Holiday Marketing 101

‘Tis the season to break out the garland, crank up the holiday tunes, and dust off the santa suits in preparation for another holiday season. Although December 1st has yet to arrive, holiday shopping is already in full swing. In fact, this year more than 30 million Americans started their holiday shopping before October and will finish long before December.

Events like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday bring in huge holiday sales before December even hits the calendar. Last year alone 87 million people shopped on Black Friday, and an estimated 127 million people shopped on Cyber Monday according to the National Retail Federation.

As retail sales continue to climb throughout November, it’s clear that businesses and brands need to get onto the consumer’s radar long before December rolls around. To remain competitive brands need to learn how to take advantage of the pre-holiday period when marketing communications “can predispose the people you’re targeting to think positively about your business and be receptive to your holiday messages when the time comes,” stresses H.O Maycotte in Forbes

Whether you’re gearing up for your first holiday season or just looking to revamp your current strategy, don’t fret – we’ve compiled some actionable tips for planning your next holiday campaign.

Forbes interviewed 1,300 Millennials and found that only “1% of millennials surveyed said that a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more.” This generation was raised in front of multiple screens and believes that advertising is “all spin and not authentic.” They ignore banner ads, switch screens during commercials, and download software to circumvent advertisements.

AdBlock software is also on the rise among both web and mobile users. On average, 2.3 million people download Adblock software every week and Adblock reports around 50M to 60M users per month. Banner and pop-up ads are no longer effective, so why spend valuable advertising dollars on advertisements that won’t even be seen by your target audience? Instead, invest time and money in authentic and useful digital content that will organically reach your target audience.

Begin cultivating relationships with industry influencers who will advocate for your brand, or develop your own brand ambassadors by offering loyal customers discounts and exclusive offers. As you ramp up to the holiday season, create a holiday email campaign that offers something valuable to your prospective audience and keeps your brand top-of-mind.

HubSpot uses Uncommon Goods as an example of excellent holiday email marketing. Their emails featured an animated GIF that shows you the last possible date you can place your order in order to receive it in time for Christmas. The email created a sense of urgency, provided useful information, and grabbed attention with an animated GIF, generating more engagement than any television commercial advertisement could.



A consumer starts interacting with your brand long before they step foot in a brick and mortar store. This season, tap into your social channels to cultivate meaningful relationships and organic experiences with your target audience before they head to the malls.

In terms of social channels, Pinterest has become the king of holiday marketing. According to Pinterest, 38 Million people have already saved holiday Pins and 43% of these holiday Pins were curated by Millennials. The site not only lets consumers create wish lists, but is also becoming a popular shopping platform, making it one of the most useful social channels for marketers looking to capitalize on holiday shopping.

Etsy is an great example of a brand that has transformed Pinterest from a photo-sharing space to an online shopping platform. The online marketplace’s account features holiday-oriented boards organized around themes like “Gifts for Foodies,” “Gifts for Crafters,” and “Gifts for Animal Lovers.”  These boards showcase the website’s content while helping both clueless and time-strapped shoppers find the right gift. Every pin contains the price and a link directly to the website for quick and easy holiday shopping.



YouTube is another game-changer when it comes to consumers and how they evaluate your brand. The site is now home to legions of vloggers producing tutorials, haul videos, and unboxing events. Today 68% of Millennials surveyed responded that they were ‘Very Likely’ to ‘Somewhat Likely’ to consider their peers’ opinions when weighing purchase decisions, often looking to video content when doing online research. AdWeek also reports that 80% of shoppers watch video reviews, and shoppers generated over 1.1 billion ‘haul videos’ last year.

YouTube has quickly evolved into a space where viewers arrive not only to be entertained, but also to research products and gain insight from their peers. Take advantage of this space by ensuring that the right vloggers have their hands on your product so they can examine, use, and compare the product in their next review. You can also capitalize on peer authority by featuring user-generated video content on your brand’s YouTube channel.

Dad Does is a great resource where consumers can watch reviews on the latest toys, gadgets, technology, games, and food. The website has over 82,000 subscribers and their most popular reviews reach over 100,000 views.



Twitter is a great space to get the message out about your brand in a quick and concise way. This season, step up your Twitter game with a more visually-based and interactive presence. Use Twitter to post photos, videos, and even vines that show rather than tell your brand story. Twitter is also a great way to interact with your audience through re-tweets and user-generated content. Ask a question to begin a dialogue with your audience, or say thanks by showcasing their photos and videos on your account.

