When it comes to the holidays, there are a lot of things to think about, especially when you’re responsible for marketing a business. (And, especially when you take into account the wild year we’ve all experienced.)

For your holiday marketing, you have to develop a strategy, consider all the different factors that could make or break your holiday success, and then actually implement your strategy. But, when, exactly, should you get started with your holiday marketing?

Based on the data, you should start your holiday marketing strategy for 2020 in early October at the latest.

It’s a question many business owners and marketers have, so we’ve suggested a few times (and ways!) to get started. Think of it as our gift to you.

When to Start Your Holiday Marketing Planning

It feels like consumers start their holiday shopping, or at least their planning for the holidays, earlier and earlier every year. And the same should be said for your holiday marketing planning. You may not have all the details ironed out when it comes to what’s happening with your business in November and December, but by thinking about your holiday marketing all the way in July or August, it can help inform what you’ll be focusing on in a few months.

It may seem early, but you can start your holiday marketing planning as early as June or July.

If you haven’t started your planning yet — not to worry. You can still come up with a great strategy to reach shoppers this season.

Here are some ideas for getting started with your holiday marketing plan:

  • Start identifying any holiday offers or specials you’re going to run.
  • Outline who you want to target and when.
  • Identify some key messages you want to convey.
  • Think about the different marketing tactics you want to run to achieve your marketing goals.
  • Talk to your marketing partner about your plan to see how they can help you execute.

It may seem like a daunting task to start your planning this early, but your future self will be thanking you when the holidays come fast and furious just a few short months later.

When to Warm Up Your Holiday Messages

My local Target started putting out Halloween decorations over Labor Day. I was trying to purchase items for a (socially-distanced) cookout by the pool surrounded by pumpkins and ghoulish decorations — it was a little unsettling. But, once I saw the Halloween decorations, I started thinking ahead to Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. What will I cook? What’s on my Christmas wish list? How much money should I set aside for gifts? And, now that October has seemed to sneak up on all of us, it makes sense that they would start preparing so soon.

The holidays seem to come earlier and earlier every year, which means your holiday marketing should start earlier too.

What every big box store starts to look like in September.

In a recent study we conducted, we found that 56% of people plan to complete their holiday shopping before December. So, it’s safe to say that you could have started warming up your holiday messaging in September — or at least the beginning of October (AKA — now).

And you don’t have to go all out with the holiday cheer this early; you can focus on some of the other seasonal holidays, like Halloween, as you lead into the busy shopping season. This is also a great way to get in early with holiday shoppers — start running a few specials, introduce a customer loyalty program, or educate them on what you have to offer during the holidays.

When to Go All-in on Your Holiday Marketing

No matter what industry you’re in, once November hits, your holiday marketing strategy should be in full swing. The haunted houses are cleared, the Halloween candy is deeply discounted, and grocery stores are filled with cans of pumpkin and frozen turkeys. The holidays are pretty much here, so give it all you got to capture those spenders.

And, remember, if you’re not a retailer, you don’t have to sit it out during the holidays. Unless you’re a seasonal business (and your busy seasons aren’t winter), consumers will still need your services, so think of ways you can keep your business top of mind throughout the holiday season.

Quick Holiday Marketing Tips

When should you start your holiday marketing? We outline the data you need to know.

An integrated marketing approach is your best bet to reach buyers no matter where they’re spending time this season — 70% of shoppers report planning to research their holiday purchases online this year — compared to 60% last year.  Make sure you’re there for them by investing in PPC ads, ensuring your SEO is up to snuff, and running display ads to follow them throughout their online search.

This may come as a surprise, but in-store shopping isn’t canceled this season. Fifty-five percent of customers say they’ll research online but purchase in stores, according to our research. So, make it easy for them to get to your location with accurate local listings.

Lastly, think of some different (read: out-of-the-box) ways to reach your local customers this season. Holiday spenders are always looking for ideas and conducting research online around the holidays (remember, 70% will be doing so this year), so think of a way you could parlay that into a branded content series — this positions you as a thought leader and builds trust with your audience. Plus, it can help you stand out from the other businesses vying for holiday dollars this season. You can also run a holiday email marketing campaign to send your holiday promotions directly to your customers. (Check out these holiday email subject line ideas if you need some help!)

Holiday marketing can be a gift when you plan for it, have the right strategy, and partner with the right marketing experts to make it a success. We’re here for you no matter what season —  so give us a call today to learn more.

Download our holiday marketing guide for exclusive data, tips, and strategies to make your holiday marketing a success in 2020.