It’s time for another Marvellous Marketing Spotter’s Guide, this time inspired by a gift Pip was sent by a business pal over Christmas. The gift received? The feel-good factor and a conscience-boost! Ok, that wasn’t the actual gift. The actual gift was an Oxfam Unwrapped Fantastic Farm Kit to help struggling farmers in Ghana, but it did provide that feel good factor, without having to do anything!

Upon receipt of the gift, we did a little digging to find out more, discovering some brilliant marketing along the way. The key to the success of this marketing is that the seller (Oxfam) has clearly spent time developing a deep understanding of its market.

Last Christmas it seemed as if there was a huge uptick in the number of people thinking twice before sending loads of Christmas cards or buying people stuff they don’t need. Oxfam, recognising this change in consumer behaviour, realised that they could be onto a winner by offering an alternative for those who are striving to be a more conscious consumer. Here’s their copy:

 “Fed up with giving presents that will simply sit on the shelf? Why not check out our range of Oxfam Unwrapped charity gift ideas instead? These poverty-busting presents are guaranteed to raise a smile and are transforming lives around world. Buying our charity gifts is as easy as 123.”

These few sentences identify the problem and present the solution beautifully. They let us know that Oxfam Unwrapped gifts are fun and easy to purchase, not losing sight of customers’ needs whilst highlighting the good they’re doing in the world.

There are gifts for every budget, ranging from £5 for a Fantastic Farm Kit, to £500 for Safe Water For A Village. But this isn’t just about handing over some cash and drily telling the recipient that you’ve made a donation to charity in their name. Oxfam have made it fun! I mean, how often do you get the opportunity to tell someone you’ve bought them a Super-Powered Pineapple?! The gifts on offer also have one eye on the triggers that might lead people to their website. For instance, you can buy a ‘Christmas pile of poo’, Valentine honey bees and Mother’s Day care for mums and babies.

Any sales and marketing expert will tell you that too much choice can lead to overwhelm and indecision, with potential customers scarpering before actually making a purchase. But the clever folk at Oxfam have thought of that too, with categories that allow you to quickly filter by budget or the types of project you’d like to support.

Buying a gift is easy, with options to send personalised messages to your recipients even if you’re buying in bulk. But it doesn’t stop there: Oxfam has also considered the experience of the person receiving the gift, recognising this as a prime opportunity to convert a stranger to a fan. Gifts sent by email are delivered by Archie the goat, the graphics are bright and engaging and – this is genius – there’s a ‘say thank you’ button that lets you send a quick message of thanks at the touch of a button. Oh, and Oxfam doesn’t miss a trick! At that point, whilst you’re feeling good and marvelling at the thoughtfulness of your pal, you’re invited to opt-in if you’d like to stay in touch with Oxfam.

When marketing makes life easier, especially at such a busy time of year, it’s definitely on to a winner. You start to feel a sense of gratitude to the brand for lightening your workload, and this good feeling opens the door for the brand and its communications to sneak into your world on a more regular basis. For a non-profit this good feeling and willingness to engage is vital, it means that when a funding crisis develops, they have the ‘permission’ (both implied and actual) to get in touch with both gift giver and receiver to ask for help or donations.

What could you learn from this? Are there things you could do now to make life easier for your customers? Give someone the gift of a smoother day and you’ll open the communications door with them too.

Good stuff!