A Holiday Marketing Guide for Digital Marketers

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I know, I know, Christmas is about 6 months away so it may seem wildly early to even consider thinking about Holiday Marketing but all the fashion brands have their winter collection lines sorted and so you should be prepared too. Besides, by the end of May Halloween is only 21 weeks away! So you have just over 21 weeks to create and execute one or maybe even several kickass holiday campaigns. 



The winter holiday season is where all of the campaigns come out from under the carpet and brands compete with each other more than any other time of the year. Which isn’t surprising given that shopping is at an all-time high due to key days like Black Friday, Thanksgiving and of course Christmas.

The holiday season means there are plenty of opportunities for companies to launch holiday marketing campaigns no matter what their industry is as many people also celebrate other festivities and even go on holiday. They can be a very lucrative strategy to gain new customers and you don’t always have to directly compete with your competitors as there are just so many opportunities to choose from!

However, there are a few things you should bear in mind before you get started.


Creating the Right Campaign

What Holiday Can Your Product or Brand be Related to?

In simpler words, you’re not going to be able to sell many Christmas trees around Easter. You need to find a holiday that is a natural fit for your product or brand, especially if you are a B2C business. The most popular campaigns are ones that are able to identify what their customers like or are most likely to experience around a specific holiday, and they will then emphasise this to attract their audience. However, there are always ways to make sure your brand does fit into any holiday you just need to get a little creative.

For example, HotelTonight came up with the ad ‘Visit, Don’t Stay’ to encourage consumers to relax and stay in one of their hotels rather than spend long periods of time with ‘unusual family members’. This ad’s success was based on the fact that everyone has a weird family member you love dearly but only for a short period of time so why not please your relative and yourself by visiting but staying somewhere else.



What Holiday do Your Fans Love?

Every business should understand what their customers like in order to make their products or services appeal to them and this includes their favourite holiday. If your fans love Halloween gear your efforts more towards this, however, their favourite holiday can depend on their location, age, gender and other demographics. Some brands may have a wide range of products that don’t necessarily fit into a specific holiday if that’s the case you can always celebrate the holidays you love most!

With this in mind, you can always do multiple holiday campaigns to cover the wide spectrum of preferences and events, however, these may not always be ones you are familiar with so take the time to learn. You should tailor your campaigns to your audience wherever they are in the world and never make the assumption your global audience celebrates the same holiday; do you celebrate Songkran, Thailand’s New Year’s festival every year? (You should it’s really fun!)

What is your goal?

With any campaign, you need to set yourself a goal to achieve, whether it be gaining new leads or increasing your site traffic. The type of goal you’re trying to achieve affects what kind of campaign you will run and this affects which holiday is the most appropriate opportunity. It may be an idea to look at your competitors to see what they’re doing so you can find a gap and position yourself.

More often than not, holiday campaigns are run with intention of gaining new leads and the most common campaign type known to achieve this is a sweepstake campaign, however, user generated campaigns are successful as well.

Sweepstake campaigns are campaigns where a giveaway is awarded to a winner at random. In order to enter the customer must submit a photo, video, comment etc. The winner is typically chosen by a judge or by a vote.

User generated campaigns are content that is created and shared online by unpaid contributors or, in other words, fans. This can be a video, image, testimonials, tweet etc. Fans help to promote the brand.

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Great Holiday Marketing Campaigns

Here are some examples of Halloween and Christmas campaigns some companies have run over the years:

LG’s ‘So Real it’s Scary’ Halloween campaign showed how their new IPS monitors have lifelike colours with a scary twist.

WestJet’s 12,000 Mini Miracles campaign spread the Christmas cheer across the world by delivering random acts of kindness across the world.

Starbucks’ recurring Christmas Red Cup campaign is one their fans anticipate every year as they are encouraged to participate and create designs for the company.

John Lewis Christmas campaign is known to be ‘the Christmas advert’ with fans stating it’s not really Christmas until the John Lewis advert is on TV.


How to Create a Successful Holiday Campaign

As with any campaign, it’s important to put a lot of time and energy into it to make sure you reap the rewards. You want to appeal to consumer’s emotions whilst standing out from the competition, so here’s how to do that:

Personalise your campaign. Online adverts, in general, are becoming more personalised now but one way to let consumers experience your brand and interact with it is if they become a part of it. Office Max’s ‘Elf Yourself’ campaign became a huge hit when consumers could add photos of themselves and their friends to dance as the elves in the video. This campaign led to 193 million site visits and continues to grow every year with the addition of new characters and themes. Why not create your own advert where consumers can insert themselves into it, the more creative and innovative it is the more likely they’ll share it on social media.

Target key emotions. Although many people make decisions based on rational, a lot of people make decisions based on their emotions. They may not need a new pair of shoes but they love that colour so they have to buy them –we’ve all been there. The holiday season is no stranger to emotionally based decision making, with campaign messages like ‘Home for the Holidays’ it’s no wonder people buy products or services that remind them of home, good times or family. Make sure your campaign will evoke the right emotions for your audience in order to entice them.

Get everyone involved. Yes, this means your staff members too, by allowing your audience to see you are a normal company run by normal people they will be able to relate more easily to your campaign message as it is ‘humanised’ –similar to putting a face to a name, it increases trust. You can include your staff in the campaign itself or encourage them to share it online. It’s likely your employees will want to be involved too!


Make it shareable. Campaigns that aren’t shareable these days are pointless. You need to have a multichannel campaign or at the very least a multiplatform one so as to reach as many people as possible and increase the number of people who will share it. 74% of consumers rely on word of mouth as a key factor when making a purchase decision so when someone shares your advert with a friend it has a much bigger influence than just seeing your campaign as an advert.

Be consistent across multiple channels. All of your campaigns should be on multiple channels but during the holiday period, it’s even more crucial to make sure your marketing efforts are flawless as every sale counts. You need to create a consistent user experience across all the channels your customers may be using. This includes the same colour, message, design and most importantly offer. Your offer needs to be conveyed to consumers in the exact way you want it, in every place your customer may come into contact with it, whether it be on Facebook or speaking to one of your members of staff. 


Top Tips

  • Start early! We’ve already helped with this one, with our guide you can get started on creating your awesome campaign and making it flawless so you get the results you want.
  • Appeal to the holiday spirit. You may be selling tents but you still need to feed into the holiday spirit if you want to gain any customers during the seasonal period. Why not appeal to those going on holiday?
  • Cater to the last minute buyers. Although your campaign may have been running for months you still need to reach out and appeal to the people who leave it all to the last minute.
  • Be network specific. Your campaign should be multi-channel optimised this includes making sure that it’s displayed properly and tailored to each specific platform. For example, you can’t show a 3-minute advert on Instagram so why not show a trailer version instead.
  • Create a dialogue. Your campaign should drive engagement and interaction, ask your audience questions so they will want to get involved.
  • Holiday campaigns aren’t just for winter you can create them at any time of the year like Easter, just make sure they’re relevant.


There you have it our guide on creating and executing a great a holiday campaign. You’ve only got a couple of months until Halloween, you better get started!


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