When Should You Start Planning Your Holiday Marketing Promotions? Now!
As soon as Labor Day weekend comes to an end, Halloween decorations start popping up in stores. And the minute Halloween is over, holiday marketing promotions will be up. No matter how much complaining we might do about how “Christmas décor comes out earlier and earlier every year,” you might want to take a cue from retail stores and prepare your holiday marketing promotions early.
Factors that influence early holiday marketing promotions
According to The National Retail Federation, 40% of gift givers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween. If that number seems high to you, consider how many shoppers like to spread out their spending over multiple months or how many of them like to avoid the stress of last-minute shopping.
Early shoppers are just one reason for you to start planning early. Another reason is your sales cycle. How long does it typically take your customers to decide to use your product? Does your product require any research or education? Do your customers need to look for sizes or ask questions? How many competitors do you have that they might be researching as well? If the weight of the decision is a heavier one, you definitely want to get a head start on your holiday marketing promotions.
Another factor you should keep in mind is affordability. Are your products or services considered luxury items? Are they more of an investment that will require planning ahead? Is it something that the average shopper will need to save for to afford? If the answer is yes to any of those, your shoppers will start to consider them as gifts much earlier, and you’ll need to match your advertising to be in the running for consideration.
The amount of research required and affordability are factors that will influence your decision to begin your holiday marketing promotions early. Unlike companies that specialize in impulse buys or last-minute shoppers, you’ll need to prime your customers to choose you for gifts earlier than others.
The amount of work behind holiday marketing promotions
Don’t forget the time and resources that go into holiday marketing promotions. How much time does it take you to setup a holiday campaign? Are you working with a vendor or agency? If so, you need to include their lead time in your timing calculations. Think about every single aspect that goes into a campaign. Design time, proofing time, email creation time, social media time, promotion time, etc. Your customers aren’t the only reason to get an early start; you need time to plan and execute an effective campaign.
The same factors — research required and affordability — apply to your internal campaigns too. The more moving parts your promotions need, the earlier you need to start planning. Marketing during the holidays is how your company stands out among the competition, and you have to take the necessary steps to make it happen.
Use the past as a guide. Talk to your team to find out how long it has taken holiday promotions to come together in the past. Find out how long it takes to set up each step of the campaign, pencil in each of these steps ahead of when you want the promotion to start running, and create a working schedule for everyone with due dates, taking into consideration any vacations or holidays that might affect your timeline.
When it comes to promotions, you need to consider not only your customers’ needs, but your needs as well. Marketing your special offers is crucial during the holiday — it’s how your store stands out. You need to have adequate time to plan ahead, talk with your team, and set aside the proper resources.
Don’t forget to plan for December 26th
One of the biggest shopping days is the day after Christmas, since many folks receive gift cards or cash as a gift and want to purchase some items for themselves. It would be a mistake to forget attracting customers after the holidays have ended. A well-timed promotion can motivate a purchase. If you don’t want to run the same holiday marketing promotions after the holidays have ended, you need to have a plan in place for what will run.
You may be thinking, “but I have plenty of time to figure that out.” Do you? If your company has a lot of holiday sales, your team may be too busy to appropriately plan for and execute another campaign during this season. Additionally, think of how many holidays — and vacation time — occur between November and January. Your team will definitely be stretched thin in more ways than one. No, the best time to consider your post-holiday promotions is when planning your holiday campaigns.
Starting your holiday marketing promotions in September isn’t sounding quite so insane now, right? Go ahead, get a head start on your marketing planning. Your December self will thank you.
Need some help with your holiday marketing promotions? Give us a call.