Planning For The C Word

Christmas in 2020 is set to be very unique. With the looming threat of further lockdowns and the change in culture brought about by safety concerns, all businesses need to spend a little time planning the next few months and marketing for Christmas.

Traditionally, for many sectors, the final quarter of the year is often one of the most profitably. Only with proactive marketing will you have a chance to realise these profits and more importantly stay ahead of your competitors.

Don’t forget, the challenges you face are the same as your competitors. You need to find solutions before your competitors to win a competitive edge.

25th December 2020 - Countdown

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Merry Christmas 2020! (If you wish to see a countdown for this Christmas let us know)

Predictions for Christmas 2020 – What Do We Know?

·        27% of UK consumers are planning to start Christmas shopping and preparations earlier than usual.

·        44% more people searched ‘Christmas’ or ‘Xmas’ on eBay between April and May this year than during the same period last year.

·        34% of UK shoppers claim to have already bought Christmas related items this year.

There are already signs of what we can expect in November and December 2020. Using these insights allows us to predict how this festive season may develop and as a result inform your marketing strategy.

Christmas trending on social media in July 2020!

Towards the end of lockdown ‘Christmas’ was trending across social media. Some reports state the festive holiday was mentioned 525,000 times! This is a clear sign that anticipation is building. Many people are planning to make this year’s Christmas extra special.

Expect the following:

·        Longer holidays

·        Additional planning

·        Stay-at-home activities

·        Less international travel

·        Christmas this year will be more important (extra special)

·        Longer-term spending. Buying much earlier for the holiday.

Uncertainty drives changing motivations and habits

There is no escaping the desperate truth regarding the economic outcome of this year’s lockdown. A much higher than normal percentage of society are going to lose their jobs this year. This has a double negative effect. Some people lose their income while others fear the loss of income. Both of these have the same outcome. Resistance to spending money.

A study in the USA found that 50% of participants are concerned about losing their jobs while over a third had already experienced a loss of income.

How are you planning to overcome this resistance to spending when you market your product or service over the coming months?

Anticipation Vs Uncertainty

This year will see the clash of two key emotions. Following the lockdown and possible future lockdown events, people will be keen to treat themselves. This may include buying special presents or products, taking more time off work and buying more of something than usual.

At the same time, people will be feeling keen uncertainty regarding the future. This will motivate them to hold back on more expensive purchases, save money they would otherwise spend, shop around more and conduct additional research.

Knowing the points above, you need to devise a marketing for Christmas strategy to place your product or service between these two conflicting emotions. 

Your Q4 2020 Plan - Marketing for Christmas

1. Understand the changes

You must understand the changes that have occurred in your market during 2020. Everyone’s life has changed over the past six months. This is not a good or bad thing, it is just the situation we now find ourselves in.

If you can understand these changes with an unbiased and accurate reflection you will be able to make logical decisions as to the direction of future services and products.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What struggles are my customers currently undergoing?
  • What are their motivations as November and December approach?
  • Have my customers’ budgets changed and if so how will it affect what we sell?
  • How can we encourage existing and new customers to buy from us in the current economic climate?

2. Plan your service & products

The world has changed and as a result, you now need to change your marketing and sales. Sorry, you probably didn’t want to hear that. It is more work and additional tasks but it will be well worth it.

Whatever snazzy marketing term you want to use (pivot is everyone’s favourite right now) the reality is your product or service positioning needs to change.

Your customers now find themselves in a different situation with new challenges, worries, motivations and needs. Your products and services need to contribute to solutions to their problems. Your products and services need to hold value with your customers.

Go back to basics and use the four Ps to plan your service and products.

Product – look at how your product (or service) sits within the market. What unique benefits to your customers does it hold? What do customers buy from you? How do the products you sell need to change for new demands or needs from customers?

Price – make time for a spreadsheet exercise to determine the exact costs of selling your products. What is the profit margin? What savings can you make to sell cheaper? Can you afford to offer discounts to motivate new purchases? Is there a way you can package multiple products together to increase demand and profitability? Don’t forget to look at competitive products to determine where you sit in the market.

Promotion – this is all your usual marketing activities. Social media, PR, print, press, email newsletters and signage. To push additional sales in the final quarter of 2020 what needs changing, updating or creating within these marketing activities?

Place – traditionally this often thought as location. This may still be true, where are you to sell your products? More commonly we think of this a market segment. Which market segment are you going to choose to sell to? Maybe there will be many? If so, each will need its own strategy and messaging.

3. Create your messaging

Your objective is to motivate people to buy from you. Your core marketing messages have to be clear, concise and compelling.

Look at your features and benefits. What does your service or products do? These are the features. What problems do they solve for your customers? These are the benefits. Mixing both features and benefits into a strong core marketing message makes for compelling messaging.

You may choose to lead with one main message or many. Either way, it all needs to be consistent overall marketing channels.

4. Define your marketing for Christmas plan

Set yourself deadlines and goals. What do you want to achieve and by when? How are you going to gauge success? Will the number of sales, email signups, vouchers sales or interaction online determine success?

Set these parameters as soon as you can (maybe event today or tomorrow). Review them every week or fortnight to maintain motivation.

5. Deploy a new strategy

It sounds basic but you need to make sure you carry out your plan. It can be too easy to lose momentum or get side-tracked in the current lockdown culture. Schedule time for this new marketing push or hire someone to carry out the work for you.

There are plenty of options available. Make sure the theoretical plan, outlined above, is turned into practical action. This is the only way progress will be made.

6. Review, innovate and go back to stage 3

It is important to be prepared to develop your marketing for Christmas plan. As you put it into action you will gather additional data and begin to see how well the marketing campaign is going.

Set regular points at which you will review and innovate. Scheduled points are important because you need to allow enough time to ensure the strategy has had space to be effective. With real-world feedback and data, you can now innovate and develop the strategy.  

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”