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Tell Santa he made me a Cole’s shopper.

I’m coming here for everything but toilet paper. Any store that puts the parent ahead of the buck at Christmas deserves my business.

Tell Mr. Cole his Santa Claus ought to get a raise.

I am such a fan of Miracle on 34th Street (yes, both the original and the remake).  It’s a classic Christmas movie with a great storyline – even though the original was pretty much a commercial for Macy’s, but that’s a whole different blog post.  Point is, it’s still a great movie.

For those of you who don’t recognize the quotes above, they are from the remade version that came out 14 years ago.  In it, Santa (a Cole’s store Santa) tells parents of the kids in line that other stores have the toys they are looking for – at lower prices.  Yet, the mother who spoke the quote above makes it very clear: if Cole’s is going to put the spirit of Christmas first, they made her a customer for life.

Blog owners, online business owners, even brick-and-mortar business owners could stand to learn a thing or two from Ol’ Saint Nick.  We seem to get caught up in making sure our own brand is successful, pushing them to the wayside and even going to the point of alienating our customers and driving them off.  But once we start to take our customer’s needs into consideration, magical things happen, and our customers see us for who we really are – a company that is run by real people.

Take Motrin, for example.  They could have ridden the wave of the backlash against the “Motrin Moms” ad and created something positive both to customer and company (as Jeremiah Owyang points out in his blog).  However, they chose to protect themselves, go on the defensive, and issue an apology letter.  A letter which has been up since November 20th.

As a designer, I have no problems kicking work to friends who may have more experience in a certain area than I do (mostly Flash – I know my way around, but that doesn’t mean that I thoroughly enjoy working with it).  Likewise, I have personal relationships with a lot of other designers, and I love synergizing with them on techniques, tutorials, and how-to’s.  If someone tells me how to do something cool, I’ll share it on my blog.  Are they competition? Yes.  But there’s plenty of design work for us all, and we all have our specialties, so I’m not concerned.

Go out of your way to help a customer.  Go even harder to help your friends and fellow peers.  People take notice of good things that happen, and that will only make your business shine out even more.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  And he knows a lot more about marketing than you could ever imagine.

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