Brands can also advertise holiday discounts on Twitter to drive consumers towards their site. At this time of year shoppers are on the lookout for good deals and you can capitalize on this by offering coupons on your landing pages and directing traffic back to your website or online store. This is a great way to generate interest leading up to Black Friday and throughout the holiday season.

ModCloth, an online clothing store, regularly offers coupons or information about upcoming sales on their Twitter feed. These sales usually have a defined time period, creating a sense of urgency and encouraging viewers to click through to the site.



The digital sphere is also a great place for influencers and brand advocates to create interest around your brand right before the holiday season. Start cultivating relationships with loyal customers to create brand ambassadors and generate brand awareness long before Black Friday rolls around.

Influencers have a major impact on online shoppers. According to AdWeek, offers shared by trusted advocates convert at rates 3-10 times higher than offers sent by the brand themselves. Additionally, Forbes reported that Millennials consult peers and look to social media for an “authentic look” before making a final decision, and 33% of Millennials surveyed say they rely mostly on blogs before they make a purchase.

Today, the best advertisement is an endorsement by an industry influencer or your own customers. Build a social media following and cultivate brand advocates who will Tweet, post, and Instagram about your product. According to Adweek 65% of shoppers claim to use social media to find the perfect gift, meaning your brand advocates might be more valuable than an expensive commercial or billboard.

According to Forbes, 75% of millennials said that it’s either fairly or very important that a company gives back to society instead of just making a profit. They’re looking for brands that aren’t just about dollar signs – they want to support a brand that steps back and takes a look at the bigger picture. The holiday seasons is a good time to give your audience a glimpse of the heart behind the business. Use this as an opportunity to give back to the community, help out a charity, or raise money and awareness around an important topic.

Last year Toys”R”Us partnered with Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to deliver toys to less fortunate children during the holiday season. NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, or Shaq-A-Claus, helped raise awareness for the #PlayItForward campaign through video content shared across Toys”R”Us’ social channels. Millennials like brands that aren’t about pushing their product on consumers, and are more responsive to brands that showcase some sort of personality or human face. The #PlayItForward campaign helps Toys”R”Us become more than just a big brand, but a support system for struggling families during the holiday season.




Holiday Marketing 101
November 24, 2015

Holiday Marketing 101

‘Tis the season to break out the garland, crank up the holiday tunes, and dust off the santa suits in preparation for another holiday season. Although December 1st has yet to arrive, holiday shopping is already in full swing. In fact, this year more than 30 million Americans started their holiday shopping before October and will finish long before December.

Events like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday bring in huge holiday sales before December even hits the calendar. Last year alone 87 million people shopped on Black Friday, and an estimated 127 million people shopped on Cyber Monday according to the National Retail Federation.

As retail sales continue to climb throughout November, it’s clear that businesses and brands need to get onto the consumer’s radar long before December rolls around. To remain competitive brands need to learn how to take advantage of the pre-holiday period when marketing communications “can predispose the people you’re targeting to think positively about your business and be receptive to your holiday messages when the time comes,” stresses H.O Maycotte in Forbes

Whether you’re gearing up for your first holiday season or just looking to revamp your current strategy, don’t fret – we’ve compiled some actionable tips for planning your next holiday campaign.

Forbes interviewed 1,300 Millennials and found that only “1% of millennials surveyed said that a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more.” This generation was raised in front of multiple screens and believes that advertising is “all spin and not authentic.” They ignore banner ads, switch screens during commercials, and download software to circumvent advertisements.

AdBlock software is also on the rise among both web and mobile users. On average, 2.3 million people download Adblock software every week and Adblock reports around 50M to 60M users per month. Banner and pop-up ads are no longer effective, so why spend valuable advertising dollars on advertisements that won’t even be seen by your target audience? Instead, invest time and money in authentic and useful digital content that will organically reach your target audience.

Begin cultivating relationships with industry influencers who will advocate for your brand, or develop your own brand ambassadors by offering loyal customers discounts and exclusive offers. As you ramp up to the holiday season, create a holiday email campaign that offers something valuable to your prospective audience and keeps your brand top-of-mind.

HubSpot uses Uncommon Goods as an example of excellent holiday email marketing. Their emails featured an animated GIF that shows you the last possible date you can place your order in order to receive it in time for Christmas. The email created a sense of urgency, provided useful information, and grabbed attention with an animated GIF, generating more engagement than any television commercial advertisement could.



