8 Holiday Campaign Tips for Marketers & Advertisers

Adorable Holiday Puppies

For marketers, the holiday season is an insanely exciting (and stressful) time of year. We’re bringing our best ideas to life. We’re using all of the MarTech tools in our arsenal. Our media buys and targeting strategies are in full swing. We’re just waiting to crush our numbers and roll into the next year feeling like marketing heroes.

However, we have to remember that we’re really not that special. Every marketer is saturating every channel with their marketing and advertising campaigns.

The consumer, who holds all the power (and is getting blasted with marketing messages and ads across every possible place their eyes glance), doesn’t really think your Black Friday deal on light bulbs is really that special. 

The consumer sees auto manufacturers' desperate attempt to make buying a new car for everyone on Christmas seem like the norm. They just collectively roll their eyes and ignore the campaign and ad buys.

Don’t get me wrong, marketing and advertising work – especially during the holidays. I’m just saying we have to realize the consumer doesn’t think 24/7 about your shiny new pots and pans that are 20 percent off. 

With this in mind, below are a few last-minute tips for this holiday season. 

  1. Burn your retargeting cookies once they complete the order. It seems simple, but for some reason it’s not. One of the easiest ways to turn a customer or brand advocate into a former customer and brand detractor is to stalk them across the digital landscape after they bought the item they wanted from you. Seriously. There should be a marketer prison for those who can’t get this right.
  2. Beware of cookie overlap. This is a slightly more complex version of the tip above. Many marketers are running retargeting campaigns through multiple platforms, meaning their audience is being cookied and tracked across different platforms. Even if you're on top of tip number one and burning cookies post-conversion, you need to be aware of the cookie overlap that can lead to ad fatigue prior to conversion. To combat this, set frequency caps when able, develop platform-specific ad creative, and use source-based audiences to target and/or exclude various segments.
  3. Don’t overuse the words like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Closeout, Biggest Discount of the Season, etc. Consumers are savvy. Certain words trigger emotional responses that lower trust and cause their guards to go up. Be authentic. Avoid overused words when possible.
  4. Be social, but not overly social. We can create hyper-targeted social media marketing campaigns (for better or worse). However, remember that people don’t go to Facebook to see your new toaster oven. They go to interact with friends and family. They go to see what’s happening in the world. That’s not to say you shouldn’t advertise or have social media marketing campaigns. Just do them in moderation and keep in mind that the customer journey isn’t a single interaction. How can you add value? Start there.
  5. Use puppies, kittens and babies. Timeless advice. We're hardwired to love adorable things – and nothing is more adorable than puppies, kittens and babies.
  6. Don’t act desperate. Too often we panic when the initial results don’t come in as expected. Consumers can smell desperation. Also, you don’t want to train them to expect unsustainable deals or pricing.
  7. Be mindful of sending emails on Christmas, New Year’s Day or any other holiday. No one cares about your SaaS B2B solution on Christmas morning. Also, no one really thinks a brand’s Merry Christmas or Happy Thanksgiving sentiment is from the heart. If you have a good reason to email customers on an actual holiday and it truly benefits them, then do it. If not, you’re probably just annoying them.
  8. Be human. Think about how you would what want a brand or marketing campaign to interact with you. Chances are your internal radar is spot on. If you don’t want that email or ad, or don’t believe it's a marketing activity you yourself would find valuable or respond to, then chances are your customers wouldn’t either.
Good luck and happy holidays!
Written by Brian Easter on November 23, 2018


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