This time of year is full of wonder.

But it’s also been an incredibly tough year for business owners and their marketers. Between inflation, supply chain issues, labor shortages, and recession fears, growing a business over the past few years has been challenging.

Although navigating choppy economic waters is no easy task… there are concrete marketing strategies business owners can use to grow their businesses despite obstacles.

This is where the big guy in red comes in. 

Santa Claus is more than just a festive figure. He is a symbol of joy, generosity, and the magic of the holiday season. 

So, how does Santa manage to capture the hearts of people worldwide? 

The answer lies in some powerful marketing tactics. We’ll refer to these tactics as Santa’s Marketing Magic because this timeless strategy has made Santa the ultimate brand ambassador for goodwill and consumerism.

Last year, the US spent a staggering $936.3 billion on Christmas, a $47 million increase from 2021 and underscoring Santa’s significant influence on spending. 

So, let’s unwrap the secrets behind Santa’s marketing success and discover how his proven strategies can inspire your brand to sleigh the competition in today’s complex economy.

A Little History Lesson For You About The Big Guy

To understand Santa’s marketing prowess, let’s take a sleigh ride back in time – waaay back – for a little history lesson about the big guy himself. 

Santa Claus traces his origins to the early 4th century. Then he was known as St. Nicholas, a monk living in part of the Roman Empire (now modern-day Turkey). St. Nicholas was a trust fund baby, and when his parents died, he inherited a small fortune. But he didn’t have any personal use for it, so he began to donate it to people who needed it more than he did.

The story of St. Nicholas’ generosity quickly circulated, and like any good story, it grew with each telling. 

One story in particular lives in infamy.

A down-on-his-luck farmer was struggling to raise dowries for his three daughters. If he didn’t come up with the money fast, he was going to have to sell the girls into slavery. When St. Nicholas caught wind of the situation, he knew he had to help. 

Under cover of the night, he went to the family’s house and chucked a bag of gold through an open window. He did this three nights in a row giving each daughter a sizable dowry.

And so the legend began.

The Commercialization of Santa

By the end of the 19th century, now known as Santa Claus, St. Nicholas (his legend anyway) had made it to America. Once a saintly monk, Santa was now a rotund, rosy-cheeked, jolly man who traveled through the sky in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. This was thanks to a combination of Clement Clarke Moore’s A Night Before Christmas and Civil War-era political cartoonist Thomas Nast.

From there, it didn’t take long for him to become commercialized by department stores looking to attract both kids and parents. Specifically, a dry goods store owner went by the name Colonel Jim. Whether Colonel was an official title is unclear. Nonetheless, Colonel Jim changed the game forever when he dressed up as Santa in hopes of attracting people to his store. Now, there’s no doubt of seeing Santa in every mall across the country during the holiday season, and that’s all thanks to maybe war veteran Colonel Jim.

Of course, we can’t talk about the commercialization of Santa without mentioning Coca-Cola. They have some of the most iconic Santa imagery ever to be created. It’s a common misconception that Coca-Cola created the Santa we know today, which is just another example of marketing genius that deserves its own post.

Over the centuries, the iconic persona of Santa Claus has been used to promote everything from movies to candy brands to the US Military.

Not to be Scrooge, But People Aren’t in a Spending Mood

Without sugar plum coating it, times are tough. 

According to a 2023 report on consumerism, Americans are feeling the pinch. So much so that 63% of respondents say they’re tightening their budgets because of inflation and other recession indicators. 

Here’s a snapshot of how people are feeling about the current state of things: 

  • 64% of consumers think the US is currently in a recession
  • Half of all US adults have taken steps to plan or prepare for a recession
  • 42% believe it will last for over a year

However, this isn’t Santa’s first rodeo with a recession. Let’s explore how Santa’s clever and resourceful marketing strategies have helped him weather economic storms.

How to Protect Your Company from the Grinch of Recession

When facing the Grinch that is a recession, remember you don’t have to go it alone. One of the most effective strategies for business owners as they navigate difficult times is to get expert support. 

