Marketing for the Holiday Season

For many retailers, the holiday season represents between 20-40% of their annual sales!

Preparing for the holiday season as friends and family members takes a bit of planning and attention, but doing so as a small business owner with a new product requires taking that attention to detail and  executable action to a completely new level! To do it well, you’ve got to have a plan.  Here are a few tips to help make your holidays happy and your sales jolly.


Focusing on these four fundamentals will give you a solid foundation for a good holiday marketing plan: Target Market: Start with the big picture.  In marketing, you always want to start from your target market and think about how you can reach them. Christmas discount sales percentsBudget: Understand your budget (both in terms of time and money) for marketing for the holiday season so you can quickly determine which paths for advertising are available and at what proportions. Channels: Spend some effort ahead of time thinking about the most effective combination of advertising channels given your budget and target market and how you will use them to reach your goals.  Good holiday channels can include: tv and radio, press releases, online articles, blogs, or cross-promotion, coupons, or word-of-mouth. Timing: Make a timeline for launching your different initiatives to maximize their effect, in conjunction or separately, and make sure to allocate the resources necessary to stick to it!


If you have history with your product, first look at what worked last year and what didn’t.  Most companies that are successful at marketing creatively use many different approaches and are diligent about measuring their results.  Look at what worked and focus most of your attention on honing in to the strengths and minimizing the weaknesses of those avenues.  Likewise, if you’re just starting out, try to spread your advertising budget across a variety of platforms, but make sure that you can measure the results of each.

Using discount coupons, customer logins or codes can help you effectively keep track of which promotion brought the customer in for the purchase. You also don’t want to overlook recent shopping trends. For instance, online mobile shopping via cellphones and tablets are being used by more and more consumers. Can your business capitalize on the mobile commerce trend, maybe by developing a more mobile-friendly website or app? A particularly successful coupon for the holidays is called a “bounce-back” coupon which gives an incentive to customers to come back after the holiday season for additional purchases.  If you can get them back after the rush of the holiday season, you have a much better chance to keep them for the long run.

A particularly successful coupon for the holidays is called a “bounce-back” coupon tweet this

Holiday Retail Calendar

  • Early Bird Thanksgiving Sales – Good chance to give discounts to the early shoppers to improve sales on the front end and, hopefully, in time to stock up for the end of the season if things go well
  • Black Friday Sales  – Don’t forget the biggest sales day of the year!  Make a good push on Black Friday when shoppers have got their buying hats on.
  • Cyber Monday Sales – Keep it rolling on Cyber Monday.  With some feedback from the early part of the season, review your pitch and strategy to focus on any segments you don’t think you’ve captured appropriately.Mobile cellphone christmas shopping
  • Last Days Before Xmas – Make a pitch to those final, desperate (!) shoppers who need something quick…they are out there in hoards.  Look at your inventory and give discounts on the items you need to move!


Power of Holiday Shopping

Don’t underestimate the power of the holidays.  For many retailers, the holiday season represents between 20-40% of their annual sales!  That’s an amazing number for just two months of the year.  The National Retail Federation expects 2012 sales to increase  4.1% from 2011.  According to, online sales are expected to increase by 12% this year.


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