How much thought do you put into choosing presents for your friends and family?  I have to say that shopping isn’t one of my favourite activities so I buy gifts as I see them, even if that means people take the mickey because I started my Christmas shopping in January!  For me, it helps take off the pressure plus I know – I hope – I’ve spotted something that the recipient is going to appreciate.  (And, before you ask, yes, I write a list of what I’ve bought so I don’t then forget I’ve bought it!)


The easiest person to buy for

The easiest person ever to buy presents for was my Grandad George. He was such a lovely man, always very calm and seemed so content with his lot in life.  Every Christmas, all he wanted was a tin of salmon (his little luxury), a packet of biscuits and a new bottle of washing-up liquid.  Sometimes we’d splash out and buy him some new washing-up gloves or some butter mints as well, but he was always quite happy with whatever he got.  As a child, I just accepted that was what he wanted, and it was so like him not to ask for much.  As an adult (25 years too late to ask him), I wonder how he achieved such zen-like acceptance!

However, choosing the right gift can be an art and we don’t get it right all the time. I’m sure we all have people who are really difficult to buy for (Mum “Oh, I don’t need anything!”  Like I’m really not going to buy her a present?!). 


What would you buy your clients?

Imagine if you could buy all of your clients a Christmas present (marketing budget no object, of course!), what would you buy them?  Would you put the same effort into choosing something personal that you hope they like or would they all get the same chocolates or hamper?  While corporate gifting really isn’t as big as it once was (perhaps rightly so), your marketing messages should have the same amount of thought and planning as a gift would.

Not every customer (or potential customer) needs the same things at the same times, and what they value about your services will vary too.  I’ll use a slightly silly example I frequently use when training Apprentices (in the hope that the silliness of the example will make it memorable!).  Warm feet.  Lots of people like warm feet.  Winter sports enthusiasts no doubt like warm feet.  Ladies of a certain age (in which I now count myself!) like warm feet.  But what I want from a warm pair of socks is probably quite different to what hip, young snowboarders want from warm socks – and they probably want flame patterns on theirs!  So although the product (cosy socks) and outcome (warm feet) are the same, the messages you use to sell these different audiences your product will need to vary to appeal to them. 

(If this was a lesson in marketing, I’d now feel obliged to say something like: you need to create a profile for each of your customer segments, at the various stages on their customer journey, so you can target them appropriately; but take the warm socks thing as the jargon free explanation!).


The gift of marketing

Understanding what your customers want – in fact, anticipating what your customers want – is the purpose of marketing.  I have to say, generally, it’s something smaller businesses often do much better than larger ones because they have that personal, more direct relationship with their clients.  It can be the superpower of SMEs!

If you set yourself business New Year’s resolutions, consider setting yourself this one: make time early next year to reflect on the messages you are sending out about your business and ensure they are the perfect ‘gift’ that each of your clients will really want.

Photo: Yes, that’s me (I think I was about 3!) with my lovely Grandad George.

 For other reflections on marketing and Christmas, try these previous seasonal blogs from me:

Marketing tips from Father Christmas

Marketing – not to be trifled with

What did 2020 teach us

No need to buy me a present this year