A How-to Guide for The Perfect Holiday Marketing Strategy

by | Oct 10, 2022

For many businesses, holiday marketing means everything to the bottom line. Depending on the company, it is estimated that between 20% and 40% of all retail sales happen during the last two months of the year.

It’s been this way for years, and 2022 is no exception.

For example, eMarketer forecasts that holiday spending will rise a modest 3.3% to $1.262 trillion.

And according to a recent PwC holiday 2022 outlook:

  • 74% of respondents said they would spend as much or more as in 2021 with 35% planning to spend more
  • Millennials plan to spend the most ($1,823), followed by Generation X, and then Gen Z

That sounds great! But understand that consumers as well as businesses face one big challenge that may complicate your holiday marketing planning and rollout: inflation.

A Numerator consumer survey revealed that 59% of shoppers expect price increases to be moderate or significant.

34% of consumers in a CivicScience study said that “deals and promotions” would be the biggest factor in their buying decisions.

All of this means that you have to get started now – if you haven’t already – on planning your direct mail holiday marketing.

What Makes a Great Holiday Marketing Strategy?

A holiday marketing campaign that rocks doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the result of careful planning and experience. To be effective and produce great results, here’s a quick rundown of what you should do. See below for a little more detail on each step.

  • Define your audience
  • Review the previous holiday marketing campaign
  • Set up your goals
  • Measure your KPIs
  • Create a great holiday offer.
  • Leverage the marketing channels that matter
  • Get organized and plan your schedule
  • Plan to stay connected during and after the holidays

When Should I Start Marketing for the Holidays?

It may seem like it’s too early to start holiday marketing. Depending on your industry vertical and past practice, maybe it is. But it’s not too early to start (and finish) your planning for holiday marketing campaigns.

Here’s why.

According to a 4Over survey:

  • 27% of consumers plan to start shopping soon – before inflation gets worse
  • 17% will start in October, 31% in November, and 13 % will wait until December

Because of inflation fears, supply chain issues, and how they both affect demand, it makes sense to get out in front of the rush now. Black Friday will be here before you know it.

8 Steps to Creating The Perfect Holiday Marketing Campaign

To successfully use direct mail in your holiday marketing campaign, you must come up with a plan, and then, put it into practice.

Don’t worry about your budget or your USPS deadlines – not right now, anyway. They won’t matter if you don’t get everything else right first.

Follow these steps for building a marketing strategy, and the direct mail tactics that will help create a happy holiday season for you.

Step 1: Define your audience

Maybe your audience is “everyone”. If you’re a retailer, you have options for reaching a lot of people. Otherwise, you’ll want to focus on specific cohorts using a segmentation strategy.

Step 2: Review the previous holiday marketing campaign

Your past holiday marketing campaigns may be useful as benchmarks to measure your upcoming efforts by. Review your creative elements – your messaging, graphics, and copy to make sure it still aligns with your current holiday marketing strategy and branding.

Also vital: looking at the data with results from last year’s marketing campaign(s). Did you meet your goals? Achieve a good ROI? Your data will reveal all, and provide direction for your:

  • Audience strategy with RFM analysis
  • Offers
  • Price points
  • Formats
  • Mailing schedule

Step 3: Set up your goals

What are your goals for your holiday campaigns? To answer, make sure you factor in your budget. Increased postage and materials costs and other inflationary pressures may require budgeting for more resources, narrowing your segmentation, or both.

Also, remember that it costs 5 times as much to acquire a customer than retain one. You may meet your goals better by leveraging your data to reactivate or even upsell or cross-sell the customers you already have.

Step 4: Measure your KPIs

Direct mail response is all about numbers – what you spend versus what you get back in purchases. Estimate your campaign costs as a baseline. Then, you can measure success by cost per piece, response rate, conversion rate, and of course, return on investment (ROI).

To know if and how your campaign is working, you need to attribute where the response came from. Your tracking data must distinguish which one should be credited for the conversion, which means using response codes, QR codes, PURLs, and promotional URLs to credit the right source of each sale.

Step 5: Create a great holiday offer

A formula going back to the 1960s says that 40% of a campaign’s success comes from the offer. Considering the competition for your customers’ attention, you need to make it a great one. Deep discounts are tempting, of course. But in keeping with the season, other ideas include:

  • Friends-and-family
  • Wishlist
  • 12 Days of …
  • Santa/Reindeer Tie-ins
  • Snow Days

The possibilities are endless. But remember to test to be sure.

Step 6: Leverage the marketing channels that matter

Obviously, we’re going to say that direct mail works best to drive customer response and sales. But in combination with the right online channels and right omnichannel strategy, it achieves more. For example, email and direct mail work together to create multiple touchpoints in a drip campaign.

Step 7: Get organized and plan your schedule

Based on past campaigns, be sure to leave plenty of time to put together your campaign – from planning to printing to mailing. Know all of the relevant deadlines, and stick to them. This is especially critical with a Marketing Mail campaign. With more flexible in-home delivery standards, your mail may sit due to high volume of campaigns and packages.

Step 8: Plan to stay connected during and after the holidays

As the holiday season ends, multiple opportunities exist for reaching customers – even recent ones – as well as past ones. Going into the new year, run promotions like these:

  • End-of-Season Special
  • Winter Sale
  • End of Year/Happy New Year
  • Season Closeout/Inventory Reduction Sale

How Direct Mail Marketing Can Help You Reach Your Holiday Marketing Goals

Direct mail makes a difference in holiday marketing campaigns, when delivering the right message at the right time to the right audience. Because it is tangible, mail immediately stands out in the eyes and hands of consumers. It also integrates well with digital channels – everything from email to social to SMS – and drives response, deepens loyalty, and meets KPIs.

Wrapping it up

With this holiday marketing strategy guide, your direct mail can effectively target and engage customers with the right offers – quickly and smartly.

At mailing.com, our data and printing services teams stand ready to work with you on your holiday marketing campaigns.

Drop us a line or call us! We’ll help you put together a complete and cost-effective direct mail campaign to accomplish your goals quickly and mail with confidence for the upcoming holiday season, and beyond.

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