Six Steps to Holiday Marketing Success

holiday shopping cart

The clock is already ticking away this holiday marketing season. Many plans have already been rolled out and have been capturing those early shopper dollars. Some strategies might work year after year; however, new technologies present marketers with new ideas as well as new challenges. How do you know your holiday strategy will succeed?

Before knowing “HOW,” you need to know “WHO” you should be marketing to.

If you have products/services that are generally considered male-oriented, you might avoid marketing to women – when, in reality, that is exactly who you should focus on.

So what are some common mistakes that marketers make?

Wrong thinking: “Women are a niche.” They are not! Women are economic powerhouses. Women account for 85 percent of all consumer purchases, including everything from autos to healthcare. Moms represent a $2.4 trillion market. Make sure your marketing budget allocates a generous share to “woo” this group.

Wrong thinking: “Women like to browse and be entertained while shopping online – just like when they go to the mall.” They do not! Making informed purchasing decisions is an online woman shopper's goal.

“Seventy-eight percent of women in the U.S. use the Internet for product information before making a purchase, and 33 percent research products and services online before buying offline” ( It is actually very different than the stereotyped meandering, social, offline "mall cruising" behavior.

Wrong thinking: “Focusing on women will alienate men.” It will not! If you incorporate the information and customer-service desires of women into your product, service and website, you are bound to give everyone a better experience with your brand. One small caveat: Don’t patronize women by using cliché feminine colors in your marketing – thinking that alone will do the trick. It will alienate both men and women. Don’t just make it pink. Give us better … design, quality, etc.

Now that we have a picture of the “WHO,” let’s look at the “HOW.”

Six must-have tactics this holiday season:

  1. Re-targeting: This tactic is still hot, hot, hot! Re-marketing far surpassed every other strategy for delivering impacts. This level of reach and effectiveness is a must-do for every marketer; however, you must be sensitive to the consumer’s experience with your brand. Make sure that your strategy is relevant and timely.
  2. Video: According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), “difficulty measuring ROI” stood out above all others as the strongest hindrance to use of video ads. Marketers and business owners might be frustrated with metrics because they view click-through rates (CTR) as a success measure of equal value to actual product sales and site visits. But you should know that CTR — at least when used in isolation — is not necessarily the best way to measure video-ad success.
  3. Go beyond “likes”: Do you have a plan to turn Facebook fans into actual sales? What is the path you want them to take? Are you looking for direct response or for a long-tail approach? You need a plan to grow these relationships.
  4. Don’t forget Pinterest and Instagram: Users have gone from dabbling to (in some cases) full-out addiction. It’s gotten more personal and highly effective at leading consumers to your website.
  5. Make your message fit the media: E-commerce (electronic) and M-commerce (mobile) are both important, but it’s a different experience for your consumer. Make sure to think through how your ads will look on a monitor vs. on a tablet vs. on a smartphone. We are seeing tablet traffic grow at triple digits, and tablet users have higher average order values and higher conversion rates than smartphone users do. “Most shoppers are using mobile devices to research products and to comparison-shop, whereas shoppers will use tablets to purchase a gift. Therefore, branding campaigns should leverage mobile devices, and direct-response campaigns should be focused on tablets" (MarketingSherpa).
  6. Timing is everything!: Thanksgiving falls on November 22. This adds two days to the shopping period that begins on Thanksgiving and ends on Christmas Eve.Last year, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day fell during a weekend; this year, Christmas Eve is on a Monday. The result? Five full weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve – one more weekend than last year!

The secret weapon that will maximize your share of holiday spending is an Integrated Marketing Campaign that synergistically works together to give you exponentially more than the sum of its parts. Reach out to one of our marketing consultants today to get your customized plan.

written by: Snow Cahill