Ahh, the holiday season.
The time of year where small businesses and huge corporations alike take time to spread messages of peace on Earth and goodwill toward man - and make a killing doing it.
Just kidding...kind of.
I’m not trying to say that you should see the holiday season as a time to exploit your target customers - not in the slightest.
But the truth is, the modern consumer actually looks forward to spending money and making purchases during Christmastime - whether for their loved ones or for themselves.
Case in point:
- 73% of consumers were predicted to shop at a new online or brick-and-mortar store during the 2016 holiday season
- Ecommerce sales during the 2016 holiday season saw a 12.6% year-over-year increase
- In general, retailers see a 50-100% increase in sales during the holiday season (from Black Friday to Christmas Day)
The holiday season can - and should - be a time when your company experiences huge gains in revenue.
The holiday frenzy can also be a double-edged sword, as well.
On the one hand, your customers are more prone to make purchases than they perhaps are during any other time of the year.
On the other hand, your competition knows this, too.
Simply put: you can’t just sit back and assume your customers will flock to your store and throw money bombs at you just because “it’s the holidays.” At a time in which pretty much every company out there is vying for the consumer’s attention, you need to be extra strategic in your approach to marketing during the holiday season.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most effective holiday marketing campaigns of the past few years. Whether you’ll be utilizing a specific channel (check out our Google Shopping holiday optimization guide) or taking a more overarching approach to your holiday campaigns, you stand to learn a lot from the following brands.
Holiday Marketing: Email Campaigns
We’ll start by focusing on a number of email campaigns that companies have implemented throughout past Christmas seasons.
Let’s begin with one you may be familiar with if you’ve recently checked out the rest of our blog.
MVMT’s Preemptive Holiday Sale
As we discussed in our post detailing MVMT’s meteoric rise to ecommerce success, the popular watch company started the holiday season off with a bang, offering a pre-Friday flash sale to its mailing list.
As you can see, not only did the company offer a major discount on select products, but it the team also offered free shipping to anywhere in the world throughout the campaign.
Why It Works
As we said, the holiday season is ultra-competitive. Knowing this, the guys at MVMT decided to get a jump on the competition, and start the season a little early. In doing so, the company not only artificially extend the holiday season on their own terms, but also exceeded the expectations of its customers in the process.
Also, take a look at the copy in the middle of the screenshot above. For one thing, it’s clear that the people behind MVMT are a down-to-earth group looking to have some fun with their customers. They’re also brutally honest, as they tell their customers straight out: “This is a marketing campaign.” Going back to what we talked about in the introduction, they’re not taking advantage of their customers; they’re simply taking advantage of the market’s current circumstances.
The main lessons to take away here are:
- Know your customers and their expectations
- Talk to your customers as people
- Don’t forget to have a bit of fun
Oh, and one more thing:
As a retail business, the holiday season starts when you say it does. So get moving!
No Rest for Bridget’s Holiday Gift Guide
Online women’s clothing store No Rest for Bridget gave its mailing list members a number of suggestions regarding gifts for others for the holiday season.
While, of course, focusing on women’s fashion, the company provided suggestions ranging from jackets and shoes to watches, jewelry, and even candles.
You’ll also notice that the company guaranteed the products would be delivered before the holiday season ended, and that shipping costs would be waived for customers who spent more than $50 in a single purchase.
Why it Works
While a more focused approach to product suggestions might be appropriate at other times of the year, the people at No Rest for Bridget know that most of their customers would be buying items for other people - not themselves - during this time period. By providing a wide variety of suggested items, the company ensures those who receive the newsletter will find a little something for every (female) person on their list.
Additionally, it’s important to call attention to the purchasing incentive, as well. By offering free shipping on purchases of $50 or more, the company makes it much more likely that anyone who makes a purchase at all will reach this threshold (after all, if they can buy one more present for someone else - and save money in the process - why wouldn’t they?).
