Your Digital Retail Holiday Marketing Strategy: The Pre-Holiday Checklist
Temps are still solidly in the hundreds here in Austin, but summer’s coming to an end, and it’s time to prepare your brand for the holidays. In today’s blog, we’ve covered your pre-holiday health checklist for the fast-approaching holiday rush. Remember that most of the action items listed out below will require collaboration across teams, and any time you’re dependent on other teams, things slow down, so start conversations now to stay ahead of the game.
Setting the Stage
Before we even get into projects, it’s important to level-set expectations for this year’s Q4. For the 3rd year in a row, we’re facing “unprecedented” times that will undoubtedly affect holiday sales, velocity, and consumer behavior. As inflation and consumer costs continue to rise, most forecasts are calling for very soft, if any, growth in year-over-year sales for the rest of 2022. This decline in expected growth should definitely be factored into all holiday planning moving forward as it bucks the trend from at least the last decade.
Another thing to consider in your planning is the change we’ve seen as the entire period has been stretched out, with less emphasis on the “tentpole” dates like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. No doubt those will still be critical days, but we expect a lot of those sales to be pulled forward again as retailers extend promotions and consumers buy earlier, knowing the strongest discounts aren’t reserved just for those days. Plus, this helps both retailers and consumers when it comes to managing inventory and delivery delays.
Laying the collaborative foundation for Holiday Success
Projects to collab with IT/DEV/Analytics
Update any 1st Party Audiences. Refresh holiday shopper lists from last Q4 or other tentpoles.
Set up any campaigns specifically designed for new customer acquisition.
Advanced idea: Identify holiday-only shoppers with lower LifeTime Value and set differentiated goals/targets.
Clean up conversion tracking before things take off.
Identify and fix any Tracking bugs.
Make sure you have enhanced conversions set up for Google Ads and CAPI for Facebook.
Advanced idea: Set up any holiday-specific micro conversions like signing up for wish lists or gift guides.
Check dashboards and reporting.
Ensure you have automated reporting set up that delivers real-time KPI insights to help pivot your campaigns as needed.
Double-check existing dashboards for accuracy and QA against any YoY or other critical views.
Plan out any holiday-specific tests with your BI or analytics teams.
What tests can you run in the early stages of the holidays to help inform Cyber 5?
What insights you can test now to plan for ‘23 and beyond?
Do you need a separate budget for these tests, and what justification do you need to make now to secure funding?
Projects to collab with Merchandising/Promo/Creative
Make any needed changes to account/campaign structure to support expected top holiday products (More to come in the next part of this series on changing bidding tactics to own the space for this)
Research top moving products from last year to prioritize.
Understand Merchandising’s Top ‘22 SKU and Category Priorities.
Align the promotion calendar and timing as much as possible is possible at this point in the year.
Understand what backup options might be needed and any audibles on promotions that are being held in reserve if needed, and plan accordingly.
Audit and update ad creative.
Get in front of the creative team to plan any new versions or refreshes needed.
Prioritize campaigns and formats that will get the most reach and be seen by the most potential customers.
Develop the calendar now for what will be needed and when to fully support the team’s goals.
Whether or not you are on a small or large team, it is always in your brand’s best interest to ensure there is understanding and consistency across departments. Not only will it make your life easier as a digital marketer during the holiday rush, but your campaign results will thank you. Put in the work now and reap the benefits later.
Are you interested in how you can partner with us on your digital marketing performance endeavors? We’re ready to chat.
Brad is a Senior Director of Strategy at Adlucent. He is a strategic, data-driven, solutions-focused marketing leader with 10+ years of experience in omni-channel digital marketing and customer acquisition. He has a passion for turning insights into actionable strategies that improve real world outcomes for advertisers and customers. He believes that success comes from finding and striking the sweet spot where customer's needs intersect with a brand's value and goals.
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