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It’s time to start your holiday media planning

by Amy Boisvert
holiday media planning

Inflation is influencing every part of the retail market, and the holiday shopping season is no different. With tighter budgets and ever-changing expectations, holiday shopping must start earlier this year. This means that holiday media planning needs to start even earlier than that in order to get these early shoppers’ attention. Time to pay attention to these trends and start executing holiday campaigns now!

Holiday shopping has already started

While kids are going back to school, it still feels like summer in much of the country. It definitely feels too early to think about holiday media planning. However, for your customers, it’s never too early to think about gift-giving. This is especially true in today’s environment of tight budgets and high inflation. Consumers are worried about future price increases, so they’re shopping even earlier than usual. As of mid-August, 22% of adults have already gotten started with their holiday shopping.

Major retailers are putting out wares to meet this early demand. Costco and Sam’s Club already have Christmas trees and other décor items in stock. Home Depot had holiday items available on its website in mid-July. Between concerns about inflation and the past year of supply chain issues, customers are thinking about their holiday shopping early. That means that brands need to think about what holiday promotions they want to offer and talk to their marketing teams about holiday campaigns now to attract these shoppers.

Budgets are limited

With inflation concerns, come budget limitations. As prices rise in almost every area, shoppers are working with a tighter budget than usual. Parents are struggling with their children’s back-to-school expenses, with 40% citing these expenses as a major budget concern and 19% reporting that they can’t afford all the supplies they need. Families in this situation are likely to reduce or eliminate their holiday gift budgets. About 38% of US adults plan to spend less on their holiday shopping this season, and 67% have already cut spending on other nonessentials.

To appeal to these customers with tight budgets, smart retailers are promoting their more affordable products. For example, Walmart has added a “toys under $25” category to its annual list of popular toys. Highlighting your lower-priced items like this makes sure you don’t lose business from customers who are planning to purchase holiday gifts but have limited budgets.

Tips for your holiday media planning

Yes, it’s still summer, but if you haven’t started thinking about holiday marketing, you’re already behind. However, you still have time to catch up. Talk to your marketing team about the holiday season now. These three tactics can help you stay focused on the holiday marketing methods that will connect with your customers in challenging economic conditions.

Timely planning

It’s important to have a holiday marketing strategy in place by early fall. There’s still plenty of time to do this, but it’s important to get started. Begin by thinking about how inflation is affecting your customer base and what promotions you’ll offer. There are also multiple holidays and significant dates throughout the season, and you should think about which ones are most relevant to your brand.

  • Small, local businesses will want to do a special promotion for Small Business Saturday.
  • If you’re in e-commerce, Cyber Monday should be a major sales day for you.
  • For wellness products that appeal to people with resolutions, New Year’s Day will be important.

You should also think about which campaigns need to start early and prioritize those. Pay-per-click ads that require A/B testing will need your marketing team’s attention earlier in the season than a “last minute gift ideas” blog post.

Not all customers are treated alike

Many of your customers are probably on a tight budget. At the same time, some people have a more relaxed budget and are excited for a relatively normal holiday season after having to limit their celebrations for the past two years. If your customers fall into both of these camps, it makes sense to segment your holiday campaigns. You’ll want to promote affordable gift options to your budget-conscious customers. Push sales and special promotions, and emphasize the savings and value you’re offering.

For higher-income customers, focus on the benefits of your product and your company’s values. Shoppers with the budget to be picky care about whether you share their values, especially regarding the environment and sustainability. Surveys show that 83% of customers are looking for sustainable products for their holiday purchases, and 42% are willing to consider either paying more for sustainability or opting for a longer shipping timeline. 

This will be a good place to focus on your higher-budget customers, but make sure not to set your price point too high. Only 23% of companies are planning to promote sustainability in their holiday advertising, so this might be a good chance to stand out. If you discuss sustainability during the holiday season, transparency is key. Customers will trust you more if you’re honest, even if your environmental plan isn’t perfect yet.

Compete in non-price areas

Rising costs of labor, gas, and materials might limit how much of a discount you can reasonably offer. One non-financial way to stand out is by optimizing your in-store experience. Customers are renewing their interest in physical stores. Online prices actually declined in July for the first time in more than two years, indicating cooling of demand. Even when customers ultimately order online, they involve a physical store 60% of the time.  This can mean browsing in-store and buying online or ordering online and picking up in-store. If you have both physical and digital storefronts, make sure to take advantage of this in your holiday campaigns and to prepare your stores for in-person shoppers.

However you’ll be doing your holiday media planning, the important thing is to switch out of summer mode, put on your Santa hat, and get started now. Looking for a new marketing tactic to add to your plan? Wrapped vehicles are a great way to get prospective customers’ attention and stand out in a crowded market. Get in touch with Wrapify to discuss how we can help promote your business.

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