The main takeaway here is to remember that, during the holiday season, your customers will likely be making purchases that don’t fit their normal routine. So don’t simply rely on your customers’ purchase histories when giving them suggestions for gifts to give.
Instead, expand their awareness to other areas of your store they may never have seen or taken much notice of; they’re bound to find something of value for someone in their personal network.
And, of course, incentivize such purchases as much as possible. Be it free shipping, discounts, or freebies, find a way to persuade your customers to buy gifts for their friends from your store - not your competitors’.
Boloco Naughty or Nice
Chain restaurant Boloco puts an interesting spin on holiday marketing:
During this promotion, after putting $25 onto their Boloco loyalty card, customers could choose to add $5 more to their own card for free, or give the $5 freebie to a friend.
Why it Works
Let’s look at the two possible outcomes here:
In the “Naughty” scenario, the customer loads $25 onto their card, and Boloco gives them $5 free toward their next meal. This ensures the customer will return to Boloco for at least $30 worth of food - and most likely more than that - in the months to come.
In the “Nice” scenario, the original customer spends $25 of their own money, and a new customer is introduced to Boloco not just as a passerby, but as a loyalty card holder. At the very least, this new customer will give Boloco’s menu a chance - and hopefully stick around afterwards.
In either case, Boloco gave away $5 - but the ROI of such a deal could end up being huge.
(And, of course, the whole “naughty or nice” spin is a fun, innovative approach to holiday marketing.)
The lesson to take away from Boloco’s campaign is to provide your customers with options.
You might allow them to take 20% off their bill or give them a free item of equal to the amount of 20% of their bill, or allow them to buy one item and get one free or buy one item and give one free. Or you might give them the option of “paying it forward” by paying $5 extra that will go toward a friend’s future purchase.
The more control your customers have over their shopping experience, the more likely they’ll be to convert.
Everlane’s “Last Minute Gifts”
Online apparel store Everlane provided its customers with some last last-minute gift ideas for the holiday season:
Some of the gift ideas offered were for seasonal products, and others were more evergreen. Regardless, Everlane provided a number of suggestions for both male and female friends and family members - each costing less than $100.
Why It Works
For starters, the timing of this email was perfect: it was sent seven days before Christmas Day. Those who had begun panicking about not being able to find an awesome gift for a friend or loved one would certainly be at ease upon receiving this in their inbox.
What’s more, these definitely aren’t “throwaway” gifts left over once all the “good stuff” has been bought up. These are quality items that customers may have overlooked the first time they checked out Everlane’s products. As far as last-minute gifts appear in the gift-giver’s eyes, these are likely as good as they’ll get.
Lastly, rather than providing a generic “click here to shop” button, Everlane allows its customers to start their shopping with a focus on men’s or women’s products. Again, it might seem rather minor, but by giving their customers a choice from the beginning, Everlane makes it much more likely that recipients of this email will engage further with the content at hand.
The first thing to take away here is that you need sometimes (if not always) need to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. In Everlane’s case, the creators of this campaign clearly know how stressful holiday shopping can be - especially when you’re running out of time. So, they created this email with an empathetic slant in the hopes of alleviating their customers’ worries.
Additionally, by including the gender-specific calls-to-action, Everlane got its customers’ last-minute shopping experience started on the right foot. The lesson here is to get your customers focused on a specific action from the get-go, rather than directing them to your main page without any sort of direction with regard to gift-purchasing.
Holiday Marketing: Social Media Campaigns
Social media sees a huge influx of marketing campaigns around the holiday season that wholeheartedly embrace the “social” aspect of the platform.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones from past years.
Starbucks’ #RedCupContest Campaign
Adding to the tradition of its annual holiday-themed cup, in 2016 Starbucks issued the #RedCupContest, asking its customers to upload a photo of them holding or drinking from their cup to their social media pages, and entering the aforementioned hashtag in the caption.
Why It Works
Believe it or not, Starbucks has actually been releasing holiday-themed cups for the past twenty years.
Perhaps this isn’t news to loyal fans of the coffee chain. But, due in large part to social media, most anyone with an Internet connection knows about Starbucks’ annual red cup celebration.
