If retailers want a happy holiday, then they should say Merry Christmas. Many retailers earn 50% of their annual revenues and profits in November and December. For them to hide from Christmas is like a flag maker suppressing patriotism. It doesn't make sense.
And just who are PC retailers trying to please with this strategy? Though four percent of Americans don't celebrate Christmas, even they aren't put off by those who do. Consider the following quote from an atheist I know.
I 100% agree with your faith-based marketing concept--most retailers
should try to appeal to the widest audience possible. By alienating
that audience by saying something generic and vague like "happy
holidays," they risk turning off more people than they would turn on
with the phrase. Christmas is a federal holiday celebrating the life
of a man (Jesus Christ), similar to MLK Jr. Day (as Bill O'Reilly
likes to say). No one can deny the cultural significance that Christ
has had, regardless of religious affiliation.
77% of the population is Christian, and 96% celebrate Christmas...so
there can't be many people who would be offended by the word
"Christmas," including most atheists, agnostics, or otherwise
non-religious Americans, if a lot of them observe Christmas. Maybe
I'll start an "atheists against 'happy holidays'" movement to put an
end to "happy holidays".
Here's the MSNBC Video Clip. Spread the fire. GS
A study by Harris Interactive found that 46% of women and 30% of men would rather go without sex for two weeks than live without Internet access for the same amount of time. No word on whether survey respondents were already living without sex.
An astounding 65% believe "they cannot live without Internet access" which reveals either the Internet's importance in their lives or their abysmal understanding of human physiology. Nevertheless, if you were one of those marketers who believed the old mantra "sex sells," then you may want to consider the Internet instead. Spread the fire. GS
I found some wise words on Seth Godin's blog this morning. That's pretty typical. Seth said...
"For big brands and marketers with significant budgets, the internet represents a loss of leverage. Money doesn't buy you as much attention, and you have to work much, much harder for every eyeball.
For individuals, the internet represents an increase in leverage. One person with a blog or a lot of followers or friends can reach more people, more quickly, than ever before."
So what's a brand to do? As I've written before, you can no longer control your brand with advertising as you once could. These days, control your brand by controlling the customer's experience. If you make a great product and provide exceptional service, then happy customers can use the increased leverage afforded them by the Internet to sing your praises. The result? Your marketing impact may increase even as your marketing budget shrinks. Spread the fire. GS
Yesterday I appeared on Fox and Friends to make the case that retailers should acknowledge Christmas rather than hiding behind a generic "holiday" greeting. It's just good business. And that's a point my co-author Bob Hutchins and I make in our new book Faith-Based Marketing.
Because Fox is fair and balanced they included a fellow who owns a company that manufactures atheist holiday cards. Since the word holiday derives from the words "holy day" the whole concept of atheistic holiday cards seems more than a little ironic. If there is no God, then how can any day be holy?
Nevertheless, here's the clip of our segment. Thanks to everyone that helped me prepare by answering the questions on my blog. Thanks especially to Cole Pinner who rallied members of his Facebook group We Will Say Merry Christmas and Keep Christ in CHRISTmas to answer my blog questions. Consider joining. I did.
Finally, thanks to friends and family who provided prayers and encouragement before, during, and after.
Enjoy the clip. Is it good or bad that an atheist "basically agreed with everything I said?" Spread the fire. GS
I need my Christian readers to answer a question. When a retailer calls December 25th Christmas, rather than generically referring to it as a "holiday" are you more likely to give them your business?
I am scheduled to appear on MSNBC on Tuesday to discuss this topic and I want to know your opinion. Who knows, I may quote you on the program.
Please take a moment to consider the following questions and leave your answer as a comment to this blog post. Number your answers to correspond to the numbered questions.
Thanks for your help. I'll provide more details on the program as I get them myself.
Spread the fire. GS
Wanted to let you know about several upcoming media interviews in case you care to tune in.
December 11, I'll be on the Chris Fabry Live program on the Moody Radio
Network. We'll be talking about digital technology, PyroMarketing, and
some wild stories from the 90's involving Rosa Parks, me, and Chris
Fabry. Visit http://www.moodyradio.org/
On Monday December 15 at 9:05 am Central/7:05 am Pacific I'll be on radio station KBBO in Yakima Washington discussing whether businesses should embrace Christmas or weasel out by referring to the "holidays." Oops, guess I've tipped my hand.
On Wednesday December 17 at 9:30 am Central/ 10:30 Eastern I'll be taping an interview with the program Inspiration to Change that airs on Way FM in Southwest Florida.
Finally, watch the front page of the USA Today Life section between December 18 -22 for an article that explores the question, "Do we diminish the importance of Christmas by overusing the term?" In other words, do the merchants who avoid using the term Christmas really do Christmas a favor? Check the article for my answer to that question.
