SHOCK – The spirit of Christmas found in a beautiful simple little piece of marketing

Let me tell you an true Xmas tale…

Here in Yorkshire it has been snowing… hard. After a week of literally being snowed in the house {and the associated insanity this brings on} I ventured out into my local town to try and catch up with a little Christmas shopping.

It’s a proper little Yorkshire place, the solid buildings hewn out of golden stone. It has a bank, a butchers, a florists and all the associated hustle and bustle of a thriving Market Town. Under a hefty dollop of snow, with the main street lit by fairly lights it’s about as Christmassy as it gets. However, the older I get the more Scrooge like I get so I was dashing about, not noticing any of this, intent on getting to the bank and all the other tedious bits of general life that seem to escalate into lunacy in the run up to Xmas.

In the bleak midwinter…

For as long as I have lived here, a tiny woman has stationed herself outside the bank, selling “The Big Issue”. If you don’t know, this is a magazine, sold by the homeless to provide an alternative to begging. The woman stands outside the bank in all weathers {and in Yorkshire we really DO get ALL weathers and many of them are hideous} selling the magazine. I think she’s Eastern European and she speaks very little English. She may be a refugee from one of the hideous wars in the region in the past, but I’m surmising. She generally only has a thin coat and headscarf and looks freezing most of the time. But she’s always there…always polite and smiling and although I always say hello when I go to the bank, for some reason I have never bought a magazine from her…

Well today I must have had an attack of festive spirit, as when I came out of the bank I bought one of her copies of “The Big Issue”, shoved it in my bag, whilst tussling with a restive toddler and headed for home.

Finally I got to sit down with my coffee in front of the fire to have a thumb through the magazine [which is always a good read]. Along with all the magazine detritus that fell out, there was a small handwritten envelope with something I couldn’t quite decipher on the front. Intrigued I opened it and inside was a little Chrismas card. The message inside, written in tiny spidery writing, read exactly as follows:

To my coustmer. I am Lejla and my little girl. Merry Christmas. From Lejla and Dushanka xx

Well, that was me melted!

The Xmas card proudly joined my ranks of others on the mantelpiece and Lejla in one absolutely genius fell swoop of marketing had converted me from a stranger into a customer.

No longer is she “the homeless woman outside the bank who must be FREEZING in this weather” but a person with a name, a little girl and a story. She has made herself REAL, genuine and worthwhile spending money on. I will definitely be buying her magazine next time I see her and I’m sure her regular customers will continue to buy too.

So thanks to Lejla for reminding me of the spirit of Christmas and bringing a warm glow to my sometimes slightly Scroogy heart, and for also teaching a valuable marketing lesson.

BE REAL and CONNECT with your customers! They are the lifeblood of your business.

And thanks to you too, reader and supporter of this blog. Thanks for reading and commenting and just being there over the past year. I really do appreciate it. So it’s only left for me to wish you a very merry, wonderful and peaceful Christmas wherever you are in the world…

Merry Christmas

Helen x

Photo Credit under Creative Commons licence by pareeerica

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