We're getting dangerously close to Christmas now, but there's still time to get your brand out there with some festive promotions...
Whatever your personal views of the festive season are, Christmas is less than seven weeks away - and businesses need to begin planning now if they haven't already got a seasonal strategy in place. Most businesses can enjoy a significant upturn in sales during the holiday season, but competition is high, folks. Without a carefully conceived and executed strategy, you run the risk of missing out on those vital sales. Bear in mind that £41 billion was spent in British stores last Christmas, according to the ONS.
Too many good businesses fail to pay sufficient attention to event-based marketing and view Christmas as just another period in the business calendar. So, what do you need to do to make the most of those festive sales?
Start preparing your Christmas marketing plan. Now.
Leave Plenty of Time
We know, we know - but ignore the planning and time management stage at your peril. Ideally, you need to start this in summer, but a couple of months are generally the minimum for a strong campaign, depending on what you're hoping to achieve.
A good method is to work backwards as you think about the ideas and approaches that you will use to create impact and engagement with your customers. Factor in lead times, and bear in mind the latest realistic date for sales and fulfilment for your product, recognising that it may be before Christmas week itself.
The holiday season is a perfect fit for creativity and innovation. Smaller businesses actually have the advantage here, as they have fewer restrictions. However, some big brands also get it right every year. John Lewis is the obvious example, creating its instant-classic TV advert every Christmas:
For smaller businesses with smaller budgets, the use of digital and quirky ideas can be a fast track to a seasonal campaign. For example:
- You could add small promotions into all deliveries – something thoughtful, themed and matched to your product. This could be an add-on mini of a product range or a tester for a new release.
- Offer free next-day delivery for those impulse and last-minute buys.
- Create a Christmas competition – perhaps related to the best seasonal jumper or the use of your product in an innovative, festive way – and launch it via social media.
- Create a Christmas to-do list template and give it to your clients.
- If you work in B2B, think hard about the gifts that you give to your important clients, partners and suppliers, and take the time to meet up with each stakeholder before the holidays.
- Support a local charity with a seasonal fundraising campaign that wins hearts and minds.
- Put a huge Christmas tree outside your premises and create a local landmark.
'Tis the season for gift giving...
Promotional gifts are the perfect way to make clients feel appreciated during the festive season. Here are a few ideas to get you started...
Resource the Plans
Once you have your creative ideas and festive marketing plan in place, make sure you devote sufficient resources to seeing them realised. Assign a manager to project–manage the Christmas marketing campaign, with a cross-functional team that includes representatives from marketing, sales and customer services. Give it internal importance and communicate your key festive messages and campaign milestones to staff, so that they are all on board and committed to generating a business push before Santa comes!
Ascertain What Success Looks Like
When you have planned your campaign ideas and allocated resources, make sure you also have KPIs and objectives in place, so that you can measure ROI for your activity. This will also provide important benchmark data for the following year and help you to identify the activities that brought the most return and those which can be left aside or revisited in a new way for any future campaign.
With this plan in place, you can look forward to a busy and profitable Christmas period!