How did this come to be?
Well, first of all, the coffee giant has essentially created a holiday within a holiday, as the release of the red cups has come to denote the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season. Without even adding any incentive, or even calling its customers to action, the people at Starbucks know the red cups will start showing up all across social media within minutes of release.
To add to the frenzy, Starbucks then created its own branded hashtag, along with a contest asking customers to get creative with their social media posts. In essence, the coffee giant leveraged their customer base in order to create a huge buzz (pun wholly intended) throughout the holiday season.
The lesson to be gleaned here is two-fold:
First, consider the branded hashtags you’ll use throughout your holiday marketing campaign. This ensures that your fans stay hooked to your brand - and also optimizes visibility among those who currently aren’t following your company on social media.
Secondly, focus on facilitating and promoting user-generated content via social media as much as possible. As we’ve talked about before, UGC not only promotes your brand to others within said user’s network, but it also doubles as a high-quality referral, as well.
(And, while not pertaining specifically to social media, the notion of creating a holiday tradition for your brand certainly should not go unnoticed.)
Barnes and Noble’s #BnGiftTip Campaign
Barnes and Noble created a Twitter campaign encouraging its followers to ask for and make recommendations to others in the community.
Why It Works
As with the Starbucks #RedCupContest, Barnes & Noble created a branded hashtag that would promote engagement among its current community, and facilitate brand awareness among non-customers (The same will be said about the following examples, as well).
Looking at the deeper value of this campaign, B&N was not only able to gain insight into the needs of their customers (and others within their customers’ networks), but was also able to provide real-time, individualized suggestions to thousands of customers at the click of a button.
Think about it:
By sifting through the tweets submitted by its followers, the people at Barnes & Noble could learn an incredible amount about the interests of almost any given segment in their customer base. This information, of course, will provide huge value to the company well past the holiday season.
What’s more, the campaign allowed company representatives to reach out personally to customers with well thought-out recommendations (as opposed to those generated by algorithms based on shopping history, etc.). Even if a rep wasn’t able to reach a specific individual,
The first lesson to take away here is that your customers can be more than advocates and evangelists of your brand: they’re also specialists, as well. Getting customers to generate UGC on their own terms is one thing, but bringing them to make targeted recommendations to others within your community is incredibly powerful.
Secondly, Barnes & Noble shows with this campaign the importance of providing personalized customer service and consultation before an individual has even made a purchase. Realistically, the people looking for recommendations could have done so through a number of automated channels (such as Amazon’s suggestions algorithm) - but they didn’t. They showed an interest in working specifically with B&N’s community, and deserved the individualized attention they received.
StubHub’s #TixWish Campaign
StubHub’s #TixWish had the company’s social media followers tweeting and posting daily messages describing the concert or event they would love to attend. Throughout the month of December, StubHub gave away $500 each day, and more:
Why It Works
As with the other entries in this section, StubHub’s branded hashtag raised brand awareness, and also rallied the brand’s community around a singular topic.
Additionally, followers were incentivized to share the hashtag and message on a daily basis throughout the month of December. So, not only was StubHub able to gain visibility within their followers’ networks, but it also maximized the potential for the hashtag to be listed as “trending” throughout the entire holiday season.
The main lesson to learn from StubHub’s campaign is the importance of making your holiday campaign ongoing, and to facilitate multiple points of engagement among individual followers.
Another thing to note is there was seemingly no limit to the amount of times a single follower could enter the contest - even on a daily basis. While you don’t necessarily want people to be retweeting your holiday message ad nauseam, you also don’t want to limit how much they talk about your brand throughout the holiday season, either.
WestJet’s #WestJetChristmas Campaign
WestJet Airlines challenged its social media following to commit 12,000 random acts of kindness in 24 hours at a specific time of the 2015 holiday season.
