5 Things You Can Learn About Marketing From Holiday Movies

‘Tis the season for gathering with family and friends, eating popcorn out of a metal bucket and binging on Christmas movie classics. We learn a lot from our Yuletide favorites. For example, “every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loud for all to hear.” “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

But did you know our favorite Christmas films can also teach us a thing or two about marketing?

Don’t believe me? Well, ‘tis not the season to be skeptical. Just see my top five marketing tips inspired by some of my favorite Christmas movies below.

 1. A Christmas Story – Never Mislead Your Leads

For a marketer, A Christmas Story is a case study on great marketing (the Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle) and bad marketing (“Remember to drink your Ovaltine”). Ralphie waited for weeks for his Little Orphan Annie special decoder ring to come in the mail, all so he could discover the secret message hidden inside. What did he find instead, nothing but a crummy ad.

This is a classic example of how not to treat your leads. If they’re expecting a secret message from Little Orphan Annie, don’t give them a tagline. If they’re expecting to read a blog, don’t push ads in their face. If they’re clicking a link to a free monthly newsletter, don’t send them to your prices page. You don’t want to leave a bad taste in their mouths.

 2. Elf – The Importance Of Living Your Brand

Is there anyone more enthusiastic about his brand than Buddy the Elf? Buddy is a walking, talking, caroling evangelist for Christmas. He lives to promote Christmas. You’ve got to admit, the North Pole knows how to live its brand. It’s well established, well communicated and the employees maintain a fantastic brand culture.

Your brand may not be Christmas, but your brand is important to a certain audience. A strong brand is a cornerstone for great marketing. A strong brand excites not only leads and customers, but also your own employees.

3. A Christmas Carol – How To Nurture The Lead

Amid all of the ghosts, bah humbugs and time traveling, this is a tale of three ghosts trying to convince a man to change his ways. They arrive in a strategized order, just when Scrooge needed them to come, successfully pitching to him the idea of Christmas joy. Not too different from nurturing a lead into a customer, is it? Well, without time traveling and ghosts.

When it comes to nurturing leads into customers, it’s best to provide relevant and useful content at the right time. You don’t pass leads to your sales team who have only had one interaction with your site. Set a consistent process for nurturing leads, whether through lead scoring or the creation of a marketing funnel to track them through.

4. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Find Your Differentiator

We’ve all seen the stop motion epic and know the catchy song by heart: the tale of a teased reindeer who saves Christmas thanks to his glowing appendage. Rudolph could have relegated himself to the Island of Misfit Toys, but instead, he set himself apart from the other reindeer, proving his value and capabilities and landing the lead role in the sleigh line-up.

See where I am heading with this? Rudolph took a quirk and turned it into a differentiator. Look at your own business. What do you have that your competitors can’t claim? What sets you apart from the rest? Find that quirk and use it to market yourself.

5. The Year Without A Santa Claus – Always Have A Back-Up Plan

When I was a kid, no movie stressed me out like “The Year Without A Santa Claus.” If Santa gets sick, what happens to Christmas? What happens to the presents? Who eats the cookies? If you ask me, the North Pole’s PR team needs a contingency plan.

If you ask me, the North Pole’s PR team needs a contingency plan.

If you’re planning a campaign, whether it’s a global holiday or starting up a new ad campaign, always be prepared for the worst. If your ad ends up offending someone, or your keynote speaker is a no-show, or if the website breaks in the middle of Cyber Monday, have a back-up plan to help you sail through the crisis smoothly.

So whether you’re traveling cross-country, staying at home, or taking notes on marketing tactics during the 24-hour Christmas Story marathon, we at Thoma Thoma hope you have an excellent and relaxing holiday season. Oh, and don’t forget to stick to the four major food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.

Author John Mark Adkison

John Mark Adkison performs his job like a seasoned professional, despite the fact that he’s just a few years into his marketing career. After a successful internship at Thoma, John Mark impressed enough to be recruited as a paid staffer upon graduation, where now his duties are numerous, including running the firm’s growing inbound marketing program.

More posts by John Mark Adkison

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