Sir: I was interested to read that Thorntons is to run more deals on its premium products as part of a revised approach to Christmas (‘Thorntons rethinks its festive promo strategy to avoid repeat of 2011’, 24 November). The ‘smarter promotional strategy’ seems entirely the right response to customer behaviour last year and everyone’s ongoing drive for value. However, there are other year-round approaches that could make this strategy even more effective.
Thorntons already has a strong fanbase, a blossoming social media presence and a very friendly conversation under way with its fans. Building on this, Thorntons should aim to separate itself further from the competition by engaging more deeply with its audience and building the kind of year-round loyalty that makes shoppers look beyond price, especially at Christmas where the competition is strong but so are the emotional triggers. With core channels such as eCRM, Facebook and Twitter already in place, it has established basics and good customer service practices but there’s still plenty of scope to build on these foundations.
And by building a bigger role for the brand in our everyday lives, Thorntons becomes more of an essential buy at the key gift giving moments, and less of a discretionary one. After all, a great marketing strategy is for life, not just for Christmas.
Liz Wilson, CEO, CMW