We have to admit, we’re massive fans of Christmas at Fabric. We’re the people who hang decorations and open the Quality Street promptly on November 1st. Whilst we get why this level of excitement causes some to roll their eyes, there’s just something about the season we can’t resist.

As marketers, our fanfare goes a little further than most. We love to keep an eye out for Christmas campaigns from our favourite brands, and we definitely have strong opinions about which supermarket pulls it out the bag with its seasonal TV advert. Yes it’s annoying, but it’s who we are.

As we’ve seen from years of increasingly elaborate Christmas campaigning, there is definitely a magic formula to creating a campaign that resonates with people’s Christmas spirit. Coca-Cola gets it, as do the team over at John Lewis.

While we can’t promise your campaign will reach the same heights as these Christmas marketing icons, we can give you some advice on creating a campaign that is relevant and profitable for your organisation. So without further ado, here’s five steps to sleighing your Christmas campaign (sorry, we couldn’t resist).

1. Set your goals and think about your audience

The very first thing you need to do is set goals for your campaign. Figure out what you need to achieve in the festive season, and write these down as objectives. Remember your objectives should be SMART; specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Then, for each objective, assign a KPI so you have a specific target to measure against.

Once you’ve figured out your goals, you need to think about your audience. Christmas is a particularly difficult time to compete for consumers’ attention, so it’s vital to hone in on what will resonate with them. Remember what you have learned about them, keep your persona documents close to hand and use the data you have around their behaviour. Every bit of insight you have will be essential to making your campaign targeted and relevant. If you have data on audience behaviour from last Christmas, this is especially important to reference – although they might have different aims and priorities around this time.

2. Decide on your messaging and offer

It’s likely you’ll have a special offer in mind that you want to share with your audience. Christmas is a time where sales are everywhere, and people are looking to get the best value for their money. This could be a discount, free delivery, rewards or seasonal services like festive packaging on your products. It’s essential to figure out how your organisation can offer better value during the festive period. This offer will be the main conversion goal for your campaign and should link closely to your KPI’s.

With your offer at the centre, consider the wider messaging for the campaign. This is the tangible theme for the campaign that reflects your unique brand identity and values. It will be communicated in any copy or visual assets you produce to promote the campaign. Be careful of avoiding the obvious idea that first comes to mind, what you don’t want is to end up with a cliche campaign that doesn’t stand out from what other brands are doing.

3. Make a tactical plan

Now that you’ve laid the foundation of your campaign with objectives, target audiences and your value offering, it’s time to make a plan of action. Consider what marketing activity you will use during the campaign and where it will appear. Here’s some tactics you might decide to use:

  • Organic socials
  • Paid socials
  • PPC
  • E-newsletters
  • TV and radio adverts
  • PR
  • Blog content

Remember that the Christmas marketplace is massively oversaturated within every industry. Be sure to take every opportunity to connect with your audience and only invest in the tactics and channels that you know will effectively reach them.

As always, it’s essential to write your plan down, share it with everyone who is involved and update it on an ongoing basis to track when activities launch. There are many dates in the Christmas period to consider as landmarks within your campaign, such a Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year’s. You could alter your offering around these dates to encourage return customers and ensure that there is something for every part of your audience.

4. Monitor everything and be responsive

Once your activities are up and running, don’t just leave them to run their course. Keep a close eye on their progress and if you see certain activities are more successful, you may be able to divert resources to maximise on these opportunities.

Christmas is an emotional time of year - nostalgia and community spirit have a huge part to play in the festivities. You should be taking every opportunity to connect with your audiences all year round, but during the Christmas season you may want to dedicate extra resources to being responsive with your audience. Make sure to reply to their comments and messages on social media, and be personal in your communications. It can be the difference between making a conversion and losing the customer.

5. Measure and report

Once January rolls around, it’s time to start thinking about the next Christmas campaign. Just kidding - you will however need to look at the results and write up a report. This will be indispensable for next year's Christmas efforts, so include as much detail as you can.

You’ll want to measure the campaigns success against the KPIs you set at the start. Hopefully, your campaign will have drawn in lots of customers and successfully got them to spend their money with you. If not, the reporting stage is still equally important in figuring out where things went wrong, so you can learn from your mistakes.

From a marketing perspective, the Christmas period is definitely a stressful one, but it’s a lot of fun too. Enjoy being creative with your campaign ideas and keep a close eye on your execution and we’re sure you’ll find a winning strategy. If you’re looking for wider insights into marketing strategies all year round, then our Insights Hub is packed with content that will help.

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