Why It Works
Rather than tout the service the airline provides, WestJet chose to focus solely on the spirit of the holidays. While, naturally, the marketing goal was to increase brand awareness, the public-facing goal was simply to spread holiday cheer as widely as possible - and it definitely worked.
Also, going against what we just said regarding stretching holiday campaigns throughout the season, WestJet decided to focus its big event around a 24-hour period. However, the build-up to this 24-hour period lasted much longer (and included a Hallmark-esque feel-good commercial), growing anticipation among its followers in the process.
Perhaps the most important thing to take away from WestJet’s campaign is that the holidays are about more than making sales - or, at least, they should be.
Rather than focusing solely on making a killing throughout the season, use this time of year to promote the more wholesome missions your organization undertakes. Promote the charities you work with, or the causes you champion - and get your followers involved in the process.
Sure, in doing so you’ll likely gain visibility and awareness that will bleed over into the rest of the year. But, again, this doesn’t mean you’re exploiting the holiday season; the growth you experience will simply be a byproduct of the good deeds you’ve performed throughout the month.
Mobile and Push Notification Campaigns
If your phone has started blowing up with push notifications from all the branded apps you’ve downloaded, you’re not alone.
Done wrong, such push notifications can be rather annoying. Done right, however, they can increase customer engagement and generate huge amounts of revenue for your company.
For this section, we’ve collected some of the more exciting and intriguing push notifications from the past few years, and explained why they were so effective.
Abercrombie & Fitch Preempts Black Friday
Just as MVMT did in our earlier example, Abercrombie & Fitch decided to get a jump on the holiday season by offering a preview of its Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals:
Why It Works
This notification was sent out to anyone with the Abercrombie app a full week before Thanksgiving, giving customers plenty of time to see what the clothing company would have to offer on Black Friday.
It’s worth noting that, although the notification may have taken people by surprise (having been sent so early in the season), it’s not exactly “in your face,” either. In fact, by sending out this early notification, A&F may actually decrease the “frenzy” experienced by many consumers on Black Friday; since they know what deals to expect ahead of time, they’ll be more prepared when the big shopping days come.
As we said when discussing MVMT’s email campaign, it can be hugely beneficial to preempt the shopping craze and try to get noticed before the market becomes saturated with ads and marketing campaigns.
But also, as alluded to above, you don’t necessarily want to begin your actual deals and offers early, as it might seem like overkill to your customers. Instead, give them some hints and previews in order to grow their anticipation while leading up to the “big day.”
Lilly Pulitzer Hints at Big Cyber Monday Sales
Women’s fashion company Lilly Pulitzer dropped a pre-Black Friday push notification to build anticipation for a “wild” Cyber Monday sale:
Why It Works
The above notification does a few things right.
For one thing, the message clearly fits within the brand’s style. From the use of the “dancer” emoji to the casual yet urgent copy, this message would definitely stand out among the typical “Check out our Black Friday deals!” push notifications being sent by most other companies.
Secondly, just as with A&F’s notification, Lilly’s doesn’t start the season early - it just builds anticipation for when the time comes. Even better, it tells its audience exactly what to do in order to take advantage of the upcoming deals: Be available at midnight on Cyber Monday.
The main thing to remember, that this example reminds us of, is to not get so wrapped up in the holiday marketing frenzy that you forget what your brand is all about. Keep your messaging aligned with your brand to avoid coming off as “salesy.”
Also, remember to give your audience specific instructions for what you want them to do after reading your message. When a push notification comes through, users have two options: engage further, or ignore it. You don’t want them to choose the latter.
Spring Extolls the Virtues of Ecommerce
Lifestyle ecommerce brand Spring knows that shopping on Black Friday usually equates to a whole lot of standing in line...except when shopping online:
Why It Works
First things first, Spring empathizes with their audience’s plight of spending an entire day standing in lines at the mall - and offers a solution to this problem. Pretty straightforward by today’s standards, but it’s still worth reminding consumers of why ecommerce was invented in the first place.
