Managing ad dollars

Tis' the season for holiday advertising. Or not.

The holiday season is upon us, and if you are an advertiser, this is a great time of year to generate attention and capitalize on the good spirit of consumers. In fact, consumer confidence is at record highs not seen since September 2000*. This holiday season is expected to see an increase in retail sales of approximately 4.6%** rising close to $719.2** billion dollars.

With that, here are three tips for holiday advertising.

1. Decide if the effort is worth the reward

The holiday season is one of the most active times of year for advertisers and consumers alike. Demand for inventory and eyeballs is extremely high. And when that happens the cost of advertising is also high. Many companies choose to avoid the holiday ad season all together. It’s expensive, crowed and takes effort to break through the clutter. Ask yourself if the time and cost is going to provide positive ROI. For products with long purchase decision cycles such as window replacement, maybe not so much. In many other cases the answer is yes. It’s a chance to capitalize on brand awareness building you did earlier in the year or offers a chance to build momentum into the new year. And who would want to miss out on a share of that $700+ billion in consumer spending? Make your decision based on what’s strategic for you – your company, your product and your budget.

2. Be smart with your messaging

While aligning your message with your audience is a practice you should be working on all year long, the holiday season is an opportunity to ramp everything up a notch. It’s one of the best opportunities to align your product with a time of year. Adding holiday cues through visual and audio stimulus creates an emotional connection and can tie your product into a holiday occasion. But you should be strategic with this effort and remain true to your brand. One classic and smart examples is Corona. Corona took its “vacation state-of -mind” brand positioning and connected it to a “holiday state-of-mind” to fully embrace the occasion. In the now famous ad the company added Christmas lights to a palm tree on the beach and presto, Corona now seems like the perfect beverage to enjoy during the holidays. 

Image Credit: Corona USA

3. Plan now for the new year

Whether or not you decide to advertise during the holidays, don’t let the season go to waste.

Most companies should start thinking about buying holiday advertising in July & August. It helps you secure the media placements your audience engages with most before inventory is gone and avoid increases in costs as inventory decreases. If you missed this window of time (by a long shot) don’t despair. Use this time instead to brain storm strategic marketing plans for the new year. Then you’ll be ready for the 2019 holiday advertising cycle. For example, planning to lay ground work in September and October with brand messages will seed recall for consumers in November and December when you start asking them to make purchases. 

Already have your holiday ads purchased and planned? Use this time to decide how you’ll cultivate the customer relationships you built during the holidays. A smart Customer Relations Marketing (CRM) program to nurture your new customers is important to keep them engaged all year long. Think about "Thank You” emails, additional special offers, helpful tips and insights, etc. Use social listening insights to update marketing efforts with a more audience-centric approach.

Happy media planning! And happy holidays.

Sources:
*Consumer Confidence Survey® Oct. 2018, ^eMarketer March 2018.
**National Retail Federation forecast Oct.’18 (does not include automobiles, gasoline or restaurants).