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Santa’s Marketing Secrets for Radio

A No-Nonsense Marketing Smart Tip

December 17, 2003


I’ve interviewed a bunch of biggies in this publication, but never anyone as big (metaphorically speaking) as that jolly old elf himself, Santa Claus. Who would have thought that St. Nick would have top drawer marketing advice for broadcasters? “Santa Claus Inc. is well and profitable” writes Sean D’Souza of, a site committed to “unlocking the mystery of the business brain.” Sean has written an article called “Ho! Ho! Ho! Why Santa’s Marketing Works Better than Yours.” Read on for the proof.

Santa, what’s the secret to your success?

“Consistency! Generation after generation have been exposed to one brand, one message, and the same powerful imagery. I stand for ‘hope.’ It’s that consistency that takes my jingle all the way to the bank.”

“You folks in Radio are so impatient. Not only don’t you give your marketing and positioning enough time to work, you generally don’t invest in it in the first place, thus dooming it to abject failure. If the audience doesn’t know what you stand for – if it’s different or fuzzy all the time – how are you ever going to build a successful brand? There’s a reason Radio legends stand the test of time: They consistently do what they do, year in and year out.”

Santa, what makes you stand out so vividly?

“Listen, do you know anyone else who comes to visit on a sleigh in the middle of the night? I stand out because I’m so different! Being consistent is great, but if you’re not consistently unique, who cares? Hey, who’s the reindeer you know best? The only one with the red nose, of course! But check it, Rudolph isn’t just different, he’s different with a specific benefit: His nose helps us see where the, heck…we’re going.”

“I fly all around the world and I listen to a lot of radio, and as far as I can tell that old maxim the Unique Selling Proposition is news to a lot of broadcasters. I mean, I’m flying over New York and I hear like three Christmas music stations. That’s too much even for me! Follow my example: Be different, but not just for the sake of being different. Be different with a specific benefit for your audience.”

Santa, Time Spent Listening is a big issue in Radio. How do you keep your customers so loyal?

“You have to stop thinking of yourself and focus on what the customer – or listener – needs. I give and give and give. As a result, I have earned the trust of my customers. And I know them inside out – if they’re sleeping, if they’re awake, if they’re bad or good, yadda, yadda, yadda.”

“I see Radio stations obsessing on themselves and each other. New stations appear in markets to round out portfolios rather than to fulfill any evident listener needs. Stations compete over phrases like “most variety” and “best variety” not realizing, to quote my friend the Grinch, that to the audience it’s all so much noise, noise, noise. In my view, broadcasters need to dialogue with listeners, talk like listeners, listen to listeners. Then you’ll earn their trust, their loyalty, and their most precious gifts of all: Their attention. listenership, and time.”

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