A strategic marketing plan is crucial to success during the holiday season. This plan needs to account for a variety of factors that will influence outcomes, before the strategy is executed with utmost effectuality. The leading question that many brands face, however, is how soon should you make a start on their holiday marketing efforts?
Sarah Kauter – MD of the award-winning PR and marketing agency, VerriBerri – has helped to develop seasonal campaigns for a wide variety of clients and, as such, is perfectly placed to answer this question. There isn’t, however, a single right answer, but there are several things that brands should consider when contemplating the ideal time to kick off their holiday marketing.
Have You Started Yet?
Most would agree that holiday planning and shopping seem to start earlier as each year passes. No sooner have the Halloween decorations been packed away than the shop windows are emblazoned with elves and fake snow. With a potential recession on everyone’s minds – not to mention the highest rate of inflation since 1991 – it’s been predicted that shoppers will start prepping for the holidays even earlier this year, so they can secure the gifts they want before prices rise yet again. In fact, out of those surveyed, a considerable 40% of shoppers intend to do exactly this.
With this in mind, it’s more important than ever for companies to lay the foundations of their holiday marketing planning early, in order to leverage this hectic season. Whilst all the details may not be finalised until November, initiating their holiday marketing software strategy as early as July or August is strongly advised. So, if you haven’t started planning yet, don’t panic! You still have time to develop a sensational strategy that will resonate with shoppers this season.
Seize the Advantage of Early Preparation
Starting your holiday marketing planning early allows brands to gain a competitive edge over their competitors. By initiating the planning process well in advance, businesses will have a much easier time securing the necessary resources, such as budgets, personnel, and creative assets. This early advantage enables brands to be more strategic and thoughtful in their approach, resulting in a well-executed campaign.
To effectively plan ahead, It’s best to create a timeline that outlines key milestones and deadlines for each aspect of the marketing campaign. You can then identify and allocate resources accordingly. This includes anything from budget and staff to external vendors or agencies. Conducting market research to understand consumer trends and preferences is also a great idea, as it allows you to tailor your messaging and offers to meet your customer’s expectations.
Build Anticipation and Generate Excitement
Launching early Christmas holiday marketing campaigns helps brands to build anticipation and generate excitement among their target audience, and, simply put, the earlier you start planning, the sooner you can launch! By introducing pre-holiday content and promotions, brands can capture attention and create a sense of suspenseful excitement, leading to increased customer engagement and loyalty.
Develop a content strategy that revolves around the holiday theme, incorporating elements of joy, nostalgia, and a general togetherness. Leverage various channels – such as social media, email marketing, and blog posts – to share engaging and relevant content that instils your target audience with the spirit of the holidays. Consider offering exclusive sneak peeks, limited-time promotions, or early access to products or services to reward loyal customers and entice new ones.
Optimising Advertising and Promotional Efforts
An early start to holiday marketing planning enables brands to optimise their advertising and promotional efforts for maximum reach and effectiveness. By launching campaigns ahead of competitors, brands can capture consumer attention before they become inundated with holiday messages from other companies.
Develop a comprehensive advertising strategy that includes targeted online ads, influencer partnerships, and traditional media outlets, whilst using data analytics to identify the most effective marketing channels and messaging for your target audience. It’s always worth optimising your website too, to accommodate increased traffic and facilitate seamless online transactions when the shoppers inevitably turn to the internet for a more relaxed gift-buying experience.
By the time November comes around, brands need to have their holiday marketing strategy in full swing. Your local supermarket has cleared out all the pumpkins and stocked up on Baileys. No matter the industry, this is the time to put on a show for the upcoming holidays.
Sarah Kauter – MD of the PR and marketing agency, VerriBerri