Santa’s got a bit of an image problem. Sure, people love him for being jolly and cheerful and because he brings joy to children all over the world. But he’s also getting up there in age, and that image brings with it its own set of preconceived notions: Namely, that he’s stuck in the old ways and doesn’t even know how to use a computer.
But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Santa not only knows how to use a computer—after all, he spends his days building laptops, gaming systems, and more for children throughout the year—but he’s embraced the power of tech to streamline his gift-giving efforts, allowing him to make more presents, faster.
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How does he do this? By embracing some of Marketing’s hottest tech-based trends. Take a look some of the ways that Santa is using marketing (and specifically leaning on the HubSpot suite of tools) to boost his efficiency.
1. He automates his emails.
Let’s get real for a minute. People don’t really write “letters” anymore, they write emails. The same holds true for children writing to Santa.
Now, you might be thinking that that’s a shame, but Santa couldn’t be any happier. With the move to emails, Santa can spend less time handwriting a response to each and every child who writes to him, because he’s able to automate his responses with templates that pull relevant information about each child from his CRM. That means that more children get to hear back from Santa, quicker—and it means that he gets to spend more time doing what really matters: Making the toys, caring for his reindeer, and making sure his sleigh is ready for December 24th.
2. He’s embracing social and live chat.
As awesome as email automation is for Santa, the simple reality is that that’s not the only way that kids are getting in touch with him these days. Sure, he gets a few hand-written letters each day, and he gets a bunch of emails. But he’s also increasingly getting questions and wishlists through other channels, like social media and live chat.
In today’s world, people are used to getting an immediate response when they want to know something, and that goes for kids who want to know whether or not they’re on the naughty list as much as it goes for adults who want to know whether or not a store will be able to deliver a package next-day.
Instead of shying away from these other outlets, jolly old St. Nick has embraced them. He has one elf staffing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, and another monitoring his website’s live chat, making sure that no child’s message goes unanswered.
3. He’s embraced artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Manually making a list and checking it twice every year was easily one of the most time-consuming parts of the job for Santa. Sometimes he’d have duplicate contacts, or incomplete records, making it virtually impossible to be completely sure that kids were being put in the right column. Missing a nice kid because of a bad system would be terrible for Santa’s image and mission to bring joy to all kids on earth. (I mean, I still haven’t forgiven him for failing to bring me a puppy when I was eight, and that was 20 years ago.)
To keep himself from making mistakes, Santa is using predictive scoring and machine learning to automate his list-making process. Instead of compiling the Grand List manually, he let’s artificial intelligence do it for him.
Now, he can define what constitutes “naughty” behavior just once, allowing the system to move kids onto the naughty list automatically. And if the child’s behavior changes, warranting a move to the nice list, the system does it for Santa on its own. There’s no need for Santa to check this list twice!
4. He utilizes automated workflows.
Santa is, by nature, a forgiving soul. If a child lands himself on the naughty list, Santa doesn’t just call it a day and doom the child to a Christmas stocking full of coal: He encourages the child to change his behavior so that he can be moved to the nice list.
But all of this outreach takes time—time that Santa just doesn’t have. That’s why he’s set up a number of workflows so that his CRM can do the work for him. Any child that finds himself placed on the naughty list receives a series of automated emails to help them change their ways so they can be moved onto the nice list. Think of it as the “Naughty List Drip Campaign.”
5. He simplified how he books meetings.
As you can imagine, Santa is a busy guy. He runs a workshop, he has a stable out back, he’s in charge of data analytics, and he’s a family man to boot. With so many things going on, it’s easy to see that Santa’s a man who finds himself in a lot of meetings.
In the past, when a head elf, Father Time, or the Easter Bunny wanted to schedule a meeting with him, he’d have to drop everything and shoot them emails back and forth until they settled on a time that worked for everyone. When you’re running an operation responsible for making and delivering billions of toys all over the globe, that’s just too much effort!
Now, Santa automates his meeting bookings by granting other people access to his calendar. This way, they can see when he’s free, book a 15- 30- or 60-minute meeting, and be done with things. When he’s got other commitments, like taste-testing Mrs. Claus’ cookies, he can block the time off so that he never winds up double-booked. He’s definitely found himself to be a lot more efficient in the office when he doesn’t have to stop what he’s doing every 15 minutes to respond to a meeting request.
You can learn from Santa
Santa’s obviously had a lot of success implementing workflows, opening up new communication channels, and streamlining his internal processes. Luckily, virtually any business can see similar benefits as long as they have the right people, processes, and tools in place.