What the "Elf on the Shelf" Can Teach Us About Marketing

Published on
December 6, 2018
What Elf on a Shelf can teach us about marketing

One lucky boy getting a WIFM treat from his scout elf

It’s that time of year again. The time when frisky little scout elves descend upon homes and businesses with great enthusiasm, all in the name of keeping Santa informed on who’s naughty and who’s nice. Besides the fact that the “Elf on a Shelf” is a gazillion dollar franchise, much can be said for how smart and creative these little elves can be. Which begs the question: What can scout elves teach us about marketing? We pondered that question and came up with a few ideas. Read on.

Timing is everything

If an elf showed up in the springtime, it wouldn’t resonate with kids…and the same can be said about your company’s marketing. Consider what is going on with current events, seasonality and the overall needs of your customers when deciding what and when to market. Think about what your target customers want, what their buying habits are and how long it takes them to make a decision about your product or service. Based off of this knowledge, create marketing strategies that are timely and will resonate with your target demographic.

Embrace the WIFM

The infamous “What’s In It For Me” piece. The freebie. The added something that makes a customer feel important. Many businesses make the mistake of forgetting about how powerful a little something extra can be. If you’re trying to stand apart from your competition, come up with a WIFM piece that you can give your customers. Similar to the scout elves bringing little gifts to kids throughout the month of December, consider doing the same for your customer base. A free promotional item, small discount, gift card or a nice note will go a lot further than you might think.

Scottsdale Marketing AgencyStay consistent

Like clockwork, scout elves tend to show up around Dec. 1. They usually bring notes from Santa and get into loads of mischief each night once they’ve returned from the North Pole after reporting on a child’s behavior. Kids love this consistency. From racing down the stairs to see what their elf has done to keeping a mindful eye on their behavior, kids come to look forward to it year after year. This is why the “Elf on the Shelf” franchise is so successful. Consistency should also be applied to ALL of your marketing tactics if you want to see a sound ROI. From measurement to frequency, staying consistent with your marketing practices will create greater brand awareness, ultimately resulting in additional sales.

Don’t be boring

Scout elves LOVE to be mischievous and creative. They are always coming up with new shenanigans that kids enjoy discovering when they wake up. They are fun, crazy and unpredictable…which ultimately makes them exciting. We’re not recommending that you be inappropriate with your marketing, but if you run a business that isn’t cutting edge or doesn’t naturally stick out, it’s your job to be different and get attention. Case and point – car dealerships! This Eastern Motors ad has gotten over 160,000 views on YouTube, just by having professional athletes lip sync their jingle. It’s creative, fun and unexpected, which equals marketing gold.

Resist the urge to rest

Traveling back and forth to the North Pole each night to report to Santa can be exhausting. The same goes for marketing your business. The key is to keep going even when you have the urge to rest or put things on pause because you’re not seeing immediate results. It’s okay to regroup and pivot. In fact, the most successful marketing programs regroup and pivot repeatedly in response to a variety of factors. But, in order to see marketing success, you must continually feed the machine. Planning, testing, measuring and looking for new opportunities is extremely important, even when you get the urge to stop.

Are your marketing practices putting you in danger of being on the “naughty” list? If so, feel free to reach out for a free 15 minute consultation – info@rmimpr.com or give us a jingle at 480-305-2017.

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