We've all been faced with the dreaded question of: 'What is our Christmas marketing strategy?'. While consumer retail businesses use the end of the year as a prime sales opportunity, should client-facing firms such as investment managers also bring a more festive slant to their marketing?

At the risk of sounding like a grinch, the short answer is 'probably not'. Unlike retailers looking for a Christmas rush, we're not in the business of selling consumer goods with room for price fluctuations. Instead, we offer our clients a long-term product and relationships (with a rather fixed set of fees, generally speaking).

Here are a few factors to bear in mind when thinking about year-end marketing and content:

  • Say something with value and impact

It's the 'global outlook' time of year, with many firms producing numerous (and often quite voluminous) versions of these documents. However, bear in mind that your clients are probably receiving a fair number of such outlooks, so if your firm feels strongly about distributing these, ensure that yours stand out from the rest of the market. Some ideas for differentiating yours include:

  • Doing a series of short videos or podcasts to break up the message and perhaps feature various people delivering their outlook messages
  • Summarising your key ideas through a punchy infographic - this format is often digestible enough and not quite as intimidating as the prospect of reading a lengthy white paper
  • Ensure that your firm's point of difference or specialism is highlighted clearly

  • Focus your efforts on other forms of client engagement

While it may be tempting to use every client communication opportunity to reiterate your brand message, remember that year-end can be a good way of simply thanking your clients for their continued loyalty and support. This is especially true if your firm has been through a challenging period. It may be worth crafting tailored messages for relationship managers to use for their various client groups.

  • Less is more

The end of the year is a period where we can have a bit more fun with lighter content marketing than we would normally distribute. However, try to keep the 'stocks to have in your Christmas stocking' mails to a minimum - you don't want to run the risk of sounding trite.

  • Marketing best practice still applies - even though it's Christmas

Be careful to ensure that your firm's marketing and messages are true to your brand. Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean it's an opportunity to do what everyone else is doing. It is still important to scrutinise all your marketing plans and messages to ensure that it serves a purpose and is effective with your client base.

It is easy to get caught up in the Christmas spirit, and you may very well be tempted to share this in the form of festive marketing messages with your clients. However, remember that - just as consumers are being overloaded with seasonal promotions - your clients may also not be overly receptive to yet another themed year-end message. If you are communicating, make sure it is useful and valuable for your audience.


*Check out more great content for our 12 days of Christmas challenge*