Tuesday, September 1, 2009

'The Christmas card is dead!' - long live interactive viral Christmas cards, Christmas games & Christmas e-mail marketing tools!

The Christmas card is dead - long live interactive viral Christmas cards, Christmas games & Christmas e-mail marketing tools!

Updated September 2009

Christmas is a good excuse for viral marketing - and every year around October, E-creation starts to receive an influx of enquiries for 'Christmas games that can have our logo applied'. Brand-able viral marketing games at Christmas are a cost effective way to produce a 'different' Christmas card but businesses need to think carefully about how they use viral marketing, even when there appears to be a good 'excuse' in the form of Christmas, to effectively spam people!

Viral marketing has become an important part of the marketing mix but has evolved significantly from the early days when it was possible to e-mail attachments that included 'working' games. Modern viral marketing takes the form of videos on YouTube, Tweets on Twitter, unique micro sites, Facebook games and the simple 'funny' image.

Many businesses see the Christmas season as an opportunity to use viral communications that is justified for existing & potential customers. This can take the form of interactive viral Christmas cards, viral Christmas games & even more the more basic, viral animated Christmas card delivered by e-mail. However, these are marketing tools aimed at either building the relationship with the customer or creating new opportunities with new customers, in disguise, so you need make sure that you deliver value to the recipient.

For this reason, when developing marketing tools like interactive Christmas cards or Christmas games, it is very import to be 'contextual'. In other words, if you business is selling smoked turkeys, then any interactive content created should feature turkeys (though in some humorous way naturally). This builds a deeper connection between your brand (which should feature prominently within the content), your product and the 'positive' feeling experienced by the person experiencing the marketing marterials you have sent (disguised as an interactive Christmas card).

A classic example of this missed opportunity is the 'elf tossing' game, which achieved massive popular presence - most people had played or at least heard about the game - but no one was aware of which company the game was promoting.

For this reason, when designing & developing interactive Christmas cards or Christmas games for our clients, E-creation spends a large chunk of time developing a strong conceptual 'backbone' to the content, that not only makes the content engaging and interesting, but builds the profile of an organisation. This approach is more time consuming (and therefore more costly) than simple applying a company logo and name to a 'pre-prepared' Christmas card or Christmas game - and for this reason - most of our clients tend to be larger organisations with a large database of customers or potential contacts that they can send the content to, reducing the 'cost-per-contact'.

For example, a typical interactive game developed for Christmas costs on average cost £8,000. If viewed by 50,000 people, then the cost per 'contact' is 16p per person - or significantly less than the cost of a second class stamp.