How Your Thanksgiving Dinner Can Improve Your Marketing Campaigns

Thanksgiving Dinner
The crackle of burning wood in the fireplace, the smell of pumpkin pie in the oven, the roar of Uncle Jim as the Cowboys score a critical fourth quarter touchdown — there are all sorts of things to love about Thanksgiving Day. Here at Who's Calling, we and our stomachs are pretty excited for the quickly approaching holiday.

You might be wondering what prepping for Thanksgiving and planning a marketing strategy have in common. Well we put together some tips that will help you understand how to impress your target audience in both arenas.

It's All About the Side Dishes

There are some pretty good methods for preparing a Thanksgiving turkey, but let's be honest — you know you're way more excited about filling your plate with gobs of mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and macaroni and cheese. That's why you need massive plates for piling up lots and lots of side dish goodness (and a couple small slices of turkey on top).

In your marketing campaigns, sure, you could just slap your main product on an ad and call it a day. But consumers don't want to feel like they're being pushed to purchase something. Try putting the emphasis on the side dishes — the little nuggets of information that compliment the product and convince customers they need it. You're not selling the turkey, you're letting the side dishes do the talking.

Don't Forget the Giblets

As the wise Julia Child would say: "Save the giblets!" We agree. Creating a marketing campaign is like prepping a turkey. There are inevitably parts that are taken out because they don't add much to the final product. Like the giblets! They're not necessary to make the turkey complete, but you can't make giblet gravy without giblets, can you? Anyway, we're not here to talk about turkey giblets, but rather the giblets of your marketing campaigns.

When you create a new campaign, it usually goes through an extensive creative process. By the time you have your final product, it may only be part of what you started with. But that doesn't mean you should throw out all the little parts that helped along the way. Those marketing giblets can be saved and simmered into a brand new campaign in the future.

Change up the Turkey

Turkey can be prepared in some amazing ways, but we've probably all had some bad Thanksgiving experiences thanks to a dry and boring main course. When it comes to planning your big dinner, why not just skip the turkey? Some people like to have a little variety and cook alternatives such as ham, pot roast or prime rib. Don't get tied down by tradition just because that's what you've always done.

Cook up some fresh campaigns and let them give your products new life. Spice things up by changing your message or upgrading your ad layouts. You can even track the effectiveness of these new ideas by using toll-free numbers (TFNs), so you don't waste time and money on campaigns that aren't working.

These are just a few of our favorite ideas when it comes to marketing campaigns. Here are some other marketing philosophies that may help you out this season.

How to Get Your Marketing Into the Spirit of the Season

Christmas shoppers
Brace yourselves, holiday marketing is coming. Actually, it's already here, and research indicates that's not a bad thing. Sure, many grumble about the appearance of Christmas decorations and marketing before Thanksgiving, but if your holiday campaigns aren't already in motion, you might be missing out on leads.

Here are some tips that can help your company separate itself from a tidal wave of holiday marketing campaigns. You'll bring in customers and create a positive image during a hectic time of the year.

Host a Social Media Contest

Holiday marketing is flooded with great deals every year, and there's nothing wrong with your joining the chorus. This year use the gift-giving spirit of the holidays to not only engage existing customers through your social media channels but also to attract new customers by hosting a contest or giveaway for a free product or service.

Social media contests can be as simple as "share this" or "like this" to get customers entered, or you could ask your customers to do something creative like record a video or take a picture. The latter will get your customers more involved than simply clicking a link and will keep your company at the forefront of their minds while they're preparing their entry.

Give Back to Your Community

Giving back doesn't have to be part of a holiday sale or a contest. You can do something truly philanthropic during the holiday season by participating in or sponsoring charitable events in your community. Whether you're volunteering or making donations, giving back to your community is a good way to show your customer base that you care.

Take for example Food Network's partnership with "Share Our Strength" and the "No Kid Hungry" campaign. Food Network is using its massive social media reach (its Twitter account has 3.78 million followers) to fight child hunger. Food Network asked its fans to bake treats at home and share pictures of them on social media with the hashtag #BakeItForward. For every entry in the #BakeItForward campaign, Food Network is donating $1 (worth 10 meals) to No Kid Hungry.

Go Against the Grain

Black Friday has quickly become the busiest shopping day of the year and retailers are constantly fighting to get a bigger piece of the (pumpkin) pie. Many stores have started opening on Thanksgiving Day in an attempt to bring in more and more customers during the four-day weekend. However some companies, such as Nordstrom, Costco and Dillard's, have taken a stand against being open on Thanksgiving Day, and REI took it a step further this year.

REI will be closed on Black Friday this year and announced its decision with the hashtag #OptOutside on Twitter, earning respect from many for allowing its employees to enjoy time with friends and family during the holiday. Going against the grain this holiday season — in this case not opening when many of your competitors are — is one way to show your employees some love and to get some good PR.

Have you developed any tried and true holiday marketing tactics that helped your business get customers and respect? Let us know in the comments.