Will Your Holiday Marketing Campaign Work This Time? [Mistakes+Tips]

10 min readDec 30, 2020


Holiday Marketing has always been a head-scratcher. And since 2020 has been extraordinarily different, we thought of sharing some ideas with you for a holiday marketing campaign.

Let’s start with a happy fact — sales go up during the holidays. But hey! It’s 2020 and we are fighting an invisible enemy — the Coronavirus. And with all the restrictions, it’s obvious that we can’t expect offline holiday sales to surge.

On the other hand, we can assume that customers would prefer to buy from the comfort and safety of their homes. And according to a prediction made in Feb 2020, online retail sales during the holiday season are expected to increase by 3.4% amounting to $1.042 trillion.

Excited? We bet! However, before you dive into setting up a full-pronged marketing campaign, let’s survey your readiness.

So, how did you fair? Is your business reaping the full benefits of this time of the year? You think not?
What’s it that you’re doing wrong? Let’s understand.

Mistakes Marketers Make During the Holiday Marketing Season

Loads of Offers but No Value Addition

People are merry during this time of the year. They won’t mind spending a few (or maybe more) extra bucks. However, they are not blind. They still want value.

How about sending a “Here’s how much you’ll spend on holiday gifting this year” calculator or say a quiz titled “Which (x product type) will suit your girlfriend’s personality?” These experiences add value. They provide people with answers to some of their pressing questions and thus provide instant gratification. What’s more — they are fun! Don’t you think this will engage your prospects more than an average holiday greeting or discount? Nearly half (46%) of fellow marketers think so!

Acting Late

Holidays don’t begin with the first day off at work. They start a little earlier, especially for your prospects, thanks to the excitement and cheer they bring along. So, your marketing campaign should start even before that.

Kenshoo conducted a survey, wherein they polled hundreds of e-retailers and asked them when the holiday season began. Almost half of them viewed the start of the holiday season as of October 1st and over half the companies start their holiday planning by the end of August.

So, start early. This not only gives you the forerunner advantage but also gives you ample time to prepare for the holiday rush.

Neglecting Competitors

Yes, you need to focus on your game and come up with awesome marketing strategies. However, you also need to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. They are the ones who share the niche space as well as the target audience with you. It’s always beneficial to spend some time analyzing the kind of strategy they’re applying to their paid ads, the kind of posts they’re sending out on social media, their pricing, their offers, etc.

In fact, there are a few tools that you can use to see what your competitors are up to. On websites like SEMRush, Similarweb, Ahrefs, Rankwatch, Spyfu you can check your competitors’ target keywords, the campaigns they have been running, the geographies they’ve been targeting, and more.
It’s always beneficial to do a little homework.

No Uniqueness

Every marketer tries to woo his customers during this time. If you don’t do something unique, you will be lost in the crowd and then none of the above would matter.

Take HotelTonight’s ‘Visit, Don’t Stay’ campaign for instance. They tried to solve a problem for people who want to visit their families during the holidays but don’t want to stay with them. So, they offered to book a hotel room with them online. They ran a social media campaign wherein people had to comment with their best (or worst) family holiday story, the prize being a $500 coupon to their hotel. Now that’s called being unique!

Are you guilty of committing any of these mistakes? There’s a fair chance you have been getting average results for your holiday campaigns. Worry not. To simplify things this time around, we’ve listed down a set of strategies that can facelift your holiday marketing campaign this year. Let’s review them together.

How to Fix These Mistakes — Go Interactive

A site decorated with graphics, gifs, offers, interesting blog links, and holiday-themed content is wonderful — and BORING! Prospects see that everywhere. Why would they choose to do business with you?

Remember, the idea is to stand out from the crowd. Let’s see how you can do this using interactive marketing. And since e-commerce websites have it relatively easy during the holidays, let’s consider the example of a bank’s website.

Example 1: Bank A’s website has the following elements during this time of the year — deals on its cards, the special interest rate on home loans, a collaborative offer with an e-commerce website, a promotional (mostly emotional) video, and other regular CTAs.

Example 2 (winner): And then there’s Bank B. Its website not only includes regular CTAs, deals, videos, but also a quiz titled “Which credit card is best suited to your needs?” This quiz leads prospects to a page that helps them get a special holiday deal on the credit card they just got in the quiz result. Result? More engagement and increased time on site.

What’s more? Since prospects have taken the quiz, the bank knows they’re interested in purchasing a credit card. Isn’t this a better way to qualify leads? Sure, better than boring shoutout tactics.

That’s the power of interactive content. It acts as a differentiator for your marketing campaigns. It involves a two-way conversation with your prospects, which any day trumps sales banter. With interactive marketing, you involve your prospects in your campaigns.

Interactive Content Case Study for Holiday Marketing

Interactive content forms such as quizzes, calculators, polls, assessments, and recommendations are quite effective when it comes to clocking huge conversion rates.

Macroscape (a marketing consultancy) built a quiz for its client (a bicycle selling company). The quiz asked visitors three simple questions about their requirements and recommended the company’s bicycles as respective outcomes of the quiz. Result? They clocked a conversion rate of 36%!

How to Use Interactive Content to Pull off Successful Holiday Marketing Campaigns

You can build a quiz that is personalized for your prospects’ needs and promotes your brand at the same time. And you can make it more interesting during holiday time. Here’s an example of a quiz we created for St. Patrick’s Day.

You can do this for any business.