Spring also does something here that might, at first, go unnoticed: it focuses on Black Friday rather than Cyber Monday (the now-traditional “big day” for ecommerce). However, it doesn’t exactly make a big deal about getting started early, either. The notification simply explains how Spring’s audience can benefit from engaging with the company on Black Friday instead of braving the local outlets.
Play to your audience’s comfort level.
While some enjoy getting swept up in the “holiday frenzy,” others become rather uncomfortable and anxiety-ridden by the thought of fighting through crowds to do some Christmas shopping for their loved ones. So, while you might want to hop on the “frenzy” bandwagon, remember to keep in mind those who would rather do their shopping without the feeling of anxiety creeping on their shoulder at all times.
Etsy’s Three-Step Process
Etsy’s simple push notification tells you exactly what you need to do to be the star of the gift-giving season:
Why It Works
This tongue-in-cheek message simplifies the process of holiday shopping, alleviating its audience’s worries about “finding the perfect gift” for their loved ones.
Not only does it alleviate their worries, but it also makes them the “star” of the campaign, as well. While the beginning of the message is all about how Etsy can help them shop for their friends and family, the final message refers to the feeling of accomplishment they’ll feel once their loved ones open their perfect gift.
As we said in the previous section, this time of year fills many with anxiety and other not-so-great feelings when shopping for others - feelings which aren’t exactly alleviated by the flashy, in-your-face nature of most advertising campaigns throughout the season. With this in mind, it can be helpful to keep things simple and calm for your customers rather than rallying them into a frenzy.
Also, though the “steps” in this example are silly and superfluous, it’s important to reiterate the importance of a CTA in your push notifications. Remember: it’s incredibly easy to swipe a notification away and forget all about it - but it’s just as easy to swipe the other way and dive deeper into the offer.
Website-Based Holiday Campaigns
During the holiday season, companies tend to give their websites a temporary makeover, or, at the very least, add holiday-themed sections to them.
Let’s take a look at how some hugely successful companies have tailored their websites for the holiday season.
Paypal Makes Simple Tweaks to Its Website
PayPal proves that you don’t need to completely overhaul your website to get into the holiday spirit. Sometimes, tweaks in your copy and messaging (and some added images) can be just as effective.
Why It Works
PayPal, of course, isn’t a destination for online shoppers; it’s more like a means to an end. Naturally, the payment service knows that the holiday season is a huge time of year for commerce businesses and consumers alike - and its main web page reflects this.
Let’s call attention to the relatively minor tweak in copy toward the bottom of the screenshot above. The people at PayPal say it straight out: “You’re already shopping for the holidays.” In other words, it’s safe for the company to assume that anyone who’s visiting its website at this time of year has online shopping on their mind. Knowing this, the company provides an added incentive to do so using the PayPal Cashback Mastercard.
As we said, you don’t necessarily need to go nuts when changing up your website’s design during the holidays - but you should circle back to your customers’ current needs and expectations.
That being said, it’s best to avoid cosmetic changes to your site’s design without an idea of exactly how the changes will affect the customer experience (this goes for any changes you make - not just for the holidays). In other words, when making changes to the copy or design of your website, be intentional, specific, and purposeful. Otherwise, you run the risk of appearing inauthentic as a brand.
LL Bean’s Winterized Website
We’re willing to bet you could picture what LL Bean’s website looks like in the winter without our help. But we’ll show you, anyway:
Why It Works
First, we have the image of a family of outdoorsmen (and women) out for a stroll in the snow, family pet and presents along for the ride. The picture alone screams “family holiday,” and also offers a visual representation of the benefits of wearing LL Bean’s clothing (being comfortable while braving the cold, wet winter landscape).
The copy doubles down on the gift-giving motif, and adds a bit of sales copy to further convince the audience of the quality of the potential gift to be given. Under the copy, audience members are directed right to the product page for the item in question. There’s nothing subtle about that call to action, is there?
(And, let’s take a moment to recognize the simplistic genius behind the line “Be an outsider.” *Slow clap*)
This is a perfect example of an effective mix of features and benefits of a given product, communicated via text as well as imagery.
