Biz Tips: Ho, ho, ho! No more.

Biz Tips: Ho, ho, ho! No more.


Ho, ho, ho! No more.

Why holiday campaigns are a waste of your time.


Comes an email.

*Bling* *Bling* *Bling*

Three more emails in quick succession.

As soon as the holidays are upon us, the marketers are on to us.

Five dollars off.

Special bonus tonight only.

Get more when you give more.

Feed a child and get yourself a complimentary cookie.

It’s that time of year when marketers across the world, regardless of brands, shove their best bets on consumers.

From seasonal newsletters and offers to super niche product offerings, we marketers try so hard to grab our audience’s attention.

The key to holiday marketing rests on time and relevance. Most people start promotions as early as the first week of November, not only because 45% buyers are already shopping during the first week, but also to gain momentum early on so they can go in full swing when the heat picks up.

But where does all that content fit in in the bigger picture?

It doesn’t.

We clamour around creating copy and designs, sometimes even months ahead of the holidays, expending countless hours and energy into ad hoc efforts that expire as soon as the new year dawns.

When you think about all the discussions, debates, and rejections we go through before approving a single piece of holiday content, you’ll realise that it’s all for nothing. Because at the end of the campaign, everyone goes back to what they were doing before — as if the extensive time we spent in between didn’t even exist.

That’s not good marketing, of course. But it’s the sad reality in most cases.

So what fits?

Content that resonates with the audience.

Content customers need to improve their life.

Content lasing longer than the holiday weight we gain.

Content that assures search engines we’re worthy of the top spot.

Creativity is good. Fun’s fine, but we shouldn’t compromise relevance.

Sometimes it doesn’t make sense for us to jump on the bandwagon just because everyone else does. Not every brand needs to put out a holiday post, create Thanksgiving giveaways, or — unless they’re selling pumpkins — run a contest for the best-carved pumpkin.

Instead, when we focus on building a brand voice and retaining that voice throughout the year, we’ll have better chances of impacting the audience we want to reach.

Not all holidays are the same

Just as all brands don’t have the same audience, not all holidays resonate with all people.

Of course, Coca-Cola gets away with stamping its ads with polar bears, snowy Christmas trees, and a white Santa Claus, but that’s the tone and reputation the brand has established for years. Fun, joyous laughter, and sharing are all major themes they employ regardless of the season, and that’s the reason even people living on the equator, who’ve never seen snow in their lives, enjoy Coca-Cola ads — they don’t deviate from who they are the rest of the year.

Most brands, however, aren’t like Coca-Cola. We need other ways to speak to our audience. And with a concept as varied and sensitive as the holidays, we can’t expect to create one message to rule them all.

Segmenting helps. By geography, personas, interests, shopping patterns, and lest I forget, the gender spectrum.

As specific as retargeting ads, our holiday-themed content should also have deep-rooted focus. Otherwise, we’re just shouting down an empty well, well, wasting our while.

But discounts increase purchases/signups

But they also discount our value. Last-minute offers and seasonal giveaways are attractive. People fall for them, yes. But these activities also undermine our offering. By insisting we close more sales (regardless of means) before we close accounts, we signal to our genuine customers that we don’t care about them as much.

It’s as if we’ve exploited them and never returned another glance. Not to mention, we run the risk of infuriating these customers too . Why should they pay in full long before the holidays, when people paying during the holidays get 70% off?

Can we do nothing impulsive?

I admit, the meticulous planning and segregating for a holiday campaign does take the surprise and fun out of the holiday. If we’re looking to entertain for a while, then a general Happy Holidays is all we need.

We don’t have to have holiday content to be effective. A lot of B2B brands close a few significant deals a year that cover them for the entire year. That’s why we should think beyond the end-of-year newsletter, and ensure we generate enough material to inform the sales teams, back customer support teams, educate customers with FAQs and comprehensive discount policies, and establish a thorough onboarding process.

As exciting as it sounds to run holiday campaigns, it’s also a rocky road to take. Do we dare risk it all? It might be worth asking ourselves the question before embarking on the journey.

Preparing your content for the holidays was the topic on the #CMWorld Twitter chat on November 7, 2018. Read the summary here.

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