Gilson Elves Deliver Big Results

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When it comes to getting noticed in a crowded marketplace, Gilson has just the magical mix you need to stand out and grab your customers’ attention–just ask the elves!

Our most recent marketing campaign began with a fun idea and a couple of pointy ears. Gilson invited customers and prospects to reduce their holiday frenzy with a small, but particularly eye-catching helper: a customized elf.

The original invitation, in the form of an intriguing, candy-striped box with a peek-a-boo window (revealing a defenseless elf buried in a cotton-ball snow pile), arrived in the mail in mid-November. Inside the box was a personalized invitation to visit the Gilson “workshop” and request a one-of-a-kind elf using the pURL registration site provided.

Success In the Twinkling of an Eye

With the positive results of past Gilson holiday campaigns, we anticipated an enthusiastic response to our invitation. Almost immediately, the statistics confirmed our holiday hopes. Within a week, the response rate already climbed to 25%.

By the time the campaign ended on December 15, the number of elf-wannabes that had visited the site reflected an amazing response rate of 45%. When the snow settled, more than 35% of the original invitation recipients had finalized their elf orders—truly a merry multitude!

Elf, Be Nimble

If there’s one thing Gilson and Santa’s elves have in common, it’s the ability to respond quickly and capably to changing circumstances. In this case, our marketing team noticed a lot of half-finished helpers trapped in elfin limbo. In other words, a significant number of customers began the elf design process but didn’t finalize the order right away.

Gilson jumped into rescue mode, offering assistance through an impromptu “Need Help?” email that was an addition to the original marketing plan. This quick thinking resulted in the rescue of over 20% of the lost elves, upping the overall response rate and demonstrating the value of monitoring and adjusting campaign touch-points to ensure maximum results.

Show Your Style—the Elfin Way

Part of the fun of our interactive holiday campaign was to engage customers in designing their own elves. Every elf uniform involved a few standard components: fur-trimmed Santa hats, curly-toed slippers, and the essential striped tights. Beyond these basics, however, elfin stylists prepared their helpers for the runway, adding personal touches with undeniable flair. After choosing an elf occupation (snowman maker, cookie baker or gift wrapper), customers’ creativity kicked into high gear with uploaded images for the elves’ faces and playful titles for their nametags.  Just a few of our favorites are shown here, but the entire elf gallery is featured here.

Nestled With Care

Once the elf crew was complete, we wanted to ensure they’d arrive at their destination quickly and safely. But mailing a two-foot elf is no small task – unless you engage the design and packaging experts at Gilson.

“Based on the success of our 2015 reindeer campaign, we knew our elf workshop would be bustling, so the production and distribution process had to be smooth,” said Kim Elmore, Gilson Marketing Manager. “To streamline production, keep shipping costs low, and protect the elves during delivery, we came up with a design that incorporated the pop-out elf right into the packaging.”

One side of this fold-up package was printed with shimmering white snowflakes on a white background and the other side was variably printed with the customized elf, easy assembly instructions, and the name and address of the elf-maker. Gilson’s new VUTEk LX3 high-speed large format printer flew through the job with precision, preparing hundreds of elves for their last act in the Gilson workshop.

Release the Elves

Before heading off to spread cheer in homes and offices throughout Santa’s realm, the elves’ final rendezvous was in our efficient packaging department. Two quick folds, a few clear adhesive wafers, and a jolly red belly-band later, the elves were shrink-wrapped and ready to go. While some elves hitched a ride on the delivery truck to reach their destination, most were delivered by Gilson’s very own festive elves (who look strangely similar to our sales team).

Help YoursELF to a Stronger Result

So maybe you’re saying to yourself, “Great story, but elves aren’t really my thing. I need a marketing campaign that supports my business style.”

Never fear! Gilson’s marketing team has an endless supply of ideas and we’re continually dreaming up new campaigns with deliverables that perfectly match our customers’ objectives. With nine services (creative, composition, web services, technology, printing, large format, mailing, packaging, and fulfillment) in our bag of goodies, Gilson has just the right mix to restore the jolly jingle to your ho-hum marketing results!