Sprinkle Some Elfin Magic into Your 2015 Marketing Strategy

Make your marketing messages resonate with valuable content.

December 15, 2014

Sprinkle Some Elfin Magic into Your 2015 Marketing Strategy

To publicize Louisville as a “premier Christmas destination,” The Galt House Hotel recently hosted an event in hopes of breaking a Guinness World Record for the largest assembly of people dressed as Santa’s elves.

Participants were required to dress in red and green, and wear pointy ears and hats.

The Galt House marketing team organized the event in a mere three weeks, awarding attendees a free ticket to another holiday event, and provided hats and ears for those lacking such finery.

Unfortunately, the turnout was short, according to The Courier-Journal.  Only 693 elves appeared, falling short of the record of 1,762.

Nonetheless, the hotel’s general manager congratulated the great marketing team who pulled it all together, including one employee who sewed pointy ears to almost 2,000 hats.

Said another spokesperson, “We may not have broken the world record, but we definitely spread some Christmas cheer.”

How does your marketing team pull together? What are effective strategies? Research findings reveal some tactics that work like “elfin magic.”

‘Elves are cool, man.’—Orlando Bloom, English actor

First, take stock of your image. “Is It Time For You to Rebrand?” The Financial Brand suggests asking:

  • What does the community understand about you? “It’s time to rebrand when a financial institution finds itself spending more time explaining what it does rather than showing it.”
  • Has there been a shift in priorities? Make sure your brand aligns with actions.
  • Do you receive feedback? “If you’re receiving neither fan mail nor hate mail, it might be time for a rebrand.”
  • Do you fail the “3C Test?” These strong brand indicators are clarity, consistency, and constancy.

‘Elves are wondrous fair to look upon.’—J.R.R. Tolkien, English author

Don’t be left wondering where to spend your marketing dollars. Note “2015 Marketing Trends to Watch” as reported at for strategies to consider in 2015.

Among them:

  • Get back to basics.  Digital fragments channels, and this will continue with growth in mobile marketing. Determine if your message is “relevant to your audiences’ behavior and interests.”
  • Retention and loyalty.  Create experiences to not only keep members around, but to “build word-of-mouth for your business.” Know how to “wow.”
  • Paid social media.  Paid social media can be a good investment in a crowded marketplace.
  • Move from “one to many” to “one to one.”  Foster relationships one at a time; don’t resort to targeting everyone. Create relevant content.

Email Marketing Budgets Continue to Rise as Marketers Strive to Improve Automation, Relevancy and Data Access,” according to StrongView’s 2015 Marketing Trends Survey.

Email keeps the top spot for increased marketing investment for 2015 at 61%. “In terms of overall marketing budgets, 54% of brands will see an increase (vs. 46% in 2014), and a third of those will be increasing it by more than 10% over 2014.”

The other two marketing areas for increased spending include social media (49%) and mobile marketing (40%).

The top three areas with decreased spending are print advertising (33%), direct mail (22%), and radio/television advertising (18%).

Marketers have concerns related to strategy, including: “accessing and leveraging customer data from multiple channels and data sources” (30%), “coordination across marketing channels” (16%), and “developing more relevant engagements” (13%).

And, marketers struggle as they “leverage other important data;” citing web behavior (31%), sentiment (20%), and life stage (19%).

‘All writers have this vague hope that the elves will come in the night and finish any stories.’—Neil Gaiman, English author

Further self-evaluation will occur when you review the “29 Must-Read Content Marketing Articles of 2014.” Take a look back to “prepare your content marketing strategy for the coming year” and “keep… expert tips, advice, and guides in mind” when you tell your story.

Some topics worth exploring are the use of storytelling as business tool, “11 Essential Ingredients Every Blog Post Needs,” and “Three Techniques That Will Double Your Social Media Content With Half The Effort.” 

Another article, “How to Use Data to Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy,” reveals that “60% of B2C [business to consumer] marketers are planning to increase their content marketing spend,” and data analysis will allow for beneficial changes in 2015.

Some advice: schedule web content with an editorial calendar and know what your competition is providing. “Tracking the content you publish on platforms other than your own website can require considerable effort,” but it’s worthwhile.

Plus, social media metrics will “help you understand how your content is being received.”

Another interesting analysis is found in B2C Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.

With regard to marketing outreach, the use of blogs declined from 72% last year to 67% this year. B2C marketers currently use seven social media platforms on average, up from six last year.

Also, “71% of B2C marketers use print or other offline promotion, making it the paid method they use most frequently to promote/distribute content, yet only 46% of them say it’s effective; the method they find most effective is search engine marketing (57%).”

Documenting content management marketing strategy can be beneficial, as 43% who do so indicate “they are successful at tracking ROI [return on investment].”

Most B2C marketers say they want to learn more about measuring ROI. But they do have other curiosities to investigate, including creation of effective content, personalization, lead generation, visual storytelling, and optimizing content.

Says one study participant, “I want to develop a better understanding of what inspires.”

Make your marketing messages resonate with valuable content.

Personalize the message, target it, and make consumers think about it.

Keep in mind the words of English author Terry Pratchett: “We [people] only remembered the elves sang. But we forgot what they sang about.”

LORA BRAY is an information research analyst for CUNA’s economics and statistics department. Follow her on Twitter via @Bray_Lora and visit the CUNA blog,The Research Roundup: Economic Perspectives.”