It’s a week before Halloween, but before we can say boo, the holiday shopping season will be in full swing. Some retailers, like Kmart and Toys “R” Us, have already launched their marketing efforts. Many others will begin any day now. And while each holiday season has its own share of challenges, this year the hurdles seem to be a bit different from years past. There are fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hanukkah starts the night before Thanksgiving. Add to that what has become the typical economic uncertainty, especially on the heels of the government shutdown.
Despite the possible barriers, the National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to rise by 3.9 percent, even though the average shopper is expected to spend two percent less than last year. So, what does this all add up to? Predictions are for a very promotional holiday season.
For brands, especially those still on the fence about marketing efforts, this bodes well. While many marketers have been planning their holiday campaigns for months now, simple yet effective initiatives can easily still be added to your holiday marketing wish list and ultimately make your season jolly. Here are a few ideas to get you started that you can execute faster than you can fry up a batch of latkes or bake cookies for Santa.
Miracle on TV: Isn’t it every marketer’s goal to get their brand on TV during the holiday season? So that means television morning and daytime talk show producers are inundated with ideas for holiday segments they might be planning. Take a different approach this year. Instead of pitching producers, build relationships with the show contributors. Find out what the show has contracted them for and provide creative suggestions in order to get your brand included. If you go this route, you can’t be a scrooge because contributors have to make a living too, so be prepared to spend some budget dollars to solidify your partnership.
12 Web Stories of the Season: As marketers, we know websites and blogs are often trusted resources that have proven to motivate consumers to purchase. Combine this with Shop.org forecasting online holiday sales will grow between 13 and 15 percent this year, and ensuring your brand’s product or service is listed in prominent online holiday stories becomes a must. But how do you break through the clutter? Get personal. Reaching far and wide to secure media placements may leave you feeling bah humbug, so spend time now tailoring your outreach to hit your target audience and it will pay off later. For the sake of the holiday season, let’s say 12 strategic and strong online placements instead of 112 might just make your sales figures that much brighter.
Rockin’ Social Media: Facebook is the platform to focus your efforts. Run holiday related contests right on your timeline to engage fans, just like BISSELL did last year with their 12 Days of Holiday Messes promotion that simply asked fans to answer the question posted each day for 12 days for their chance to win a BISSELL product. Offer special coupons and discounts that only fans can access. Or even let them help decide what will be on sale, like Tea Collection asked Facebook fans to help decide items of their Black Friday sale last year. Share valuable content related to the season that will interest and entertain your followers. While Facebook generates the most engagement, don’t forget about the other guys. According to The Women’s Buying Behavior Index, Pinterest is a good source for holiday gift ideas. For your brand, it might be as simple as creating a board relevant to your holiday offerings.
Don’t be left feeling like the Grinch. Get out there and ring some bells. It’s (almost) the most wonderful time of year!