The month of July is upon us. The sun is shining, kids are getting out of school, and you probably think I’m crazy for talking about holiday marketing, but hear me out. While everyone else is thinking about their Moms, Dads, and Grads marketing campaigns, you need to start planning your holiday marketing campaign. Here’s why.
1. It’s not as far away as you think. From the consumer’s perspective, the holiday season kicks off on Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving) and culminates on Christmas Eve. From a marketer’s perspective, we need to have everything locked down and set in stone by Halloween (October 31) at the latest. Knowing how crazy the holiday season is for getting placement and promotion, it’s better to have everything squared away by October first.
2. Competition is high. On November 1, businesses start to feel the crisp fall chill in the air just before their brains melt with panic: We haven’t started our Christmas marketing yet! Don’t be like them, because chances are, all the places you want to be seen have their ad and promo inventory already bought out, no doubt by people who have read this article. Which leaves you with the gratin (in Cajun, gratin is the name for stuff stuck at the bottom of the pan when you cook), or even worse, nothing. Avoid competition by calling around now, getting the locked-in prepaid rate.
3. Around 20% of retail sales happen between Black Friday and Christmas. But I’m not in retail! you say. I understand, but let me explain. During the holiday season, people want to spend money. So no matter what your business, you can expect your prospective customers to be more willing to part with their dollars, both online and in person, for things they may have put off. You want to be in the right place at the right time to get that person to spend money on what you offer, retail or not.
4. The post-holiday hangover makes January a down month. For those outside the health and fitness genre, January can be a brutal month. This is because a lot of people overspend and overextend during the holidays, and cut back during January. Also, because a lot of people take holiday vacations, sometimes that person who you want to write the check is out of town until the 15th, and when he returns will be overwhelmed by the emails and voicemails he needs to sort through. Expect to hear back from him sometime in mid-February. Too late. People overspend during the holidays and underspend at the beginning of the following year. Make hay while the sun is shining. Use your marketing to get their money while they are in a spending mood.
5. Corporate budgets go on lockdown in September. So between September and December, no new purchases are authorized and the finance guys are closing the books for the year (usually accompanied by a budget freeze). Sealing the deal now keeps you out of budget purgatory.
– Start thinking about your holiday marketing
– Make a list of promotional opportunities you want to pursue
– Plan a budget of what you can spend
– Look at last year’s holiday sales figures to set a goal for this year
– Execute to close any deals before the end of the summer