As ubiquitous as snowflake decorations are this time of year, there are still some common misconceptions about the best ways to include the holidays in your marketing plan. Seasonal branding can be as simple as incorporating holiday colors into your logo, or can include an in-depth campaign. However, these five common mistakes trip up both experienced and less experienced marketers.
1. Ignoring the Holiday Season
For a retailer, the decision to use seasonal branding is a no-brainer, but what about for those doing B2B marketing, or other kinds of B2C marketing such as healthcare or financial services? It may surprise you to learn that no matter what kind of business you’re in, some form of seasonal branding and marketing is important. Why? Well, because no matter what it is you’re marketing, you’re marketing to people, and holidays are important to people. Seasonal branding is a great way to connect with people and show the human side of your own brand. Seasonal branding can also be a great way to refresh and revitalize your website, helping with SEO. For the service sector, marketing your seasonal branding can be as simple as sending an email that starts with “Happy holidays,” or acknowledges how busy this time of year can be for your clients.
2. Being Single-Minded
Although Christmas is certainly the biggest holiday in December, it’s not the only one. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve … they all happen this time of year. Unless you have a very niche market that you know is only interested in one of these holidays, your marketing should be inclusive, not exclusive. That being said, don’t attempt to market to a specific religious or cultural holiday unless you are sure that you understand the holiday. There are countless online images of a store offering Hanukkah Hams. Since the Jewish religion prohibits eating pork, we are quite sure this will not be a very profitable endeavor.
3. Not Planning Ahead
If your business or product can accommodate a seasonal brand, your marketing plan should have a section dedicated to leveraging seasonal opportunities. Companies often start planning late and their efforts fall flat because they underestimate how timely seasonal branding needs to be to be effective. If everyone is starting to talk about seasonal branding, that’s an indication that it’s already too late to start. Seasonal branding requires careful market engagement and should have multiple prongs to be effective. That takes time and effort. Some of the companies most successful at doing seasonal branding have marketing calendars dedicated to that effort alone.
4. Letting Seasonal Branding Take Over
Sometimes companies let their seasonal branding overshadow their main branding and message. Seasonal branding is fine, as long as it is a sub-section of your main branding efforts and does not take over your entire brand. If people start to notice your company only because of your seasonal branding, your efforts will dissipate as soon as the season is over.
5. Not Keeping Track
This is an ongoing issue in many marketing plans. If you don’t keep track of metrics, you have no way of knowing if you should repeat a plan, tweak a plan, or kill it the next year. If you are a company that sells products it is much easier to track the success of your seasonal branding; you can rely on the numbers of sales. However, for more specialized, service-based companies, the number of meaningful engagements in that period might be a better indicator of efficacy. One of the easiest ways to judge the effectiveness of your branding is to ask the customer/client if they saw it.
Whether or not you think this is the most wonderful time of the year, the holidays can be an important way for you to make connections (and sales) with your customers. Giving your seasonal branding the attention it deserves will help ensure that your holidays are jolly.