Holiday Marketing - Avoid the holiday horror!

I know you are probably wondering why I have to bring up Christmas in August.  

Well, if Christmas is the big marketing event on your calendar – the time of the year when sales go through the roof and requires strong marketing campaigns to maintain and grow these sales.  The advice from seasoned marketers is to start now!

Perhaps Christmas isn’t your time of the year when sales peak, maybe it is another important event in the year like Easter, Valentine’s Day, Australia Day - whichever event is big for your brand there are some tips to help you capitalise on it and get a great ROI from your marketing spend.

 Avoid the holiday horror at Adroll premises, The Rocks, Sydney

Avoid the holiday horror at Adroll premises, The Rocks, Sydney

This month, I attended an interesting discussion at Adroll who hosted a seminar on ‘Avoid the Holiday Horror’.  The panel included Sophie Higgins, Head of Merchandise & Marketing, Dymocks, James Walmsley, Senior Marketing Manager, Gumtree, Denise Wyer, Head of Sales APAC, AdRoll and the panel was moderated by Peter Roper, associate publisher and editor, Marketing Mag.

Before we even begin to discuss Christmas marketing campaigns, here are a few stats about Christmas that you need to be aware of -

From McCrindle Research, as part of their Christmas in the 21st century Australia 

  • 57% of survey respondents identified themselves as belonging to a religion that celebrates Christmas as a religious holiday.
  • 87% of those who are not religious still celebrate Christmas to some extent. 56% of those who belong to another religion still celebrate Christmas.
  • 74% are most annoyed by over-crowded shopping centres.
  • 69% rate commercialism as a top 3 Christmas gripe.
  • 39% state that the pressure to buy presents is a big irritation.
  • Australians predicted to spend $46.8 billion nationally in the six week lead up to Christmas 2015 according to ARA and Roy Morgan Research 
  • ARA predicts $2.8 billion to be spent online pre-Christmas

They are some stats to whet your appetite to shape up your marketing for a bumper sales period. However, because this holiday has religious connotations, you do need to be mindful that not all customers are religious or of the same religion, and that not everyone thinks Christmas is a magical time of year, it can be quite a sad time in many lives.  

Basically, be respectful of everyone!

During the discussion, all panellists spoke primarily about Christmas marketing, their tips and considerations can still apply to any major event marketing.

1. Analysing past campaigns
This was top of the list for each of the panellists.  Analysing the results and data from previous events, measuring the sales, getting feedback from key stakeholders, assessing the creatives, checking the results with your marketing agency.

Before you start on the next years’ event, drill down on what worked and what didn’t work from last year.  

Can you create sales journeys for your customers?

When did they purchase the most?  Was it last minute or were they highly organised and buy in November?

Use metrics and attribution modelling to drill down on touch points, all interactions with your business, and conversion paths.

2. Build brand loyalty before the Christmas period
Don’t leave all your brand building to when you are in the thick of Christmas, build it up during the year, so by the time Christmas comes your customers know your brand, about you, what you offer and are ready to buy from you.

3. Start early
The earlier you start with your Christmas marketing campaigns the better.  There were several benefits to this – 

•    You have a longer period to test your campaigns and rejig if necessary, so by the time Christmas came, the campaigns were all ready to go and no last minute surprises (!).
For example, you may want to engage an influencer to endorse your product, by starting earlier, you can test before and see the impact.  Or you want to create a holiday email marketing campaign, you can test with a portion of the database, perhaps create several campaigns for a more targeted approach.

•    The earlier you book your advertising, the more reasonable the cost.  This planning may mean you can double your advertising with the same budget or put the savings into a different campaign – easy!

•    When Christmas came, everything was done and you could spend time ensuring the campaigns were working and tweaking the ones that weren’t, instead of madly running around creating the next campaign to go out.

4. Use your intuition
Don’t stare too hard at the statistics, remember marketing is part intuition – if you think it may work, give it a good shot.  

‘Back yourself as a marketer.’, says Sophie Higgins, Dymocks

5. Be agile
When you are in the thick of the Christmas period, remember to be agile, work with what comes up during the period as well.  There may be things in your business, with your brands, in the news, topical events that are happening which you can use in your marketing – latch onto them.  


You won’t be able to foresee them, but by being prepared, you have time to be looking out for them as well.  If are too busy, you may miss a great opportunity.

6. Look at the whole picture
As with all marketing campaigns, look at the whole picture and ensure your campaigns align, compliment and have the same goals.

How are your Christmas marketing ideas shaping up?  In control or dreading even starting it – don’t delay there are great benefits to starting early.

Need some help with copywriting or some creative ideas, I can get you on your way to holiday marketing freedom and success!