Here are a few reasons why relying on professionals can be a game-changer: 

  • Expertise: Professionals bring industry knowledge and experience
  • Efficiency: Save time and resources, allowing you to focus on core business activities
  • Adaptability: Swiftly respond to changing market conditions with expert guidance
  • Resource Allocation: Allocate resources strategically and maintain cost efficiency
  • Scalability: Adjust marketing efforts as needed, providing flexibility

Outsourcing your marketing efforts to highly skilled professionals ensures that your business remains agile, competitive, and visible.

Why Santa’s Marketing Works Like Magic

Santa’s remarkable success, even during recessions and economic downturns, comes down to consistency and his customer-centric approach.

Consistency is key. Santa has maintained a steadfast brand and message throughout generations, building trust and reliability. 

A customer-centric approach also sets Santa apart. He intimately knows his customers’ wishes, tailoring gifts and fostering loyalty and nostalgia.

Let’s take a sleigh ride into how you can work your own Christmas miracles and build a brand that endures, reaches your target audience effectively, and engages them on a deeper level.

How to Work Christmas Miracles: Implementing Santa’s Marketing Magic

He Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself

He knows when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He even knows if you’ve been bad or good. That’s one of the greatest appeals of Santa. He makes it his mission to make your dreams come true. And he does it by intimately knowing you, aka his target audience.

You too, can use this in your marketing strategy.

Of course, you can’t know your target audience as well as Santa knows his. But with the right research, you can get pretty dang close.

  • First: Analyze existing customer data, like demographics, purchase history, and interactions with your brand.
  • Then: Look for patterns and similarities in the data to identify key demographic information like age, gender, location, and job role. Also, look for common interests, hobbies, values, and lifestyle choices.
  • Finally: With your newly gathered insights, you can create detailed profiles for each persona, giving them names, specific details, and visual representations.

Remember, it’s important to regularly review and update your personas to reflect changes in your target audience, market trends, or shifts in your business strategy.

Building a Timeless Brand

Santa Claus has not only become synonymous with Christmas but has also crafted a brand that stands the test of time. His image evokes feelings of warmth, generosity, and the spirit of giving. This branding success is rooted in the consistent messaging and imagery associated with him. From the red suit to the white beard, each element reinforces the brand, creating a powerful and recognizable icon.

You can also create consistent brand-building, just like the big guy.

  • First: Create and regularly update detailed brand guidelines that include messaging, visual elements, tone of voice, and other brand attributes. It’s important to make sure to regularly communicate these guidelines to your team.
  • Then: Collaborate openly between marketing, design, sales, and other relevant departments. 
  • Finally: Create a centralized brand asset library with approved logos, images, fonts, and other brand assets. And create a content calendar to keep everyone across departments on the same page.

By following these steps, you can create and maintain a brand that endures the test of time, just like Santa’s.

Spreading Joy Across Channels

Santa is not limited to the North Pole; he’s omnipresent in our lives, thanks to a clever multichannel marketing strategy. From movies and TV shows to parades, shopping malls, and even letters. Santa has strategically positioned himself in various channels to ensure maximum exposure. This omnipresence ensures that the magic of Santa is not confined to a specific medium but permeates every aspect of our lives during the holiday season.

Like Santa, you can do this too.

  • First: Identify your target audience and build personas.
  • Then: Decide which channels you want to be on. Blog? Email? Social media? Which ones?
  • Finally: Develop a consistent brand message that can be adapted for each channel.

It’s important to regularly analyze the performance of each channel and adjust your strategy accordingly. 

Harnessing the Power of Storytelling

What sets Santa apart is not just his image but the enchanting stories that accompany him. The tales of his magical workshop, flying reindeer, and global gift-giving spree add layers to the Santa brand. The reason this works so well is that people are more likely to remember something when stories and emotions are involved. And brands need to be remembered.

Marketers can take a page from Santa’s book of mastery storytelling

  • First: Define a compelling brand narrative that incorporates your mission, values, and unique selling proposition. 
  • Then: Create compelling characters, whether they are customer personas, employees, or even the brand itself. This will help you humanize your brand.
  • Finally: Develop a story arc with a clear beginning, middle, and end.

