Planning for Holiday Promotions Needs to Happen NOW
We know…it’s only July and no one is trying to wish away summer just yet. But the truth is the smartest businesses will begin planning their holiday promotions RIGHT NOW. Crazy? Not at all. While it may be hard to get excited about Christmas just yet, early planning can pay off big as it allows you ample time to think through your strategy, learn from last year’s hits and misses, and map out the exact media placement you want to secure.
So put on some holiday cheer and follow along as we outline how your business can get ahead of holiday advertising in five simple steps.
Step 1: Start by reviewing last year’s outcomes. Were you happy with your holiday promotions? Where can you improve?
Hindsight is 20/20. What were your biggest wins – and losses – from 2018? Review any notes you captured after your holiday promotional season ended (bonus tip: it’s really smart to do this), and take this into account when establishing this year’s strategy. If you found something wasn’t as effective as you had hoped, or there was something different you wanted to try, adjust accordingly!
Step 2: Establish a budget. What can you afford to spend this year and how will you divide it up?
Do you have the same budget to work with this year, or will it be larger/smaller? Knowing this well in advance will allow you to plan out your strategy appropriately. If you need to cut back, start by taking a look at previous years’ promotions that didn’t really deliver a big bang for the buck. In contrast, if you now have a lager budget, think of how you can best spread this around to create a diversified strategy.
Step 3: Set real, measurable goals. Maybe it’s increasing holiday sales by a certain percentage or reaching a new demographic.
Without setting goals for 2019, you won’t be able to establish whether your holiday advertising strategy hit the mark. Think about what goals, if met, would have the greatest impact on your bottom line. Also, be realistic. Don’t set 10 goals to achieve in a single year. Two to three larger goals, with a couple other medium to small sized goals will be more than enough to take on – while still giving you the capacity to accomplish them.
Step 4: Get creative! Put on holiday music and think like it’s Black Friday. What do your customers want to see and hear from you?
Creativity is key. It may be hard to think like one of Santa’s Little Helpers in July (but they’re likely hard at work in the North Pole anyways), so do what you need to do to channel your inner Christmas spirit. This can be a fun activity for the whole office! Celebrate Christmas in July by wearing holiday sweaters and bringing in some classic holiday treats. This will get you in the mindset to get to work.
Step 5: Get things ready to go! Finalize your creative and lock in your ad placement early while prices are good and there’s time to adjust.
By the time you have your holiday advertising strategy just about ironed out, you’ll be at the right time to grab your desired ad spots at the best prices. Just like the early bird catches the worm, the early holiday media buys guarantee you the best placement.
For a quick recap of the five steps you need to take to start planning your holiday promotions now, check out our Media Minute, with Mid-Atlantic Media Hub’s Jamie Vranich and Cammi MacCall, which focuses on everything you need to know to map out your best holiday advertising strategy…all in just 60 seconds!
The most important takeaway when it comes to planning your holiday advertising is that you have to start much earlier than what you may feel is necessary. Our best advice is to always keep your eyes on what’s on the opposite side of your 12-month cycle. So June/July makes it the right time to be developing the creative and messaging for holiday advertising, as well as mapping out your media placement and budget.
Do you have another question related to holiday advertising strategies? We’re happy to share our knowledge! Ask us a question and we’ll get you a clear and direct answer. Contact Mid-Atlantic Media Hub today.