A fitness center could use a quiz titled — “Which type of Yoga is best for you?” But during the holidays, it could use a quiz titled “What can you do to stay in shape this holiday season, according to your lifestyle?”

A car dealer could use — “Should I buy or rent a car?” However, during this time of the year, he could use a quiz titled “Which car brand will give you the best deal this holiday season?”

An e-commerce website could use — “Which is the best sports watch for you?” And during the holidays, it could create a quiz titled “What is the best gift hamper for your sister?”

When your prospects take such quizzes, they interact with your website, go through a process of believing that they need your product, give their lead info, and land onto a page that actually offers them that product!

Bonus: Holiday Marketing Strategies for 2020

You thought that’s all?

While we solemnly believe in the power of interactive content (part of our oath as interactive marketers), it’s always good to have a healthy mix of strategies in your marketing arsenal. Here are some other tips to help you safely navigate through the holiday marketing mayhem!

Must Read: 37 Must-Know Marketing Trends & Statistics Post COVID

1. Go Special, Go Crazy

We’re not talking about giveaways, offers or coupons, or something that you run throughout the holiday season. We are referring to something that is an attention grabber, something that gets you in talks, like a positive publicity stunt.

Take Coca-Cola’s Sharing Can Initiative for instance. A few years ago, they installed a vending machine that enabled people in India and Pakistan to communicate!

In Europe, they have offered people a chance to personalize their Coke bottles. Such marketing campaigns get you in the limelight immediately and help attract more customers.

Pro Tip: Need more inspiration? Find some more cases here.

2. Make Your Kings (and Queens) Happy

We’re talking about your customers. Do extensive research on your target audience and analyze it. You’ll DEFINITELY find at least one pain point that they have. And what can be a better holiday gift than providing a solution or two to someone’s problems?

How do you do that? Ask them! Create an assessment or a simple survey. Make it fun and make them believe that you care and are willing to put in extra effort for them.

So say, you are a perfume brand. You could have a survey titled — “Which fragrances would you like (your brand’s name) to make?” You know the rest!

3. Cash Those Keywords

A lot of marketers forget to cover this aspect. It’s important to start ranking for the holiday keywords. People search a lot during the holidays — gift ideas, clothes, smartphones, and what not! So, it’s best to target relevant holiday keywords and step up your SEO game.

You can go broad with your keyword targeting. Try various versions of the same keywords, think of what your target audience would search for.

Here’s a list of 103 keywords that can be useful.

4. Customize Your Website for Holidays

Tapping into the festive mood is quintessential for a successful holiday marketing strategy. Your audience will stay longer on your website if they get the look and feel of festivity on each and every page of your site.

All your website elements like header, footer, CTA, pop-ups, etc. should reflect the emotions revolving around the festive season.

Get your site the right holiday vibes to strengthen the connection between your brand and your users.

5. Customize Your Logo

Add some holiday-themed elements to your logo. Keep the festive spirit alive. Big brands have been doing it and you should, too. It gives a nice, warm feeling and doesn’t take too much effort. So, don’t leave any stone unturned.

6. Holiday Social Media Marketing

People love browsing through social media and they would do it the most when they have a lot of time in hand i.e. during the holidays! So, if you post 2 times a day, make it 4. If your stories talk about blogs, include holiday-themed blogs as well.

Here’s what Shein posted on its Facebook page. Being an online fashion brand, they didn’t refrain from including purely holiday-curated content in their holiday social media marketing strategy.

Also if you can mix media with marketing, there’s nothing like it. Study shows that 80% of marketers use visual content in their social media marketing. And, there’re stats to support that too!

a) Time spent on mobile engaging with digital media has reached 3.3 hours a day.

b) People view more than 1 billion hours of video every day on YouTube.

c) Visuals like infographics increase learning and retention by 78%.

d) By 2022, online videos will be 15 times as big as it was in 2017, making up to 82% of all consumer internet traffic.

e) According to Google, 6 out of 10 people would watch online videos rather than television shows.

7. Gift Wrap Your Way to Sales

If you are an e-commerce website, you can send your packages gift-wrapped, for that extra holiday touch!

Normally, people don’t like to wrap their own gifts because they don’t have the patience and time for it. But, they do prefer receiving and giving gifts that come wrapped in a nice paper.

In fact, this is why e-commerce retailers started offering gift-wrapping services in the first place. Remember, solving a pain point of your customers is one of our strategies to consider? Well, this could be it.

And you could come up with quirky and eye-catching (maybe customized, if your budget allows) gift wrapping material that also advertises your brand in some way, It could be a win-win.

8. Holiday Email Marketing

Instead of just sending holiday email greetings, send special holiday discounts as gifts along. Your customers will be more than happy to receive special email offers and save money.

Use colorful pictures, designs, and layouts that prominently display your discounts and offers.

9. Holiday Marketing Slogans

Use catchy holiday marketing slogans to stand out.

Try to create holiday marketing slogans that are short, simple, and easy to understand and remember. Your slogans should portray the level of commitment you have towards your customers. And of course, your slogans should have the essence of holidays.

Wrap up

It’s never a bad idea to test out new strategies when it comes to marketing. And as marketers, experiments should top our list of to-dos. So, go ahead and experiment with our holiday marketing tips for 2020. Do let us know if you decide to include some of our holiday marketing tips into your holiday marketing strategy for 2020.

Happy Holidays!




#1 B2B Tech Company in New York. Outgrow old marketing. Engage your customers with interactive calculators, quizzes and recommendations: http://bit.ly/2x1JCGC