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Marketing Around the Holiday Season

Marketing Around the Holiday Season

There is no more important time of year for marketing than around the holidays.  Between parties, events, end-of-year corporate bonuses, and gifts for family and friends, consumers purchase more at this time of year than any other time.  It is important for brands to capitalize on this increased spending to boost their sales in the final quarter of the year.  

How can a business make the most of this time?  And how does marketing during the holidays differ from marketing in other seasons?  We’re breaking it all down below.

Different Purchasing Behaviors

Consumers’ purchasing behaviors are drastically different around the holidays than during the other 10 months of the year.  There are a few key differences that marketing teams should be aware of. 

Gifting is king

First, gifting is king.  In general, people are buying more for others than for themselves.  There are so many presents to be purchased: for close family and friends, for coworkers, for the hosts of all the holiday parties people are attending.  There is a seemingly endless need to be purchasing gifts during the holiday season.  

Emphasis on charity

Goodwill and charity matter more at this time of year also.  The holidays tend to make people feel sentimental.  Giving and charitable donations increase notably as the holidays approach.  Emotional stories that tug on the heartstrings tend to make a bigger impact during the holiday season.  Charity is more front-of-mind than usual at this time of year.  

Wants > Needs

Finally, this time of year is more about wants than needs.  People do not want to buy each other useful gifts.  They want to buy each other fun and exciting gifts.  Even for those consumers who are shopping for themselves, the end of the year is a big time to splurge.  Whether they’ve been saving up all year, or just got a big holiday bonus, this is the time people tend to finally buy those items they’ve been eyeing for months. 

How Do I Market To This? 

So, how to apply these trends to your holiday marketing plan?  There are a few ways. 

Adjust your target demographic

Since such a large percentage of sales at this time of year are for gifts, this is the one time you do not necessarily want to be marketing only to your own target audience.  Instead, you also need to be thinking about the demographics of those who are most likely to be buying your offering as a gift for someone.  Your advertising should reflect that you are speaking not only directly to your target market, but to those close to them as well.  Don’t just tell people why your product or service would be awesome to have – tell them why it would make a fantastic gift for others as well. 

Stay away from utility

In your advertising, also be sure not to be focusing too heavily on the utility of your offering.  Focus instead on the ways your offering is desirable, exciting, and would make a great gift.  There are plenty of situations where facts and rational thinking can effectively be the focus of your marketing campaigns, but not around the holidays.  

Craft your offerings to encourage gift-giving

Beyond the advertising, you may want to think of ways to tweak your offerings as well, so they lend themselves to gift-giving.  Offer gift cards and gift certificates.  Find a way to bundle your offerings together into a gift basket.  Even if your product or service would not traditionally be seen as a popular gift, you can find ways to increase its appeal.  

Focus on charitable efforts

As we mentioned above, charity and goodwill are high around the holidays.  This is a great time of year to really ramp up your philanthropic efforts, and emphasize any charitable partnerships or initiatives that your company has.  Donating a portion of your proceeds back to a nonprofit organization could make your offerings more appealing to consumers around the holidays.  Any way you can connect your business to these feelings of charity and goodwill will likely benefit you at this time of year.

All in all, marketing is not so drastically different around the holidays than it is any other time, but there are a few key differences that are important to note.  Remember that when it comes to gift-giving, you’re not just selling to your own key demographic anymore.  By focusing on the way people purchase and make decisions during the holiday season, you will be able to successfully craft your marketing strategy to fit the season. 

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