< Back to all blog posts

Advising clients on holiday strategies

Author: Laura Ruark
October 14, 2020

As if 2020 hasn’t hit marketers and PR professionals with enough challenges, we’re now faced with an uncertain holiday season.

In past years, strategies for both marketing and PR professionals were similar with regards to timing — we always focused on getting ahead of the curve but not too soon, with most initiatives beginning in late October or early November. 

The largest big-box retailers, like Target, also had similar blueprints they followed for holiday campaigns.

However, this year we have to look at our strategies and recommendations through a new lens.

Amazon Prime Day, held this week, kicked off the holiday shopping season much earlier with their competitive deals. Additionally, retailers like Best Buy and Walmart have announced plans to begin their holiday sales in October as well.

So, what’s the best strategy?

I’m a big fan of working with clients to plan ahead and be prepared to get in front of the news cycle. In this case, this means gearing up for the holiday by October if you have clients who would like to be part of holiday-focused stories.

But what does that mean for November and December?

The media landscape will continue to focus on the holiday shopping season in the months of November and December. There will always be folks who put off shopping in the mall until Christmas Eve; we’re just likely to see a more prolonged holiday shopping season without as much of a jump in sales on Black Friday as we have in the past.

Perhaps this year, given the move to more online shopping due to COVID-19, we’ll see an uptick on Cyber Monday specifically.

With that being said, here are a few tips to consider when planning holiday initiatives:

  • Anticipate spending patterns and insert your client where appropriate — leverage the news of the day
  • Think about what your unique angle is — it’s a crowded conversation
  • Tie in data — third-party or internal data is always good to reference to bolster your pitches