With the current adoption rate of AI technologies, the warmth and the humanity behind marketing are becoming even more important. And people are craving it. 

Research shows that 64% of people want brands to connect with them. 76% of people go so far as to say they’ll choose the brand they connect with over a competitor. This connection can be achieved with powerful storytelling.

Engaging with the Naughty and Nice List

Santa’s infamous “Naughty and Nice List” is a stroke of marketing genius. It engages the audience in a playful and interactive way, creating anticipation and excitement. 

The concept of leaving milk and cookies out for Santa is another clever marketing tactic. It’s just one more way to encourage interactive participation and engage the audience.

Brands can take inspiration from this concept too. 

 By incorporating gamification and interactive elements into their marketing campaigns, you encourage audience participation and create memorable experiences.

  • First: Select a game mechanic that aligns with your campaign objectives and resonates with your audience. Some ideas include challenges, quizzes, competitions, or reward-based systems.
  • Then: Provide incentives or rewards for participation. This could be discounts, exclusive access to content, or entry into a sweepstakes.
  • Finally: Track and analyze user data like user interactions, behaviors, and preferences. This data will give you insights into the effectiveness of your gamification strategy and help refine future campaigns.

By infusing gamification into your marketing, you can create engaging, memorable experiences for your audience.

Master Santa’s Marketing Magic With Behind The Work

The principles behind Santa’s Marketing Magic continue to captivate hearts and wallets worldwide.

But don’t fret if implementing these strategies seems like more than you can handle. Just as Santa relies on his team of elves, the Behind The Work team is ready to be your marketing partner and help your business thrive.

We’ll provide a tailored marketing strategy to suit your unique needs and goals. Whether you need to build or refine your brand, expand your presence across various channels, or create compelling storytelling, we’ve got you covered.
So, this holiday season, if you want to grow your business and spread joy to your customers, Reach out to Behind The Work. Let’s jingle all the way to success.

When building a B2B lead generation campaign, content marketing might not be the first strategy marketers consider. Often, marketers rely on Google Ads, cold calling, and LinkedIn outreach to find and generate quality leads. While those marketing strategies are highly effective, they rely on a solid foundation of content.

Explore how to use content marketing for lead generation by building awareness and priming qualified leads.

What Is Content Marketing for Lead Generation?

A B2B lead generation strategy is identifying and connecting with potential buyers. For example, a marketer generates leads through lead magnets when they can save that buyer’s information for nurturing and eventually converting.

Some B2B lead generation examples include:

  • Newsletter signups
  • Webinars
  • Contact forms
  • Free trials or demos

In each situation, the buyers move from an anonymous audience to an interested lead. By engaging with marketing campaigns, the lead exchanged their contact information for something of value.

Content marketing lead generation strategies use content to convince readers. The readers then download or sign up for the lead magnet. According to a recent report, 70% of B2B marketers generate leads from content.

70% of B2B marketers generate leads from content.

How Content Marketing Complements Lead Generation

Content marketing is more crucial than improving a website’s ranking in search engines. It also raises awareness, builds trust, and moves potential buyers through the sales funnel. Without content marketing, lead generation strategies won’t be as effective.

Content marketing is more effective than ads, according to 80% of decision-makers. That’s because ads focus on a sale while content marketing builds relationships with the audience. Relationship building leads readers to fill out contact forms or download lead magnets, allowing marketers to add that lead to their database. Relationship building also improves the effectiveness of lead generation advertising campaigns.

Why Marketers Need a Lead Generation Content Strategy

Why should a marketer invest in lead generation content instead of sharing the lead magnet through ads and other strategies?

The B2B buyer’s journey is becoming longer and more complex. Marketers are having a more difficult time convincing decision-makers with a single ad or sales pitch. Instead, decision-makers want more research and data before making a sales decision.

Therefore, marketers won’t generate as many leads from lead magnets alone. Instead, they must connect and convince the B2B buyer through quality content. Content marketing lays the foundation of trust before the lead magnet, or lead generation strategy, and converts the buyer.

