‘Tis The Season: Top Holiday Marketing Tips For 2018

This is the first part of a two-part series. 

Holiday season is here, which means brands are rolling out their biggest seasonal campaigns in hopes of captivating customers from Black Friday, into the New Year. We asked some of the top marketing leaders to share their advice on how brands can make the most of the 2018 holiday season. Here’s what they said: 

Get started early, and hold customer attention

“I think the brands that will win this season are the ones who planned for it in advance. Most folks get going on the holidays from a search perspective way too late, so the ones who have planned are the ones who will win.”

“Make sure you are engaging your customers throughout the entire holiday season and not just at the offset. The holidays provide a unique opportunity of an accelerated sales cycle both on the B2B and B2C side, as businesses are at the end of the year and typically have unused budget leftover, and consumers are typically more likely to part with their dollars this time of year. Don’t just try to sell them something though. The holiday season is long enough where if you can provide helpful content and capture customers’ attention early enough, you have the ability to hold it. If you do a good job they will come back to you well beyond the holiday season.”

– Patrick Reinhart, sr. director, digital strategies, Conductor

Take advantage of holiday keywords

“I would keep in mind Christmas-related gift keywords and trends so you don’t miss out on these prime opportunities. For example, if you sell clothing, make sure you are putting extra effort into creating, promoting and targeting Christmas-related keywords so you don’t miss out on the holiday-specific rush. You can target holiday keywords via SEO or paid ads.”

– Stacy Caprio, founder, growth marketing, Accelerated Growth Marketing

…But don’t overdo it

“Contrary to popular belief, you might want to test avoiding cliche phrases or names like “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday” in your holiday emails. Recipients get overloaded from these phrases around the holidays, especially as the holiday marketing cycle creeps past Halloween into mid-November. During the week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, 11% of subject lines mentioned one or the other and subject lines mentioning a shopping holiday tended to perform slightly worse.”

– Len Shneyder, VP, industry relations, SendGrid

Check your (email) lists twice

“Take a tip from Santa, and check your list twice before you start sending those holiday emails. List hygiene issues like spam traps, unknown users, and inactive addresses have the potential to hurt your deliverability during this critical time. To avoid the spam folder, consider taking advantage of a list validation service, and then implement a suppression policy for any email addresses that have been inactive for a significant amount of time. Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to your subscriber list—especially during the holidays, when poor list hygiene can land YOU on the “naughty list.”

– Tom Sather, sr. director of research, Return Path

Keep data in check

“Don’t overlook data alignment. With so many different components of marketers’ CX programs, there’s a ton of data that sits in various platforms. Before sending out campaigns, marketers need to make sure all of their martech tools are talking to each other – this is the only way they can be fully informed about their customers. While we’re all eager to get into the holiday spirit and help our customers deliver the right gifts to their loved ones this season, don’t underestimate the importance of getting your data right.”

– Lynne Capozzi, CMO, Acquia

Create cohesive in-store experiences

“Create seasonal, but on-brand in-store environments as the holiday season approaches. Any efforts must be dictated by a brand’s core consumer target and should reinforce, not dilute, the brand’s attributes or personality. Too many times we’ve seen well-intending retailers create disjointed experiences simply in reaction to the calendar. The single most important retail quarter of the year is not the time to take chances with your brand experience. You’re reinforcing your brand’s core position during this period with your existing loyalists and advocates, but also introducing yourself to an entirely new base.”

– Danny Turner, global SVP, creative programming, Mood Media

Build unique holiday experiences on mobile

“The holiday season is unique for marketers in that consumers are actively seeking out deals, which is a huge opportunity for them to truly engage with customers. In fact, mobile-savvy customers have come to expect a fun and engaging shopping experience – marketers should play to that by utilizing “swipe to reveal” offers, as well as “spin to win” and gamification mobile campaigns. They should also be activating mobile wallet campaigns, which help retailers attain a mobile presence on a consumer’s phone by always being a tap away to drive conversions in store and online.”

– Sophie Vu, CMO, Vibes

Have any holiday marketing tips of your own you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below, and stay tuned for more insights later this week. 

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