On the one hand, LL Bean gives us percentages regarding how dry you (or your loved ones) will stay while wearing the brand’s new down jacket. To the average customer, these percentages are rather arbitrary, and probably don’t mean all that much. But the following description - coupled with the accompanying image - tell the rest of the story, making the benefits of wearing the jacket clear.
The takeaway here is:
Remember that your holiday customers are probably shopping for someone else, meaning they probably care less about product specs than they do about the joy the product will bring their loved one. As the old saying goes, don’t just sell the steak - sell the sizzle.
The Container Store Knows What It’s Good For
While The Container Store does sell other items that could be considered stocking stuffers for some, the company knows how to best market its products during the holidays:
Why It Works
All those gifts we buy during the holiday season need to get boxed and wrapped up somehow, right?
While most other companies focus on selling gifts to be given, The Container Store takes an outside-the-box (sorry) approach, focusing on the necessary items that go along with gift giving - no matter what the gift may be.
Really, is there any other time of year in which you could flaunt gift wrap, ribbons, and storage containers...and have your customers champing at the bit to make a purchase?
As we said:
Think outside the box during the holiday season. Chances are, no matter what your company sells, people will find a good use for it during this time of year. Think of all the holidays encompasses, and figure out where your brand fits into the overall experience.
(And, of course, don’t neglect the power of a holiday-themed deal or offer. At some level, the phrase “stocking stuffer” simply means “impulse purchase you absolutely can’t refuse.”)
WalMart Knows Your Holiday Pastime
WalMart knows that, for most of us, the holiday season is a time for baking. But you can’t bake without supplies, right?
Why It Works
In keeping with the idea that there’s more to the holidays than gift-giving, WalMart chooses to focus instead on another tradition of the season: baking cookies, pies, and other sweet treats.
Adding to the overall message of this page, WalMart includes offers for free shipping or pickup, as well as grocery delivery. Not only are customers given a number of options in terms of baking equipment, but they’re also given a quick and easy way to collect all the other supplies and ingredients they need to make their holiday baking session a success.
Again, look to the other activities and events your customers take part in during the holiday season. Think about what else you offer that could add to their overall holiday experience (rather than simply promoting gifts to give others).
Additionally, think of services you could provide during the season that could enhance your base offering and your customers’ experiences with your brand. As we’ve said, the holidays can be a stressful time of year; anything you can do to help your customers will be greatly appreciated.
Multi-Channel Holiday Campaigns
Now, most companies don’t focus on just one channel to market to during the holiday season (including the brands mentioned above).
To wrap this guide up, we’re going to look at some of the ways brands have truly embraced the holiday season and created an all-around experience for their customers in the process.
Krispy Kreme’s 12 Days of Donuts Campaign
During Krispy Kreme’s 12 Days of Donuts, the cafe chain essentially went full Clark Griswold, transforming its storefronts, website, and other branded items into a winter wonderland.
During the 12 Days of Donuts, Krispy Kreme offered daily discounts and deals, holiday-themed mobile games and activities, and matching accessories like coffee mugs and t-shirts.
Why It Works
Krispy Kreme’s holiday campaign embodies the sentiment that, if you’re going to do something at all, you should go all-in.
Because the campaign spread multiple channels (both on- and offline), Krispy Kreme all but ensured every one of their customers would partake in the festivities in one way or another. Had the campaign been focused specifically on the company’s online presence, a large percentage of its customer base would have essentially been ignored.
Additionally, as with some of the other examples on our list Krispy Kreme ensured its audience would stay engaged for the entire 12-day span of the campaign by providing different offers each day.
Even if your business is strictly online only, keep in mind that your various customers likely utilize the internet in a number of different ways.
In other words, include each of the channels your brand is active on throughout your holiday campaigns - and make sure your messaging aligns across these channels. Even if a given campaign is focused on a specific channel (such as StubHub’s #TixWish Twitter campaign), make sure your audience members using other channels are kept “in the loop,” so they know how to get the most out of your holiday initiatives.
