9 Holiday Marketing Planning Mistakes To Avoid

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The leaves may just be changing, but it’s already time to start looking ahead to plan your holiday marketing strategy. If you’re in the retail business, you’ve likely started, but even if you aren’t, holiday planning is still essential.

We’ve broken out the top holiday planning mistakes by the seasonality of your business. Whether your business booms during the holidays or it’s your slow season, make sure you avoid these costly oversights.

If Holidays Are Your Busy Season…

If you’re in one of the many businesses that rely on the holidays, you’re already well-aware the season is fast approaching. The holidays are big for you and that’s why it’s of the utmost importance to avoid these mistakes.

  1. Mistake 1: Procrastinating 

If your business relies on November and December for big numbers, you simply can’t put off planning any longer. A good marketing plan should detail specific assets, activities and promotions with deadlines for each activity. Be sure to get as much completed now to allow time for those (hopefully limited) last-minute projects that are sure to pop up.

Mistake 2: Forgetting key dates

We all know the big holidays like Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas. But what about Small Business Saturday (November 28), Green Monday (December 12) or Free Shipping Day (December 16)? December is chock-full of holidays and events, and it’s important to build these days into your planning.

Mistake 3: Not building a backup plan (and a backup-backup plan)

Even with the best plans, inevitably, things will go wrong. Make sure you build contingency plans into your holiday strategy. Do you have a plan if your site goes down or gets overloaded? What if there’s a hiccup with those automated emails? Ensure key staff members are reachable at all times during the holidays.

If Holidays Are Your Slow Season…

If the holidays have your balance books saying “humbug,” you are not alone. However, planning for this slower season is of utmost importance. It’s a great time to focus and prepare for your busy season and build customer relationships.

Mistake 1: Avoiding the “wish we had time for it list”

Remember all those great ideas you and your team had, but didn’t have the time to implement? Now is the time. Take advantage of the slower season and plan to devote resources to completing those initiatives that have been sitting on the back burner. For example, the holidays are a great time to build out a detailed content strategy.

Mistake 2: Forgetting promotions and specials/deals

One way to keep your business booming during the holidays is offering a promotion or deal. Reach out to your current customers with special incentives to use your business during the slow season. You’ll keep things moving while building loyalty with your customers.

Mistake 3: Assuming you don’t have a “holiday niche”

The holidays in the past may not have been big for your business, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be. Now is the time to evaluate ways to thrive during the holidays. Maybe you are a carpet cleaning company that could run a promotion encouraging clean carpets for holiday guests. Or, perhaps you’re a consultant who could add value to other businesses with their holiday strategy. Think outside of the box and your balance sheet will thank you.

If holidays are business-as-usual:

If it’s business-as-usual for your holidays, then many may envy you. The holidays may not have a direct impact on your business, but it’s certainly on the minds of your customers/clients (and employees).

Mistake 1: Failing to plan around the “busy” days

Make sure you take into account the “busy” holiday days as you plan. Don’t plan promotions or events around key holidays, when your clients will be preoccupied or traveling. Mark your calendars now with the “big” dates so you are prepared for your holiday planning.

Mistake 2: Ignoring your customers’ schedule changes

Your schedule may not be changing, but your customers and clients are certainly feeling the stress of the season. Keep this in mind as you plan meetings and promotions. Lunch breaks are used for holiday shopping and evenings are filled with holiday obligations. Look for ways to add an extra level of convenience for your stressed-out clients and keep meetings brief and valuable.

Mistake 3: Not adding “cheer” to your offering

Make sure as you complete your Q4 planning, you don’t ignore the holidays entirely. Look for ways to add an extra level of “cheer” to your everyday offerings. Holiday parties and gifts are nice, but not the only way to achieve this. Starbucks has their infamous red cups; restaurants add holiday cheer to their ambiance and festive décor fills office lobbies. It’s a special time of year, so find a way to get your business to join in.

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