As always you can visit the website, www.pyromarketing.com for updates and details. Spread the fire. GS
The American Family Association reported today that Costco Stores won't acknowledge Christmas. When asked whether Costco used the word Christmas in its advertising, on its signs, or anywhere in its stores during the Christmas season a Costco representative replied, "I guess the answer would be no."
Costco's not alone. AFA publishes a list of Naughty (against Christmas) and Nice (for Christmas) companies at its website.
Forget the myriad other arguments, now that America is officially in a recession, ignoring Christmas is just a plain stupid business decision. By acknowledging the reason for the season smart businesses can attract America's 140 million church-goers and their Christmas spending. Ignore Christmas--one of the two defining holidays of the Christian faith--or try to present "holidays" as an acceptable alternative, and you insult the people who hold that faith dear. Need an example? Check out the comments following the story at the free republic website.
To put this in perspective, imagine the outrage if Costco refused to acknowledge that Martin Luther King Day had anything to do with a black man who fought for civil rights while simultaneously asking African Americans to commemorate the "holiday" by purchasing gifts for each other. Ouch!
In an attempt to be "inclusive" many well-intentioned businesses wind up excluding Christians by removing references to their sacred holiday altogether. True inclusiveness means keeping Christ in Christmas even as you acknowledge other people groups whose holidays fall around the same time.
Political correctness is out. Economic correctness is in. If businesses will recognize Christmas for what it really is--Jesus' birthday--then believers (2.1 billion of them world-wide) will reward them with their patronage. It can be a powerful competitive advantage at a time when businesses desperately need one.
Spread the fire and Merry Christmas. GS
Note: My next book, co-written with Bob Hutchins, is called Faith-Based Marketing. Wiley and Sons will publish it in April 2009.
I'd like to suggest another combination. In fact, I insist that these two things be inseparable.
Separating policies from the reason they were created is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, I have yet another example from my own life that painfully illustrates the problem.
We had loads of company for the Thanksgiving weekend and eventually took them downtown Nashville on Saturday to buy cowboy hats and soak up some music from the Honky Tonks along Broadway. There were 18 of us.
Tired and hungry we made our way into The Wild Horse Saloon at about 3pm looking for drinks and appetizers. The woman at the hostess stand said that, because we weren't there for dinner, we could not sit at the low tables near the dance floor. Instead, we could sit at the bar or at the high tables near the bar or along the perimeter of the room. We chose a group of high tables along the perimeter and waited for our server, but none came.
After about ten minutes I returned to the hostess stand and said, "Excuse me, but could you send a server to our table?" "No," the hostess replied, "There is no server for your section. You'll need to get your your own drinks from the bar."
"Why don't you have servers in our section?" I asked. "Because you're not eating dinner," she replied. "We only have servers for the dinner section. That's our policy."
[Note: I remained remarkably calm when presented with that news and decided to explore her response further.]
"Why do you think you have that policy?" I asked. "I don't know," she replied. "I think I might know," I said, "Can I tell you my theory?" "Sure," she said with a nod. "The Wild Horse Saloon is in business to make money," I said, "right?" She nodded in agreement. "And people who eat dinner generally spend more money than people who don't. Isn't that also right?" Again she nodded. "Since you have limited servers, it makes sense that they help the customers spending the most money. So, really, your policy is to provide servers to the customers that are spending the most money. Do you agree?" Her nodding was now constant.
"I have eighteen people in my party and half of them are adults. That's nine soft drinks, nine adult beverages, and appetizers for a ravenous crew. After looking at the prices on your menu, I estimate our tab will total $130+. What's more, because we're not staying for dinner, we won't take nearly as long which means you can turn our tables faster. In other words, my party will spend more money faster than any other party currently in your restaurant which makes us just the kind of people that, according to your policy, deserve a server. Can we please have one?"
"No," she said, "You're not ordering dinner."
I wound up ordering eighteen drinks, two appetizer samplers, and two orders of fries from the bar. The bartender took pity on my and assigned us a server despite the objections of the (poorly named) hostess stand.
Okay, so what's the point? The poor girl at the hostess stand was trapped. Her boss gave her a policy and told her to follow it. He had not told her the reasons behind the policy. Therefore, when faced with a situation her boss hadn't anticipated (a high spending crew of eighteen that wasn't eating dinner) she was powerless to adjust and do the right thing. Instead, she adhered to the policy even though, in this case, it conflicted with the very reason it was created and angered the highest paying customer in the restaurant!
By presenting policies with the thinking behind them, you empower your staff to adjust to new situations while ensuring they do the right thing each time. Spread the fire. GS