Planning for Christmas: Holiday Strategy

Planning for Christmas: Holiday Strategy

If you’re a digital marketer (or a marketer, in general), then you already know that you ought to have already started planning for Christmas. For those of us that don’t quite understand, Christmas is still a few months away. However, in the world of [digital] marketing, Christmas started in July. Digital marketers have been drawing up strategies for garnering new customers, retaining old ones and ultimately selling more.

So, as a business owner, how does this concern you? The fact is that you too ought to start getting ready for Christmas. However, while the marketers are primarily thinking about raising awareness and driving sales, your tasks are much more complex. The holiday period generally comes with a frenzy, so amongst other things, you want to make sure:

  • You’re well positioned to take your share of the huge spending that will be done during the period
  • You’re able to successfully cater to your customers – your order fulfillment process needs to be able to handle the strain
  • You’re able to reel in new customers, while pampering the old ones
  • Your staff need to be prepared and equipped – they will probably have to work overtime in that period
  • You have a decorating theme – for your offices, shops, online etc.
  • You are prepared!

The first step for holiday season preparations is drawing up a holiday strategy. You need to sit down with your team and work out how you plan to go through the holiday season. You want to have a plan in place before you set out. This is will help guide your decision-making process.

Things to Consider when drawing up a strategy for the holiday season

1. What worked last year might not work this year

Customers can be fickle (and we love them for it). For example, if you run a mobile phone store last year and you were giving away free selfie sticks as part of your promotion, that strategy will probably not be as effective this holiday season as it was last year. Why? Because most people that want selfie sticks already have one now (Correct me if I’m wrong). That said, you do not have to throw away everything and start again – no! What you want to do is carefully go through your strategy for last year, check out what worked and can still be useful – keep that, see what didn’t quite work – ditch that, and see what worked then, but may not work now – revamp. Check out new marketing trends – what’s hot in your industry, what’s not, what your target market is saying, what your customers are saying, etc. It’s always a good place to start.

2. Think of new promotions

Even if you have standard promotions that you run year on year, which your customers have come to expect, you want to add something new – trust me. There is a difference between being consistent and being predictable. Find the balance, make it work.

Being consistent can work for you such that if your customers expect a certain add-on service in the holiday season, you are sure to deliver. However, if you provide the same service, in the same way, year on year, you become predictable. As a result, you run the risk of boring your customers and you make yourself an easy target for your competitors – keep them guessing.

Think of something new. Think of a new way to delight your customers. Everyone likes a (good) surprise :-).

3. Draw up a schedule/budget

Yes, running your business in the holiday season is a project and should be managed as one. Do not take off without putting down how much you plan to spend and how you plan to spend it. The worst thing you can do to yourself is ‘freestyle‘ your Christmas spending. You’ll be in for a rude awakening come January.

Put down how much you can afford to spend on advertising, promotions, overtime, bill excesses, etc. Have dates when you’ll roll out your new holiday promos, adverts and such. Update your website and social media accounts. Organize and prep your staff. Check out 12 Days of Christmas.

4. Advertising: Create, Test, Measure

Although Christmas adverts kick off in November, ow is the time to make sure they’re perfect. Those lovely M&S and John Lewis adverts are not created overnight. They take time, focus groups, revisions. I am by no means comparing your company to them, but taking a leaf from their book could really help.

Therefore, start now to talk to consultants, your in-house advertising/media team and everyone involved in driving sales to your business. Gather focus groups to test your adverts. This way, you have a fair idea how your customers will feel upon seeing your new adverts. Continually revise the adverts till you have IT. The earlier you begin, the more time you have to test and measure, the better your chances of creating the advert that you really want. START NOW!

Happy Holidays in Advance, folks! Until next time…