It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
While the holiday season is in full swing as we head into December, marketers need to keep one thing: when it comes to strategy, the holiday season is a 360-day affair.
Here’s are some of my top tips for planning a successful holiday campaign, as well as a few examples of brands who got it right.
What We’ll Cover:
- A full video rundown of holiday campaign planning
- Why brands need to incorporate holidays into their campaigns
- Examples of successful holiday campaigns from brands
- My top tips for holiday planning
As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, nothing adds that much-needed warmth quite like the holidays. From Ugly Sweater parties to 10-dish feasts, there’s no shortage of festivities come November.
The holiday season typically kicks off right after Thanksgiving. Following their fixings, shoppers with bellies full of turkey and mashed potatoes flock to their favorite retailers hoping to score some major Black Friday deals on clothing, electronics, and everything in between.
With Black Friday pulling in a staggering $6.22 billion in online sales in 2018 and $7.9 billion on Cyber Monday in 2018, according to Adobe Analytics, Thanksgiving weekend marks a critical period for retailers throughout the country.
And now that Turkey Day is a not-so-distant memory, the December shopping rush has officially commenced. Whether they’re keeping their eyes peeled for competitive prices or last-minute online deals, you can expect holiday shoppers to continue buying gifts through Christmas Eve.
The National Retail Federation reports that 53 percent of consumers plan to shop on the last Saturday before Christmas, also known as “Super Saturday.”
If these figures are a testament to anything, it’s that it is never too soon for marketers to start coming up with new ways to leverage holiday fever to capitalize on the impact of their campaigns.
To help lead you on this marketing journey, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide that includes everything you need to launch a successful lead-generating holiday marketing campaign that will give your brand momentum and ensure year-round success.
Watch the Video
From Labor Day to Valentine’s Day, holidays offer a variety of marketing opportunities for businesses big and small.
In fact, when executed successfully, holidays account for some of the highest revenue-driving times for businesses. But many businesses fall flat by only fixating on year-end holidays with general campaigns targeting their entire client base. Holiday-themed marketing needs to be a year-round effort, leaving some wiggle room to execute your campaigns effectively.
Incorporating holiday marketing into your strategy not only shows that your brand is up to date with current events, but that you are in touch with your audience’s current interests and want to participate in their celebration.
With 2020 right around the corner, now is the time to start fleshing out your plan and browsing holiday marketing ideas.
If you can grab your customer base’s attention with a unique campaign, you’ll be well on your way to creating additional revenue for your business.
Examples of Successful Holiday Campaigns
Behind the scenes, brands are busy around the clock, planning, strategizing, measuring, adjusting, and maximizing all the tools at their disposal in the process. They prepare ahead of time, keep a watchful eye on trends, and identify and nurture the right audience with engaging content.
To spread some holiday cheer, we’ve gathered some examples of creative holiday marketing campaigns from seasons past that accurately demonstrate how to successfully theme your marketing around a holiday.
#1: Spotify New Year’s Resolutions
Spotify is the largest subscription music streaming service in the world, which means users have high expectations when it comes to their marketing campaigns.
Wowing users in 2016 with their ‘Thanks, 2016… It’s Been Weird’ campaign, Spotify wrapped up 2017 by showcasing entertaining new year’s resolutions featuring Spotify users and top artists like Sam Smith, Dua Lipa, and Bruno Mars. The resolutions were then accompanied by streaming statistics.
For example, one resolution read, “Be as loving as the person who put 48 Ed Sheeran songs on their ‘I Love Gingers’ playlist.” Underneath, the poster points out that “Shape of You” has become the most-streamed song in music history.
Although Spotify played with the traditional theme of New Year’s resolutions, they incorporated fresh, creative elements that made the average passersby pause and take a second glance at their marketing posters.
#2: Dunkin’ Donuts Dunkin’ Love
In 2014, Dunkin’ Donuts launched a festive user-generated content campaign for Valentine’s Day.
Harnessing the power of social media, the company encouraged customers to compete in a “Dunkin’ Love” Instagram contest, streaming on Facebook Live, and had Snapchat filters available at certain Dunkin’ Donuts locations from February 13-14.
To give customers the opportunity to share even more Dunkin’ love on their phones, Dunkin’ Donuts even added a few special Valentine’s Day images and GIFs to their Emoji Keyboard on their Dunkin’ Mobile App. The keyboard included fun, love-themed phrases like “Be Mine” and “Donuts About You.”
In participating Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants, customers could also order heart-shaped donuts, including Vanilla Truffle, Brownie Batter Crumble, and Cupid’s Choice.
This type of campaign not only showed customers the creative side of Dunkin’ Donuts and their marketing team but revealed how digitally savvy the brand can be with its multi-channel approach.
#3: BMW M3 Royal Edition
BMW has a long history of running clever April Fools’ campaigns and in 2011, the brand’s prank drew inspiration from the Royal Wedding in Great Britain.
This was an extensive effort as BMW ran ads in UK newspapers announcing that in honor of the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, they were releasing a BMW M3 Royal Edition, which would be available to order from dealerships across the country.
Purchasers were given a choice of three exclusive colors – Regal Red, Bridal White, and Imperial Blue and the vehicle was also said to feature a commemorative ‘Will’ emblem. The icing on the cake was BMW’s official press release, where anyone interested in the car was encouraged to contact BMW via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This hoax definitely brought to light the brand’s sense of humor, scoring some big laughs from BMW customers around the world.
#4: WalletHub 4th of July by the Numbers
In 2017, WalletHub decided to celebrate the 4th of July using good old-fashioned content marketing.