A consumer starts interacting with your brand long before they step foot in a brick and mortar store. This season, tap into your social channels to cultivate meaningful relationships and organic experiences with your target audience before they head to the malls.

In terms of social channels, Pinterest has become the king of holiday marketing. According to Pinterest, 38 Million people have already saved holiday Pins and 43% of these holiday Pins were curated by Millennials. The site not only lets consumers create wish lists, but is also becoming a popular shopping platform, making it one of the most useful social channels for marketers looking to capitalize on holiday shopping.

Etsy is an great example of a brand that has transformed Pinterest from a photo-sharing space to an online shopping platform. The online marketplace’s account features holiday-oriented boards organized around themes like “Gifts for Foodies,” “Gifts for Crafters,” and “Gifts for Animal Lovers.”  These boards showcase the website’s content while helping both clueless and time-strapped shoppers find the right gift. Every pin contains the price and a link directly to the website for quick and easy holiday shopping.



YouTube is another game-changer when it comes to consumers and how they evaluate your brand. The site is now home to legions of vloggers producing tutorials, haul videos, and unboxing events. Today 68% of Millennials surveyed responded that they were ‘Very Likely’ to ‘Somewhat Likely’ to consider their peers’ opinions when weighing purchase decisions, often looking to video content when doing online research. AdWeek also reports that 80% of shoppers watch video reviews, and shoppers generated over 1.1 billion ‘haul videos’ last year.

YouTube has quickly evolved into a space where viewers arrive not only to be entertained, but also to research products and gain insight from their peers. Take advantage of this space by ensuring that the right vloggers have their hands on your product so they can examine, use, and compare the product in their next review. You can also capitalize on peer authority by featuring user-generated video content on your brand’s YouTube channel.

Dad Does is a great resource where consumers can watch reviews on the latest toys, gadgets, technology, games, and food. The website has over 82,000 subscribers and their most popular reviews reach over 100,000 views.



Twitter is a great space to get the message out about your brand in a quick and concise way. This season, step up your Twitter game with a more visually-based and interactive presence. Use Twitter to post photos, videos, and even vines that show rather than tell your brand story. Twitter is also a great way to interact with your audience through re-tweets and user-generated content. Ask a question to begin a dialogue with your audience, or say thanks by showcasing their photos and videos on your account.

Brands can also advertise holiday discounts on Twitter to drive consumers towards their site. At this time of year shoppers are on the lookout for good deals and you can capitalize on this by offering coupons on your landing pages and directing traffic back to your website or online store. This is a great way to generate interest leading up to Black Friday and throughout the holiday season.

ModCloth, an online clothing store, regularly offers coupons or information about upcoming sales on their Twitter feed. These sales usually have a defined time period, creating a sense of urgency and encouraging viewers to click through to the site.



The digital sphere is also a great place for influencers and brand advocates to create interest around your brand right before the holiday season. Start cultivating relationships with loyal customers to create brand ambassadors and generate brand awareness long before Black Friday rolls around.

Influencers have a major impact on online shoppers. According to AdWeek, offers shared by trusted advocates convert at rates 3-10 times higher than offers sent by the brand themselves. Additionally, Forbes reported that Millennials consult peers and look to social media for an “authentic look” before making a final decision, and 33% of Millennials surveyed say they rely mostly on blogs before they make a purchase.

Today, the best advertisement is an endorsement by an industry influencer or your own customers. Build a social media following and cultivate brand advocates who will Tweet, post, and Instagram about your product. According to Adweek 65% of shoppers claim to use social media to find the perfect gift, meaning your brand advocates might be more valuable than an expensive commercial or billboard.

According to Forbes, 75% of millennials said that it’s either fairly or very important that a company gives back to society instead of just making a profit. They’re looking for brands that aren’t just about dollar signs – they want to support a brand that steps back and takes a look at the bigger picture. The holiday seasons is a good time to give your audience a glimpse of the heart behind the business. Use this as an opportunity to give back to the community, help out a charity, or raise money and awareness around an important topic.

Last year Toys”R”Us partnered with Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to deliver toys to less fortunate children during the holiday season. NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, or Shaq-A-Claus, helped raise awareness for the #PlayItForward campaign through video content shared across Toys”R”Us’ social channels. Millennials like brands that aren’t about pushing their product on consumers, and are more responsive to brands that showcase some sort of personality or human face. The #PlayItForward campaign helps Toys”R”Us become more than just a big brand, but a support system for struggling families during the holiday season.




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