( Originally Published 1902 )
Well let us talk about it!
Horace Greeley said that if our foresight was as good as our hindsight we would be a blamed sight better off.
Those who have had experience—and necessarily hindsight —will remember last year how important it was to have advertising planned and prepared well in advance. Those who waited till the last minute to select the proper things to advertise, to prepare advertising and arrange for advertising space now remember how such dilatoriness hurt business.
Delayed advertising and poor advertising will hurt this year as well as last year.
Be on time and get up good copy on good values
Which comes pretty near being the keynote of a successful holiday season.
It is next in importance only to a good store and stock. The advertising should be filled with suggestions as to holiday gift-giving.
If you are advertising a $7.98 jacket for women say some-where in the ad that it would make a sensible Christmas present.
If you are advertising a box of perfumeries say a lot about its being especially appropriate as a holiday present.
If you are advertising a jack knife or a pair of skates, shed some printer's ink on the fact that every boy aches for these things Christmas time.
If you are advertising books speak about the long winter evenings which can be whiled away through the generosity and affection of the friend at Christmas.
And so on.
Every imaginable thing sold can be utilized as a Christmas present whether it be a house and lot or a paper of pins. And in speaking of it touch upon its desirability and uses as a Christmas present.
A reaction has set in in the past few years from giving trumpery, ornamental articles as Christmas gifts in favor of presents that are sensible and useful.
This is a good point to advertise.
Tell the public that your stock of Christmas gifts have been selected with an eye to their utilization—that while you have large varieties of holiday merchandise in which every taste and style are centered, yet service and practicability have never yet been overlooked. This argument will appeal to the great mass of people who are looking for sensible goods as Christmas gifts.
Many persons have no idea of what they want, until they get into the store and then are only confused by the mass of suggestion. Help them out in advance by suggestions in your advertising.
This is a good point for the advertiser.
For the infant there is so and so—for the boy there is this line of goods—for the girl there is that list of articles—for the young lady here is an assortment that somewhere ought to hit her tastes—for the matron there is a fine line of household needs and articles of personal wear—for the middle aged man there is a pipe—a pocketbook—a razor or what not—for the grandparents another list that appeals to their individual wishes, and so on until every age and wish are cleverly met in the advertising.
A good plan is to give lists of articles for certain sums. For instance 5c. will buy so many things—loc. so many articles-25c. another list—5oc. heads another bargain column and so on.
What holiday shoppers look for principally are suggestions. From " an embarrassment of riches " their minds become con-fused and they grasp eagerly at suggestions cleverly put.
Although this is the twentieth century Santa Claus is as much in evidence this season as ever before. Swing the old gentleman in your advertising talk about him in type and tell how he gets his supplies from your great doll stock, toy stock or whatever stock you wish to bring most forcibly before the children. Run in his picture in your advertising—he is a pleasant piece of fiction, to be sure, but he throws an always welcome glamour over the advertising:
The advertising does not stop at the newspaper page. It only begins there and should travel through every legitimate path—with posters, window displays, counter displays, and special displays on the inside floors.
The good storekeeper is a good judge of human nature, and the moment Mrs. Smith or Mrs. Jones enters his store she is greeted with sound suggestions as to what to buy. He puts himself in the proper attitude—listening deferentially to her ideas—volunteering suggestions of his own-until the lady goes off happy in the completion of her Christmas purchases.
If in his daily personal intercourse with customers he is an encyclopaedia of suggestions, so should he be in his advertising; and if it properly gives the sentiments of the season and business, his Christmas advertising will prove suggestive, helpful, timely and beneficial.