12 Tips for Planning Your Christmas Marketing Published October 11, 2018 You may be feeling far from festive but for many retailers Christmas marketing planning is already in full swing. And with good reason — the UK spends 25% more over the Christmas period than any other time of the year, making it the key time to generate more revenue over any other shopping days. Planning ahead allows brands to maximize sales during this vital period. But what is the best way to plan for an epic Christmas marketing campaign? Read on to discover our top twelve tips for planning your Christmas marketing. 1) Revisit last year’s campaign performance First up, review last year’s Christmas campaign performance. When did conversions peak? Which emails resulted in the most sales? Asking and answering questions like this will help inform this year’s strategy. Christmas campaign analysis is best done early on in the year when campaigns are fresh in your mind. But if you haven’t analysed performance yet, it’s not too late. Set some time aside and jump into your reports today to determine what worked well and why. The sooner the better, so you can continue with the following crucial elements to planning your Christmas marketing… 2) Create a timeline The holiday season isn’t just about Christmas. There are a number of other dates you need to plan your campaign around. Creating a timeline will inform the chronology of your campaign. Ideally, you’d create something like this around June but if you missed the boat, here are some key dates to get you started: Black Friday — Friday 29th November 2019 Cyber Monday — Monday 2nd December 2019 Winter Solstice — Sunday 22nd December 2019 Christmas Eve — Tuesday 24th December 2019 Christmas Day —Wednesday 25th December 2019 Boxing Day — Thursday 26th December 2019 New Year’s Eve — Tuesday 31st December 2019 New Year’s Day — Monday 1st January 2019 And while these are events to hang your campaigns from, I’d recommend creating a gantt chart to plot out all of your campaign deliverables. This will help you stay on track and gives you the opportunity to organise your messaging and offers well in advance. Don’t neglect to factor in those important dates such as your last shipping date! 3) Review target audience Your third task is to review your target audience. Go through the demographic and behavioural data you have on your customers. Have any new behavioural trends emerged? It is important to capture any changes in customer behaviour and update your personas accordingly. Accurate personas help you to hit the mark with your messaging. Need help defining your personas? Here’s some additional reading: 9 eCommerce Buyer Personas and How to Drive Them to Conversion. 4) Consider your channels Next up, review which channels you’ll be using to promote your Christmas campaign. It’s important to ensure that your campaign is delivered consistently across all relevant channels. This helps you to build a seamless customer experience. If each channel has a different owner, it is essential that the right amount of time is put aside so you can get your heads together and align your thinking. This will prevent disjointed, siloed thinking when it comes to crunch time on your campaigns. 5) Plan your Christmas marketing message It’s time to plan your Christmas campaign message. To craft your message, consider: the needs of your audience your mission your brand values how you differ from competitors how you deliver value to customers what you want to make customers think, feel, and do Your task is to find an overarching narrative that communicates these elements in a way that drives customers to conversion. 6) Pick a theme Once you’ve planned your message, it’s time to consider your theme — the creative vehicle by which your message is delivered. Find something simple that works well across multiple channels and that will resonate at a glance. Avoid getting too complicated — complex themes can dilute your message. We like this clever Christmas campaign from Made.com which featured a range of adverts using the headline ‘Made You Look’. 7) Decide on offers Which offers will you use to tempt customers to spend more throughout your campaign? The offers you choose need to align with your message and theme. For example, slashing prices dramatically won’t make sense with a campaign that focuses on luxury. But a free gift above a spend threshold would make more sense. 8) Include personalisation Consider how you can use personalisation throughout your campaign. For example, personalising homepage banners based on each customer’s browse history. Or including product recommendations in emails based on past purchases. Personalisation is an effective way to increase engagement. Pure360’s personalisation research found that 45 percent of consumers would engage with an offer that was interesting and relevant to them personally. 9) Create campaign content Now you’ve laid the groundwork for your campaign, it’s time to get started on content creation. Map out every campaign touchpoint across each channel and decide what assets you need to create. Ensure that your copy and design reflect your theme and deliver your message consistently across every asset. This is likely to take some time and ideally, you should aim to have your assets ready by the end of October. 10) Optimise supporting content When you’re creating content, consider whether there is any supporting content on your website that needs optimising. Think about which pages your campaign directs people to for additional information. Make sure their experience is consistent throughout their journey. Failing to update supporting content could lead to a disjointed experience that blocks conversion. 11) Tweak your automations Before you launch your campaign, consider whether any of your automated emails need tweaking. Could your basket abandonment emails be updated to fit with your festive theme? Or perhaps your “thank you for your order” email need a seasonal makeover? Small details like this enhance the overall customer experience your campaign delivers and ensures your efforts are fully optimised to drive the best results. 12) Launch and learn By the time November comes around, you should be ready to launch. The run-up to Black Friday is a popular time to go live. Before the launch date arrives, plan how you’re going to respond to any hiccups. Create a clear process to measure results and make changes accordingly. Be reactive and ready to refine key elements throughout the campaign. A test and learn approach will help you to maximise your success. Takeaway The build-up to Christmas can be stressful for ecommerce marketers so having a methodical process to follow can help you regain some headspace and stay in control. We hope that our twelve Christmas marketing planning tips help to bring clarity to your campaign preparation. If you’re late to the planning process and are feeling the pressure, our advice is to keep things simple. Focus on consistently delivering clear messaging through a simple theme, across your key channels. Including personalised elements in your campaign can increase engagement. The ideas we’ve discussed are easy to implement with the right personalisation platform in place. See it in action with a personal demo, right here. And if you’re looking for a more in-depth approach to planning your Christmas marketing, check out our guide to creating a killer festive marketing strategy below.