I'm sitting here in my local Starbuck's listening to Christmas music, and it's driving me crazy. The employees are tired of listening to people complain about the music (it started a week ago). If I had someplace else to go that offered T-Mobile Wireless access, I wouldn't come to Starbuck's until after Thanksgiving, but as it is, I'm stuck.
From a marketing perspective, I just don't get it. I don't know a single individual who actually likes listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. We completely skip an entire holiday in the name of commercialism, and the Christmas season seems to start earlier every year. If I were running a retail store, I'd make it a point to 1) listen to what customers want, and 2) give it to them. Hey, what a novel concept. To be the only place in town that's not playing Christmas music 6 weeks before Christmas would be a huge point of difference and a great selling point. Maybe even celebrate Thanksgiving... but what commercial value is there in Thanksgiving? Quite a lot, I think. People have grown so tired of commercialism and they're longing for a return to a simpler time when friends and family meant more than buying stuff. The pendulum is starting to swing back to focusing on what's important in life, and marketers will be wise to respond to this trend. It's time to get creative about how to balance short-term profits with long-term connections with customers (which actually leads to more profits). Companies need to stop expecting customers to adjust their lives to fit the corporate agenda... and instead learn how to adjust to fit into their customer's lives.