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Digital Marketing

’tis the Season for Holiday Marketing!

December 6, 2016

Working on your 2016 holiday marketing campaigns? Well, it’s about time anyway.

It’s that time of the year when every marketing calendar in every company across this world is being colored red, white and green for the biggest retail season of the year. And if you haven’t uncapped your sharpies just yet, well, it’s about time you do and get your calendars going!

Planning Christmas marketing campaigns is a big stakes game. And while there is no good time to start working on it (some companies start the holiday campaign talks as early as May-June), there is no good reason for someone to not tap the biggest retail and trade season of the year. Even companies with a very small customer-facing retail function agree that running promotions during the periods between October and December bears some of the best results for them. Mostly because the sentiments, in general, this time of the year across global markets, favor new buys, a search of better deals and willingness to spend big bucks.

But the challenge of nailing the holiday marketing gets more and more difficult every year. Especially with the growing popularity of Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays, and Flash sales, crafting holistic digital marketing strategies for the holiday season feels like an exercise in creative duplication.

How do you break away from this overstretch? Is it even possible to innovate during the holidays? What are the best marketing strategies for the holiday season? Especially the ones which deliver maximum bang for the buck?

Truthfully speaking, there is no one, perfect trick. But there are tricks you can adopt for making sure you get the most out any effort you put in.

Drawing from our own experience of so many years of helping plan for the holidays, here’s our take on what’s likely to be big this holiday season. Here’s our list of top five must-adopt tactics for you Christmas and holiday marketing campaigns to get the most out your investment this festive season.

Be present across all relevant marketing channels

If you are a retailer (or an e-tailer), this is ‘the first thing’ you need to start with. Because this is the time everyone is looking to spend big, understand that they are looking everywhere possible. They are looking for better deals and they are unlikely to limit their shopping to a channel or two. Explore all relevant market places (from Amazon to Best Buy) as a marketing channel this season. These are places most people flock to during the holiday season, so it might pay to amp up your presence on these channels. Also, most of these channels have pretty nifty advertising services, which you can make use of this time of the year.

Tip: If you have the budget and the resources for it, get your brand across multiple marketplaces this season.

Amp up the emailers and newsletters

Once you have narrowed down the marketing channels, start working on your communication and messaging. One popular medium these days are the branded emailers and newsletters. We love this particular mode of communication because it always drives the maximum amount of value. It costs close to nothing, reaches out to relevant audiences every time, and you get a lot of creative liberties, too. What’s more is that you can always plan your push-email scheduled well in advance, all with the right set of tools, and that’s one thing you do not need to monitor in real-time (well, not as much). It’s worth paying your email strategies a re-look this time of year. Invest in top quality creatives, ditch the stock photos and humanize the content.

As far as distribution is concerned, it’s never ok to bombard your audiences with emails. Figure out the best times to tap, think thoughtful headlines, and tap the sentiments of the hour.

Tip: To improve your email targeting, create appropriate audience buckets. Then, customize messages to their interests to make a significant impact.

Think visuals

This has been, and remains, one of the most impactful strategies to establish your brand during the holidays. All top-line brands get immensely creative with their visuals, accommodating their products to the themes in all sorts of creative ways — coffee cups that turn into trees, trees on top of cars, and cars that take you to you holiday destinations with ease. Every product can be spun into a holiday scene if you really think creatively about it all.

Think how can your product relevantly soak in some of the red, white and green. Invest in high-quality photography and if there was ever a time to incentivise your creatives development team, it is now!

Tip: Not every product can play to the holiday symbolism. If that’s the case, figure out if there is something else you can speak through your visuals — a holiday emotion, a thought or a lack of.

Think videos

This is also that time of the year when you see many brands come out with videos about their brand’s core stories and those on how it taps into a holiday-induced sentiment all too well. Remember the apple iPhone ad about ‘making moments’? It did it subtly, but oh-so-effectively. It did not call to action a reason to buy an iPhone, but subtly emphasized how having something like an iPhone is a great way to capture all the shared moments of celebrations with family and friends. *Subtle. All too subtle. *

Holiday season is the best time to talk emotions to your audiences, and videos are the best way to voice them. Plus, videos have a strong tendency for virality, and that’s always a desirable goal to chase this time of the year.

Tip: You do not need to spend a lot to get a holiday brand video in place. Something as simple as a video about what you and the employees of the company are doing this season has as much potential to do well.

Focus on people. Not the process.

An important thing to remember is that holiday season is all about the people. It’s not about you or the brand. It’s about what your people think about the season, what are their sentiments like this time of the year, and how can you tap into those sentiments — with an offering, an idea or a simple holiday greeting, perhaps.

Tip: A great way to bring people into focus by talking about how your brand impacts the lives of its people — customer, society or employees. And be sure to share it across all social channels.

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