While it may be too soon to put up festive decorations and play Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” now is the perfect time to kickstart your holiday marketing strategy in a subtle but arguably very loud way.
In this blog post, we’ll explore key areas of focus to kick your holiday planning into high gear, supported by trends shared at Google’s recent Think Retail on Air 2023 event.
It’s never too early to start planning for the holidays
Consumers start their holiday shopping research early, which means now is the time to get your content in front of them. If you’re in the retail or e-commerce space, utilizing influencer marketing and content strategies early on can significantly boost your profits during the festive season. By using tactics like paid influencer partnerships, video marketing, connected TV, and social media, you can build awareness of your products now (sans holiday language and creative) to keep your brand top of mind when it comes time to purchase holiday gifts. During the Think Retail on Air event, Google noted that 39% of consumers say that ads they saw in the last month influenced their holiday purchasing decisions.
Supercharge your media and your business with AI
Prepare for the holiday rush by ensuring your inventory is up to date and using tactics like Local Inventory Ads to highlight your physical stores. Embrace price and promotional strategies, as now more than ever, consumers are on the lookout for deals during the holiday season. Make the customer journey seamless with products like Performance Max and full-funnel marketing activations.
Plan your media strategy to cover the entire customer journey and consider using Smart Bidding and Store Visits to amplify your omnichannel activations. Even if you’re primarily an e-commerce business, don’t skip on including Store Visits in your bidding portfolios. Consumers who shop in-store are more likely to also buy from you online, with greater long-term value than those who do not visit a physical location.
Don’t sleep on personalization
Personalization is key to converting potential customers and bringing your existing customers back. Align your deals with previously viewed and recommended items on your website and in your ad copy and creative assets. Tap into third-party tools for audience insights and leverage first-party data to enhance the customer experience. Remember, paid media activations are only half the battle; personalizing your website and ads will take you the other 50% of the way.
Be prepared for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but don’t overlook post-holiday shopping
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are important, they only accounted for 7% of total holiday sales in 2022. Supporting through media early and leading up to these key time frames can boost your holiday growth this year. However, post-holiday shopping, especially self-gifting, presents a significant opportunity to grow your customer base and push app downloads to grow loyalty. This will carry momentum into the first quarter and help you avoid the Q1 slump.
Plan budgets/allocations and forecasting holistically
Strategically align your budget throughout the year based on changing consumer behavior and seasonality trends. Consider heavy awareness campaigns in the early fall to keep your brand top of mind. Focus your budget peaks leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Don’t let up after the holidays, as you could be missing out on high-value conversions and sales. Building retention campaigns post-holiday can alleviate the Q1 slump and maintain momentum.
Lastly, don’t forget about SEO and organic efforts during this time. Ensure that your website is content-rich and optimized for functionality. Measure the holistic impact of both paid and organic efforts on your bottom line for true incrementality and ROI.
In conclusion, the holiday season offers tremendous opportunities for businesses to boost their sales and engage with customers. By starting your holiday marketing strategy early with awareness media, leveraging AI and personalization, and maintaining a holistic approach to budgeting and analysis, you can set your brand up for success during the most wonderful time of the year. Don’t wait—start planning and activating your holiday marketing strategy now to maximize your bottom line and make this holiday season a memorable one for your business.