The Best Types of Lead Generation Content

While any content can generate leads, a few content formats perform better than others. The key to effective lead generation content is quality and research. B2B buyers are most interested in facts that prove why a business’s products or services are the best or specific ways a product will benefit their company.

Creating authority content builds trust and convinces B2B buyers to respond to the lead magnet.

The best B2B lead generation content includes:

  • Case studies
  • White papers
  • Webinars
  • Blog articles
  • Videos
  • Infographics

How to Use Content Marketing for Lead Generation

Use these 12 tips to build a highly effective lead-generation content marketing strategy to build trust and generate quality leads.

1. Establish Lead Generation Goals

A marketing team’s lead generation goals define the campaign’s direction and establish success benchmarks.

Marketers should define the number of leads they want to generate, the purpose of lead generation, the timeframe to generate the leads, and metrics to measure the campaign’s success.

Here are several lead generation goals B2B marketers might use:

  • Generate revenue: Generating quality, conversion-ready leads. Measure the success by revenue generated.
  • Increase brand awareness: Raising awareness about a brand. Measure the success of awareness campaigns through leads generated and increased website traffic.
  • Build databases: Gather essential data to help in marketing strategies. Measure the success through changes in traffic, conversions, and customer experience.

Half of B2B content is for increasing brand awareness. The other half of the content is for nurturing and converting leads.

2. Research the Audience

Lead generation is only effective if the leads are potential buyers. For example, a company that generates 1,000 leads, but only two are B2B decision-makers, did not run a successful campaign. However, a company that only generated 200 leads but converted 100 of those leads had a highly successful lead generation strategy.

Generating the right leads starts with understanding whom to attract before running the lead generation campaign. Marketers create two types of audience identifiers:

  • Ideal Customer Profile: A description of a fictional audience that would make the best buyer. It helps marketers understand WHO to reach and includes information like firmographics, location, and key decision-makers.
  • Buyer Persona: A detailed outline of specific decision-makers helps marketers decide HOW to reach the audience. It includes motivators like pain points, job descriptions, and emotional triggers.

Marketers create these two profiles by looking at their current customer base, surveying their intended audience, looking at the competition, and examining third-party data.

Generating the right leads starts with understanding whom to attract before running the lead generation campaign.

3. Personalize the Content

Personalization is necessary for B2B marketing because it gives the audience a reason to care. According to 78% of consumers, personalized content increases purchase intent.

Personalization takes topics the audience might not be familiar with and turns them into relevant information. When customers see a business’s products and solutions apply to them personally, they’re more likely to respond to lead magnets.

For example, business-centric content would have titles like “5 Features of X Software.” Meanwhile, personalized customer-centric content would have titles like “5 Ways X Software Speeds up Business Operations.” The second option addresses topics from a customer’s viewpoint. It addresses specific challenges and shares customer benefits.

Personalizing content goes a step further than focusing on customers as a whole. Instead, marketers create content for specific customer segments.

For instance, a financial company will have different pain points than a marketing company. Therefore, marketers could address the same topics in their content in several ways to connect with each specific audience segment.

Account-based marketing is one of the more popular strategies B2B marketers employ for personalizing content. Account-based marketing uses ideal customer profiles to identify and target high-value accounts. Then, marketers create personalized content for those accounts to turn them into leads and, eventually, customers.

4. Use Relevant Topics

Keyword research is more valuable than a content optimization tool for search engine rankings. It’s also vital for attracting the right audience to content to ensure quality leads read and respond to the lead magnets.

Marketers use keyword research tools to identify search phrases their target audience uses. Then they create content around those keywords. Keywords research keeps the content relevant to the audience and improves the quality of leads the content generates.

For example, a B2B buyer searching for software solutions for their business will perform different searches than individuals researching software information. So, marketers would use keywords like “for businesses” and “business software” to attract decision-makers to the content.

5. Create Intent-Based Call to Actions

Keyword research also tells marketers the type of lead magnet to use in their lead generating content marketing.

For instance, a decision-maker performing a “how to” search is less likely to sign up for a free trial than a B2B buyer who searches “where to buy data management software.”