Food52’s Cookies of the World Campaign
Cooking equipment retailer Food52 began a campaign during the holidays that has ended up being a perennial hub on its website:
On the company’s interactive site, visitors can click on any of the 42 “landmarks” on the map to discover a cookie recipe native to that area of the world. What’s more: visitors can also submit their own recipes, as well.
Why It Works
Again, this campaign focuses less on making purchases and more on the traditional activities that come along with the holiday season. As a bonus, visitors don’t even need to spend any money to receive the featured recipes.
As far as content goes, the Cookies of the World campaign not only promotes user-generated content, but inherently promotes diverse content, as well. The all-inclusive nature of this campaign all but ensures people from all walks of life will have something to add to the engagement, no matter where they come from.
Just as it was with Barnes & Noble’s campaign, the lesson to be learned from Food52’s cookie campaign is to empower your customers and allow them to see the value that they bring your brand (rather than just promoting your value to them).
Additionally, remember the holidays should be about giving of yourself to others. Don’t neglect the power of free content, especially during a time in which consumers are expecting to have to open their wallets for just about anything.
Target’s My Kind of Holiday Campaign
Target knows that every family has unique traditions they partake in during the holidays. So, in 2013, the department store company called on its customers to showcase their traditions through a variety of channels.
The “My Kind of Holiday” campaign featured daily activities and touchpoints, such as Instagram challenges, shopping tips, and DIY crafts for members of the Target community to share with their friends and families.
Why It Works
As with Krispy Kreme and Food52’s holiday campaigns, Target’s “My Kind of Holiday” initiative goes beyond selling, focusing more on the feeling of the holiday season, and all the activities that go into making this time of year so special.
And, similar to Food52’s campaign, Target was able to get the members of its community to come together to celebrate their differences - not hide them. By promoting user-generated content, not only was Target able to gain extra visibility and exposure, but it was also able to showcase the diversity of its customer base, as well.
As we said when discussing Krispy Kreme’s campaign, the main lesson here is to use as many channels as necessary to get your message out to your customers. Additionally, come up with a number of ways in which to engage with your community - and ways for them to engage with each other, as well as with your brand. Keep things interesting, and you should be able to keep your fans hooked throughout the holiday season.
And, again, we can’t express enough the value of user-generated content. If you can get your customers to showcase the value of your brand to others in their network, you’re almost sure to bring in a ton of new business.
Macy’s “Wishes Across America” Campaign
In recent years, Macy’s has teamed up with Make-a-Wish to increase donations made toward children with debilitating or terminal diseases throughout the holiday season.
One part of the campaign urges people of all ages to write letters to Santa and place them in Macy’s red “Santa Mail” mailbox. For every letter written, Macy’s donates $1 to Make-a-Wish.
Why It Works
Let’s be serious: Macy’s doesn’t need much more publicity during the holiday season; I mean, the company is the sponsor of the event that officially kicks off Christmastime on Thanksgiving Day.
That being said, the Wishes Across America initiative isn’t a marketing ploy (although it does get people in the stores, if only to submit their letter to Santa). It’s all about what the Macy’s community can do to help the most vulnerable and in-need members of our society - and nothing more.
While it certainly paints the company in a good light among its community, the fact that this is truly secondary to the actual purpose of the initiative is why it’s so effective.
On the marketing side of things, consider the many ways you can partner with other brands and companies during the holiday season. Think of companies that sell related products, or ancillary services that go hand-in-hand with your offering in one way or another. Such cross-promotions could easily catch the eye of gift-givers who are currently stumped as to what else to get for a loved one.
But, most importantly (and we’ll end on a sappy note, here):
Always keep in mind what the holiday season is really all about. Be giving of yourself, in whatever capacity you can. While you certainly want to make hay while the sun shines, as the saying goes, do so in a way that will add to your customers’ holiday experiences in a meaningful manner.
Be like Scrooge after he was visited by the three ghosts - not before.