Advertising and Marketing Tips for the 2020 Holiday Season

Advertising and Marketing Tips for the 2020 Holiday Season

Written by: Stephanie Bariatti, SMB Media Marketing Consultant 


            This year’s holiday shopping season will be like no other.  Although many consumers still plan on spending, habits and perspectives have undoubtedly changed over the course of the year.  If brands want to stay afloat, they need to figure out how to navigate a little differently through this crucial time of year.     


            Yet, any good marketing campaign should still focus on the tried and true strategies of recent years.  Don’t neglect digital efforts in any way because this is where all the action is this holiday season.  E-commerce was sharply increasing pre-pandemic, but this year it is due to grow by an astounding 35.8%.


            With that being said, success has been proven time and time again by methods like:

·     Optimizing your website for smartphone users

·     Making your URL search-friendly

·     Using email marketing

·     Offer free shipping

·     Targeting and retargeting

·     Offering rewards programs or partnering with money-saving apps

·     Engaging with customers on social media

·     Emphasizing BOPIS and curbside pickup operations


            Any good marketing team is already very familiar with these tactics and by all means, they should be used.  However, this year it may be prudent to be flexible and think outside the box.     


            Here are four pandemic-specific ideas to keep in mind when strategizing for the 2020 holiday season.


·     Get to know how your customers’ priorities have changed.  Even if you believe you know your target demographic well, it is well-worth re-evaluating how the events of the year have changed them.  Since consumers’ daily lives have changed so much, what was important to them in 2019 may not be important to them now.  For one thing, people seem to be paying more attention to companies’ values.  71% of consumers said they pay closer attention to companies’ ethics than they did a year ago and 61% said they stopped buying from a company because its values did not align with theirs.  So you really want to get into your customer’s headspace.  By looking at things through a different lens, perhaps you will even win over new customers who are looking to try new brands.


·     Run local campaigns.  The effects of COVID are very different in various parts of the US and the world.  Some areas are in lockdown or semi-lockdown and situations change daily.  Therefore, a sweeping, one-size-fits-all ad campaign might not be the best thing to sink resources into.  It might be better to tailor your campaign to different locales.  What works in New York might not work in Florida.  Your whole message and tone might need to be different, or the tweak might be as simple as using a regional accent or language.  It’s important to accurately engage and resonate with the audience you are trying to reach.  


·     Try not to focus too much on the pandemic. This one can be a little tricky because how can we not focus on the pandemic?  As we mentioned earlier, this season will be like no other – and that’s on both public and personal levels.  As a result, almost 40 percent of consumers are looking for messages that take them away from the ongoing issues this holiday season, according to a study by Adobe.  This “distraction advertising,” has been shown to appeal to many people, especially Gen Z and Millennial audiences.  But, you can't totally ignore the state of affairs either because on a whole, Americans are more likely to buy from companies whose ads explain how they’re keeping shoppers safe, or those with realistic or optimistic ads.  Try to keep it upbeat though, because depressing or somber ads are more likely to deter people.  


·     Offer the best customer service.  This year has been hard on everyone and we’re all looking for a little kindness and authenticity.  The more you go above and beyond, the more your customers will come back to you and the more your reputation will grow.  In addition, be sure to show humility and gratitude to your customers.  In this economic downturn, many consumers are making a conscious choice about whom they give business to and it’s important to show appreciation for loyalty.  


            This is sure to be a holiday to remember.  No one really knows how it will all play out.  But remember to be flexible.  The beauty of digital advertising is that it can be flexible – changes can be made with one click.  And don’t forget personalization.  Consumers want to feel like their voices have been heard through all the noise in these crazy days.  


Stephanie Bariatti works as a Consultant and Project Manager for SMB Media Consulting.  She has had extensive experience with many facets of advertising and media, having worked for and with creative agencies, production companies and research departments.  She lives in New York with her wonderful husband, three lovable little boys and a snuggly Golden Retriever.