It’s October, and you know what that means? It’s basically Christmas! Yes, while it might still seem a little early to be thinking about it, Christmas will be on our doorstep before we know it, which means it’s almost time for the inaugural Christmas campaign to roll out.
And the big names are already causing a stir this year, with John Lewis & Partners hiring Sir Elton John in a bid to ‘win the battle of the Christmas Adverts’. With competition like that, it can feel as though smaller players won’t stand a chance, right? Wrong.
But here’s a secret. You don’t need a big TV budget to compete with the likes of John Lewis, Waitrose or any of the other big household brands. All you need is a healthy dose of creativity and a proven strategy. And to help you out, we’ve got five top tips to help you make the most of your Christmas campaigns this year.
- Plan Before You Jump In
Failing to plan is planning to fail, and that couldn’t be truer in marketing. Every year, around November (or even December), we see businesses pushing out their first Christmas promotions. These late-comer campaigns are often messy, inconsistent and with no real purpose – and so they rarely achieve anything. The most successful Christmas campaigns are the ones that have been planned out well in advance, with careful thought and preparation and a integrated approach.
All this means that you need to start this work now. Allocate your budgets, plan your campaigns, packages, artwork and copy so that it’s ready for launch. Brainstorm and decide what your campaign will look like at each stage of the Christmas countdown so that you know exactly what you will be promoting when, and how. If you’re feeling really organised, use the data you’ve collected in previous years to choose the perfect day to launch your campaign.
For example, when do voucher sales start coming in, and what’s the busiest booking time? This information can be the difference between a campaign that starts with a bang, and one that starts with a whimper.
- Think Outside The Box
In a world where millions of companies are shouting into the marketing space, creative thinking wins the day. The idea of your Christmas campaign shouldn’t be to shout the loudest, but to think the smartest and really capture attention by offering something different. Just look at the supermarket industry around Christmas.
In 2007, John Lewis changed the face of Christmas campaigns forever by airing a 1:05 long advert that didn’t just promote products – it told a story. This sparked a huge shift in the way supermarkets advertised during Christmas, and now all the major supermarkets are doing their best to imitate this success and signal the ‘start of Christmas’ to thousands.
The message here is to do something new and memorable so that you can stand out. For example, you could plan a series of Facebook Live streams around the festive season, each depicting a different ‘day’ of Christmas, a tip or just a fun video with your branding on it.
You could introduce a social gaming app that gets customers actively involved and even rewards them for engaging. Think a treasure hunt, pass the parcel or even an ‘advent calendar’ with a new mini-game behind each door.
For example, at Orbital Media we worked with Sudocrem to create an engaging Facebook campaign focused around ‘saving Christmas from the nappy rash and scrapes & graze gremlins’. The game involved trying to tap on as many ‘gremlins’ as possible within the set time as they fell and appeared randomly on the screen. If they were successful, the customer was taken to an instant win screen and a prize. The game was played over 118,000 times by over 25,000 people and increased sales over this critical period.
- Give People A Reason To Come Back
Christmas puts a lot of demands on our attention spans, so you need a great way to keep your customers interested. A good Christmas campaign will give people a reason to repeatedly come back to your brand channels during a relatively short and very busy space of time. If you get this right, it will not only increase engagement with your brand, but it will ingrain your brand on their brains, increasing the likelihood that they will actually buy from you.
After all, it takes around seven touchpoints with a business before a customer will buy from them, so if you can hook customers in early and keep them coming back for more, you’re on to a winner.
You can do this by planning out a series of posts and interactive elements that will make people remember you. The possibilities are endless here, but a firm favourite of ours is the advent calendar tie-in. People are used to opening something new during December in the countdown to Christmas, so harness that and give them something new to ‘open’ from you every day. Orbital have developed a social app that offers unique content as well as prizes in the form of an advent calendar hosted on your Facebook page.
- Integrate Your Campaigns
If you really want to step up your Christmas campaign game, you need to think on more than just one platform. Memorable, successful campaigns work to spread the same key message over multiple platforms and channels, both on and offline. So, look at everywhere you currently market your business and ensure your Christmas campaign is included on all of them.
If you run radio or TV adverts, these need to be tied into your campaign – along with any leaflets, in-store promotions and anything else you can think of. This increases the chances of your campaign being seen, contributes to those seven touchpoints and helps deliver your message in unique ways to capture different audiences.
- Don’t Forget To Measure
And finally, if you want the best out of your marketing campaigns, you need to be measuring them. This helps you see what is working and what isn’t, and allows you to adjust your approach so that you don’t waste money.
There are plenty of different ways you can measure your campaigns, particularly if they are online since a lot of platforms come built in with measuring tools. But if you aren’t sure, you can always chat with us about our monitoring service. We’ve also written a detailed series of posts all about how to create and measure a strong Christmas campaign, which you can read here, here and here.
Of course, there are lots of other things you could do to make your Christmas campaign a success, depending on what industry you’re in and what you define as ‘success’. For more information, or to discuss your Christmas campaign today, get in touch with the Orbital Media team.