more’ and ‘get back in touch in the new year’ – 24 hot leads and beyond my wildest expectations.

The offer was genuine on our part. We had a mailing list of 10,000 people worldwide interested in books about Latin America and the Caribbean, of whom 5,000 were regular buyers in the UK. I offered those 24 travel companies the opportunity to insert their publicity leaflet in one of our mailings – but quid pro quo. If they would include 5,000 of our leaflets in one of their mail outs, we’d include 5,000 of theirs in ours, if 2,000 then we’d mail out 2,000 etc.

In the end we exchanged inserts with 11 of the 24 companies, still a brilliant response and pitching our £10 paperbacks to travellers alongside the £1000+ holidays they looked particularly good value.

So what marketing will you be doing in the week before Christmas?

Add a comment below to share your ideas – you’ve still got time to plan something!

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