Disclaimer: this blog is not intended for people who are still children in their hearts.


Some of you may recollect how I met Mr Claus last year and had the opportunity to provide him some brand recommendations.  Apparently he is implementing some of the changes so you may see the differences if you can catch him.
Anyway, he called me up last October with a tricky problem for which he wanted insights.
“How can I provide more value to my customers,” he moaned. “How can I figure out what they really need?”
“What do you mean what are the challenges you are facing?” came my reply.
And he proceeded to show me what he was facing.
Christmas lists from kids:
“Daddy Claus, I would like a PS3”
“Santa, a Xbox please”
“Dear Father Christmas, I would like a book WII”
and comments from parents:
 “If you don’t obey I’ll call Santa Claus. You do know that I have his number on speed dial”
 “Santa is in a recession and will only bring one present”

The problem was strikingly evident to such a professional marketer as myself. Value propositions misunderstood and disrupted communication channels.
“Santa, if I may call you so, you need a new business model.”

Here is what I proceeded to recommend:
“First redefine your customer based. In today’s world your primary customer is no longer the kid. You need to get closer to the key decision maker who in this case is also the gate-keeper to your end‐user.”
“End‐user?” Santa interrupted me in my thought process.
“Yes, the kid is the end‐user,” I announced impatiently “but your real customer is … the MOM.”
“The mother?”
“Of course the mother. Who decides what goes on the list and what doesn’t. Who decides how many presents and who gets what. And think about the access: who decides when you come (morning or
evening), how you come (through the door or the chimney) and even if you would come in the first place with all the competition today. In fact, in some cases the mom even decides whether you exist or
not. So what kind of relationships do you have with the MOMs?”
“Not good. Oh this is bad.” he concluded, “So I have been wasting the last 324 years on the wrong people? I have never really gotten along with the mothers. They tend to get in the way.”
“Well things have evolved outside Lapland pretty fast in these last years. You need to focus on what the mothers really value. Understand the whole Christmas experience from their point of view and then provide the services that put everything together again.”
“Sounds like Mother Christmas knitting. So how do we do this?”

At this stage we brought in Mother Christmas for her feminine view and well as Elvese, the head Elf, for his operational skills. 3 hours of brainstorming brought forward the following ideas:
‐ Christmas card writing service: based on a mailing list provided by the mom and a calligraphic copying tool, Christmas cards could be sent out in the MOM’s handwriting to 148 countries and
37 languages. The service could be further upgraded to include the DAD’s signature.
‐ Christmas decoration full package includes storage of the decoration, installation, replacement of the broken bulbs (Sunday evening included) and repacking.
‐ Christmas Gift Motivational management
‐ Chimney cleaning – an idea that Mother Christmas found hilarious for some reason
‐ Broken toys collection and redistribution to charity – Elvese did not subscribe to this

A new business model for Santa Claus
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