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The 2020 Holiday Season Will be Different — and So Will Your Media Spending

In “normal” years, planning for the holiday shopping season (Halloween, Thanksgiving, and December festivities, dining, and travel) is in full swing.

New Marketing Approaches

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a sense of marketing paralysis among many businesses, as they have been taking a “wait and see” approach due to world health issues, the upcoming election, and the state of the economy. 

However, waiting, cutting back on marketing, or doing what you’ve always done will result in coal in your proverbial stocking in 2020. More than 72 percent of consumers know that this holiday season will be “different” and the sooner you embrace that fact and plan for it, the more effective your marketing will be.

Smart marketers are engaging professional media strategists to help them analyze their prospect base, where they’ll be this holiday season, and how to reach them with the most effective media. Your spending will go much further and you’ll trust that the media you’re buying is right for your audience and where they’ll be looking for gifts, deals, food, and travel options. 

These trends will also have an impact on how consumers celebrate — and where you focus your marketing/media spend.

  • A whopping 66 percent of consumers will be upping their online shopping. 
  • Family gatherings will still occur, but most likely closer to home. Again, people will be looking for catering and shopping options nearby. Food and liquor delivery is on the upswing, with no sign of slowing. 
  • Safety practices and pricing of restaurants, hotels, and other businesses will be critical factors in decision-making as consumers plan their holiday travel. Use targeted local advertising to make them aware of your deals and policies. 

Now is a time to re-evaluate your media spending plan for the fourth quarter. The marketers who will excel this holiday season will:

  1. Have clear insights into the hearts and heads of their ideal shopper/diner/traveler.
  2. Start early in their marketing and offer highly-targeted hyper-local deals — using the right mix of targeted media — to gain a share of mind and wallet. In fact, concerns about stock availability may push shoppers to buy gifts and order food earlier than ever before. Incorporate this thinking and messaging into your media plans. 
  3. Use EVERY dollar of their marketing budget most effectively, trading in “test and measure” or “spray and pray” approaches for analysis-based media decisions that will deliver the best ROI.
  4. NOT cut back on marketing spend. The good news is that even though we may be close to home, media dollars will travel further.
  5. Embrace local and online marketing in ways they may have never considered before.
  6. Engage professionals in their decision-making. The reality is that vendors will sell the media they know. Especially now that your budget needs to stretch further, working with objective and experienced strategists is critical.
  7. Stay positive. All signs point to a different kind of holiday season, but one where gifting, eating, local travel, and at-home gatherings will still occur. 
  8. Think 2021! Now is a great time to get a jump on your media planning for next year and reap the benefits of buying early. 

Savvy holiday marketers will follow these eight tips and continue to watch this space for more news and predictions about spending and media in 2020, 2021, and beyond.

Interested in how to leverage the holiday season to drive exposure and increase sales? Contact us now.