Yesterday I took down my Halloween decorations. Partly because I travel and partly because I'm lazy. But mostly it was because everyone else on my block had already shifted to holiday decorations. Holiday campaigns are crucial for retail and any B2C business. And they are starting earlier and earlier.
Black Friday is in decline. And Gen Z is already changing how we look at reaching consumers. Ten years ago people went urban camping outside of a Circuit City for a deal on a flat-screen TV. Now people don't even necessarily want another large television. They can watch things from anywhere. And they are.
With a shift in both shopping habits (how and where to find deals) and how people consume content (on their phone), this is changing how businesses big and small are and should view the holiday season.
But this season there are three things a business of any size can and should leverage.
Owned media should be your initial focus.
You should focus on earned and owned media just as much as paid. Cultivating an audience that you can activate during the holiday season is a 12-month process but if you have it, use it.
And again-this creates the ability and necessity for longer lead times. So when you see a holiday campaign launch before Halloween, know that there is a reasoning behind it. With owned channels, you have the flexibility to start previewing your holiday campaigns earlier. Most businesses, especially small businesses, aren't going to spend on holiday advertising for three months. But if you have the audience and don't have to spend, it makes logical sense to start teeing up these campaigns earlier.
Why? Trial and error. You need to know what resonates. A/B testing campaigns is one of the easiest and smartest things to do digitally. Make small steps, see what works and then be able to fully launch with confidence in mid to late November.
What if you don't have a large enough audience for owned media and it's already November? Test the campaigns through influencers or partner with a business that has a complimentary product to yours and a stronger audience. Ideally, you want your own audience but they can be found.
Small businesses have to use video.
I don't want to be the millionth person to talk about why video is important. You've read that article. 77 percent of marketers will be using video this year to drive their holiday campaigns according to a Promo study. The more interesting stat is that 49 percent of those using video started doing so within the last year.
"We know video is an essential marketing tool and wondered why more SMBs weren't utilizing it. As we received our survey responses we noticed a huge trend, that a tipping point was at hand," said Hila Shitrit Nissim, VP of communications at Slidely.
The why to that tipping point makes complete sense. Video is cheaper and cheaper, it's easy to track, easy to quantify and most importantly it's how people want to consume content. The fact that you are even reading this article and not watching a YouTube video about this topic is breaking from the norm (but greatly appreciated).
Here's how to create compelling video.
The bigger issue is how and where.
The video has to entertain first and foremost. Never forget that. Using the right channel (video) does not guarantee success. You have to pay close attention to what your competition is doing and make a unique and different appeal in your market.
Start by identifying the profile of your audience. Who are they? Give them a name. Identify with them. Focus on their wants, needs, interests.
Then look at successful content in industries other than your own. See what worked and what you can bring from that in to your industry. The best way to determine success is seeing something already work with your audience somewhere else. Your audience buys things from all kinds of industries but they remain the same. Remember that.
Once you have the how figured out then determine where to go with your content. Some of this will already be figured out for you based on audience. Gen Z and Boomers will require different channels. If you're wondering why most political ads were still TV and direct mail this year it's because campaigns always assume that the voting public skews older.
Finally-and this is important-your holiday video has to drive to an action. That's the point. The other nine to ten months out of the year can be spent on brand building for owned channels but remember subtly or directly to make sure you are motivating people to purchase with your holiday video.