The site featured an eye-catching infographic that organized tons of information in a way that’s easily digestible for the average viewer. The campaign included statistics like the number of Americans who own an American flag, as well as the number of hot dogs consumed each Independence Day weekend.
While this campaign is not laser-focused on WalletHub and its offerings, it doesn’t necessarily need to be. During the 4th of July, people generally look up information about the Founding Fathers and other data related to our country’s independence.
Due to the overwhelming success, WalletHub continues to update its infographic each year.
#5: Lush Cosmetics Halloween Collection
For marketers, Halloween presents the perfect opportunity to maximize the positive consumer mindset around the tail-end of the year and create thoughtful marketing campaigns.
Just a week before Friday the 13th this year, Lush kicked off the season with a sneak-peek of their Halloween limited collection. They even created a hashtag campaign on social media called #LushHalloween in which users were able to share their own experience of the Lush Halloween collection. Lush shared previews of collection via social stories, feed content, and user content.
While Halloween-themed campaigns can easily err on the cheesy, gimmicky side, Lush made sure to only use high-quality images and simple, yet engaging content across its social media platforms.
#6: Target Holiday Odyssey
In 2015, Target took holiday storytelling to a whole new level with its ‘Holiday Odyssey’ campaign.
An ongoing adventure story that unfolds across all channels from early November through Christmas day, the campaign perfectly encapsulates the milestones Target shoppers experience during their own buying journey.
One of the most well-received elements of the campaign was a series of short video clips, which included cameos from the Barbie, Minions, and various Star Wars characters. In addition to a dedicated website, Target also integrated the ‘Odyssey’ into its physical stores.
Top Holiday Marketing Tips
There’s no shortage of original ways to market your business during the holidays.
If you’ve got a winning holiday marketing idea, you’ll want to make sure it’s executed well. And while competing for the attention of consumers can be a challenge, there are many ways you can stand out. Here are a few pointers designed to help you navigate the choppy waters of holiday marketing.
#1: Identify Target Audience
Identifying your target market helps your business develop marketing communication strategies that are effective and profitable. Holiday campaigns are typically great lead magnets that help bring in new customers, encouraging them to become potential subscribers of your brand.
When mapping out your content calendar for the year, it’s important to define who your target audience is by finding out which social media platforms they use most, what time of day generates the most engagement, and what device(s) they use.
Having in-depth knowledge of your audience will also help you determine which holidays you should be incorporating into your strategy. For example, if your target audience is Millennial men, a huge Valentine’s Day push may not grab their attention, but an emphasis on holidays like Super Bowl Sunday or St. Patrick’s Day might be more up their alley.
The more you familiarize yourself with your target audience’s behavior, the more success you will have in creating holiday-themed promotions that will appeal to them and drive actionable results.
#2: Determine Creative Direction
While creating content has become commonplace in the day-to-day lives of most marketers, launching a holiday marketing campaign has its own unique set of rules.
Unlike a social media post or an infographic, a successful campaign requires you to align every marketing channel around one specific message.
Like other campaigns, holiday campaigns only run for a certain timeframe, depending on your industry and on the holiday in question. So, it’s important to pursue a creative direction that will pack a punch in a finite amount of time.
#3: Choose Channels
These days, marketers can reach consumers in more ways than ever before. And all these different mediums, formats, and channels are competing for your target audience’s attention.
While it may be easy to get overwhelmed by options like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, fortunately, you don’t need to pay attention to every channel equally. In fact, trying to do so will likely result in failure.
With holiday marketing, you want to make sure you invest your time and money wisely, utilizing only the most impactful channels and tactics that will enhance your overall campaign. It’s more advantageous to master a few channels than to spread resources too thin.
#4: Establish Budget for Each Channel
In order to prepare your budget for holiday marketing initiatives, start by analyzing your yearly or quarterly budget.
From there, you can get a sense of how much money you have to dedicate to your holiday marketing efforts throughout the year. Once you get a clearer idea of how much you can spend, take a closer look at the performance on all your marketing channels. Where are your conversions are coming from? Where are they lacking?
The money you choose to invest is meant to be funneled into the right campaigns, ones that garner a positive response and create the most growth for your business. High priority projects should be allocated more funds than projects that don’t yield the same results.
#5: Measure KPIs
A KPI, or key performance indicator, is a measurable value that identifies and quantifies desired business results. A commonly misunderstood business term, KPIs are only as useful as the actions they inspire.
KPIs that are particularly potent during holidays include site traffic, conversion rate, and average order value.
Site traffic informs you of the number of available customers, while conversion rate calculates the number of sales your site (ecommerce) makes relative to the number of visitors on the site within a given time period.
Similarly, average order value measures the average value in dollars of a sale on your ecommerce site. In addition to the above mentioned KPIs, be sure to also place emphasis on customer loyalty as a valuable KPI.
#6: Set Goals
Before you embark on your holiday campaign adventure, you need to decide what you ultimately want to achieve. Common goals include:
- Improve sales
- Increase brand awareness
- Gather user feedback or content
Once you’ve established some big-picture goals, set smaller, SMART goals, or specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals. The more granular you are, the easier it will be to gauge whether your goals and expectations have been met.
Wrapping it all Together
While feasting and enjoying time off work are definitely perks, the holidays also present a prime opportunity to market your business.
If you start planning now and keep your customers top of mind during every decision you make, you will solidify your brand identity, establish lifetime value with your brand, and inevitably, never miss a holiday marketing opportunity