B2B audiences have four primary intents when looking for online content:

  • Navigational: Using a company name in the search because the user is looking for a specific page
  • Informational: Looking for general information or research
  • Transactional: Someone ready to act who is looking for a particular product or solution
  • Commercial: Someone who is interested in a product and is looking for more details

Marketers should customize their lead magnet based on the content keyword’s search intent. For example, informational keywords should have a soft call to action, like encouraging the reader to sign up for a newsletter for more information or joining a webinar.

Conversely, transactional and commercial keywords should have a more significant call to action, like signing up for a free trial.

6. Focus On Quality over Algorithms

While keywords are essential for lead generation, the content’s quality plays a more significant role in ranking the content and converting the reader. Bringing the right leads to marketing content is half the battle. The content needs to convince those readers to perform the call to action.

Quality content with industry-leading ideas, authority links, and expert advice will build trust with the reader. Then, when the reader arrives at the lead magnet, they are more likely to respond to the call to action.

7. Create a Full Funnel Strategy

Lead generation can occur at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Sometimes marketers might connect with leads who just met the brand. Other times a business will generate leads who are ready to make a purchase decision.

The most effective content marketing for lead generation combines the journey stage with the buyer’s persona.

“The most effective content marketing for lead generation combines the journey stage with the buyer’s persona.”

8. Make Conversions Easy

Businesses will generate more leads if the lead magnet is clear. For example, content creators might design a banner that attracts attention to the lead magnet.

Otherwise, content writers may make the lead magnet a bold sentence with a link to a webinar, contact form, or other lead magnets. This more subtle option is more effective for a top-of-the-funnel lead generation for raising awareness.

9. Incorporate Multimedia

Multimedia content performs best because it’s more engaging. The audience is more likely to act on the call to action when the content beforehand is engaging.

Some of the most engaging forms of B2B content based on the percentage of marketers who used the asset include:

  • Webinars (58%)
  • Reports (48%)
  • Blog posts (48%)
  • eBooks and White Papers (47%)
  • Case studies (39%)
  • Video (38%)
  • Podcasts (23%)

In 2022, 69% of B2B marketers increased their video marketing investment as that format is quickly becoming one of the most effective marketing strategies.

Marketers often combine formats to boost the performance of the content. For example, a content creator might embed a video in a blog post. That way, marketers are more likely to connect with the target audience and generate quality leads.

10. Use Creative Distribution Strategies

Once marketers create quality content, they must find ways to get it in front of the ideal audience. This task isn’t always as simple as choosing popular keywords. In reality, 90.63% of web pages don’t see any organic search traffic.

Marketers that want to ensure their ideal buyer sees the content and responds to the lead magnet must use more targeted distribution strategies.

Content syndication is highly effective for reaching buyers and raising brand awareness through lead-generation content. Content syndication is sharing content on third-party platforms. For example, a business might republish a blog post on LinkedIn, distribute it across targeted websites through Netline, or post it on a public site like Medium.

“Content syndication is highly effective for reaching buyers and raising brand awareness through lead-generation content.”

These distribution channels allow marketers to reach their audience by sharing content on sites they know the audience regularly visits. Through content distribution, marketers can go to the B2B buyers rather than wait for the buyers to come to them.

Other ways to distribute content to a target audience include email marketing, newsletter sharing, and social media posting. Those three channels are the business’s personal connections to reach interested buyers. So marketers can create middle and bottom-of-the-funnel lead generation content, like promoting trial signups.

11. Track and Analyze the Results

Marketers use the metrics they established in their goals to track and analyze their results. For example, tracking content performance helps marketers know what content is performing best and when to optimize the content.

Marketers often run several versions of the same content to see which version performs best. Businesses call this A/B testing. For example, content creators might compare the webinar signups from a link to a banner ad in the content to see which call to action readers prefer.

12. Continually Update the Content

After investing hours into a B2B lead generation marketing strategy, marketers want the content investment to work as long as possible. Regularly updating content helps content continue to perform well and generate quality leads.

Updating content includes:

  • Refreshing the writing
  • Adding updated statistics
  • Adjusting content optimization to new search engine rules

More and more businesses are including content updates in their content marketing strategy because updated content delivers consistent positive results and new leads.

Review Your Lead Generation Strategy

Behind the Work is a team of expert marketers with the tools and knowledge to create, distribute, and measure expert content that generates quality B2B leads. The marketing strategies attract and acquire a specific target audience to boost conversion rates.

Have an expert marketing strategist review your strategy today.

So, What’s a Nascar Slide?

Essentially, a Nascar slide is the part of the sales deck or webpage that showcases all the companies that have worked with you. These are typically displayed as a series of logos, much like a Nascar vehicle is embellished with sponsorship logos. It’s part brand pride and part trust with current opportunities during the buying process. More importantly, there is a right way to demonstrate which brand you are working with and the wrong way. This blog is designed to help you navigate building out your own Nascar Slide and which companies should be featured during your sales process and on your website.

When deciding which companies make the cut, ask yourself – Who visits my website? Surely, its qualified leads, 100% of the time right? Realistically, you will get current clients, family & friends, referrals, leads and let’s not forget to mention competitors perusing your site. For that reason, we need to take care of the types of clients you present to the world.

There is always the argument that if you’re doing a great job for your clients you should not have to worry about them leaving for your competitors – even though as marketers, we like to think conservatively with the information we give to competition. By mitigating risk, we think protecting your company from losing key accounts is ideal – Yup, we have a little competitor paranoia in us.

What are some key features to think about when building your Nascar Slide? Below, read some helpful rules that should go into consideration before sharing your Nascar slides with the public:

Customize for the client you want to serve

Start by segmenting your clients. Some of the ways we do this is by separating clients based on Industry type, employee size, or revenue size. Present clients that are similar to prospects you’re presenting to. For example, if you are presenting to a small plumber in Phoenix, showcase plumbers you’re currently working with across the country that are the same size in your Nascar Slide. This will build trust and assure the client you understand their niche industry and size.

Need Help Building Out Your Nascar Slide?

Present the information, but don’t share it permanently

Present your clients to potentials in a way that your competitors can’t get a hand on it. Use Zoom or Google Meets to present your sales deck, but don’t share your client list to your opportunity to hold onto, as that may eventually find its way to someone who shouldn’t have it.

Forming relationships with prospects is an exercise in trust – ideally, you want to establish a mutually beneficial partnership that accounts for potential leakages. This will obviously be different on the layout of a web page – keep your most loyal accounts here for immediate reference.

Look to show off size in the public places

Clients like Microsoft or Oracle are great to have on your slide because they have several thousand employees and it becomes hard to pinpoint who at the organization is the buyer that is working with your company. Also, it may show the enterprise work you’re looking for.

However, this can work against you if your pitching to a small business and telling them you work with giant companies. Use giants on the website and other places that are more public but ensure it’s a good fit for your organization. If you serve smaller companies and are showing off much larger ones you might send the wrong message to the clients you are trying to attract.  

Share for Quality, Not Quantity

It’s nice to showcase how you work with thousands of clients –there are clear advantages for doing this for several types of industries like SaaS. However, we prefer to see a more intimate group of high authority companies. For example, if you are serving hospitality, it may be enough to say you work with Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt, rather than listing off hundreds of smaller clients with less brand recognition.

Positive Referrals Only

Lastly, only put clients on your site that will advocate for your company. Expect that in some cases, prospects might ask for referrals, or they may know several people at a company you say you’re working with and they may reach out to find out how the relationship is working out. There’s no faster way to lose confidence in a brand than by reaching out to someone who claims to have given a positive referral, only to find that they think otherwise.

We are a firm believer that in B2B ,prospects want to work with companies they trust and know. Your Nascar slide will help them build the trust in your organization by showing that you have the experience in working with other clients.

What are some simple ways that your company can begin implementing Nascar slides immediately? 120/80 can help. We are a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in a broad range of solutions that have proven to drive leads and conversions in B2B. For proof of our success, look no further than our Nascar slides!