5 Myths of Christmas Marketing

And the one thing you need to be doing in the run up to Christmas!

I’ve seen quite a lot of advice on marketing tactics to take advantage of Christmas peak spending, especially from larger service providers and agencies. Their generic one-size-fits-all advice includes things like:

You should send a Black Friday email

Your marketing should feature Christmas designs

Your website should have a gift finder

You should send a gift list email

You should email or post on Christmas Day

But I don’t necessarily agree with it all, one size Christmas marketing doesn’t fit all types or sizes of business. What if your business doesn’t have a suitable Christmas product or service offering? Should you just slap a bauble or snowflake on your marketing to make it feel a bit more Christmassy? Should you send a black Friday email because everyone else is doing it?

Stay tuned while I bust these Christmas marketing myths and tell you the one thing you should be doing as part of your Christmas marketing campaign this year. 

The key to Christmas marketing planning

The key to planning your Christmas marketing campaigns – including anything from a Tweet to blog post to an email or a Google ad campaign is to get clear on your objectives. What do you hope to achieve from your marketing activities this Christmas?

Before you start sending emails willy nilly, just because it’s Christmas and Black Friday is coming, followed by Cyber Monday, take a pause and think about your strategic business objectives for December.

Do you need to clear down you product stocks to make room for a new product range in 2016?

Do you need a big cash injection into your business before the end of the year to meet your sales or turnover targets? (or personal income targets!)

Do you need to grow your contact database of prospective clients ready for a new product or service launch in the new year?

Do you know that your products and services don’t make suitable gifts, you typically see a downturn in sales over the Christmas period and what you need to focus on is being front of mind to make sure your customers come back to you next year.

Bearing in mind your business objectives, let's see if this advice is a truth or a myth for your business this Christmas!

Myth 1: You should send a Black Friday email


You do not need to send a Black Friday or Cyber Monday email or drastically reduce your prices just because everyone else is.

Think strategically, can you afford to reduce your prices and take a hit on our margin at the peak of Christmas shopping season?

Are your products high ticket items in consumer demand with high prices that can be reduced and still make you a profit? Popular Black Friday items purchased last year were TVs and other electrical goods. So if your business is selling natural handmade toiletries a Black Friday sale may not be appropriate. Plus if all the major retailers are slashing their prices – how can you compete?

Another reason to consider not sending a Black Friday email is that if your customers are receiving email after email promoting one day offers and are bombarded on social media with the same – do you want to add to the noise and confusion?

How many black Friday emails do you open? I open precisely none, but then again I am not looking for reduced price TVs or electronic equipment, I have no desire to stand in long queues, or sit in an online queue to merely access a website to browse – which is happened with some retailers last year as the web servers couldn’t handle the demand of web traffic to the website. 

Let’s take a quick look at why Black Friday is such a popular shopping day – it’s the day after Thanksgiving in America, and most offices and business close and give their staff a day off. So what better time to start your Christmas shopping? In the UK we don’t have the same traditions but seemed to have picked up on the excuse for promotional sales. It is however 4 weeks until Christmas – so with only 4 weeks to go even the most unorganised person will be thinking about the need to start shopping (even if they don’t actually do it until Christmas Eve)

So if a sale promotion suits your objectives and meets your customers’ Christmas shopping desires then by all means send a Black Friday email. Alternatively get creative and stand out from the crowd with your USP instead of a mad discount.


Myth 2: Your marketing should feature Christmas designs

All your marketing should be Christmas themed – really? I don’t know about you but sometimes I get a little overwhelmed with Christmassyness so if you sell something that isn’t a Christmas product (mince pies, decorations) or a suitable Christmas gift, think twice about plonking a smiling Santa picture on your email or social media post if there is no connection to Christmas. I know you are going to tell me that the soft drink giant Coca Cola have Santa on their delivery truck and that some people even rely on that advert to indicate the start on the holiday season. Well, when your business is as big as Coke you can put whatever you like on your truck!

Don’t forget that not all of your customers will necessarily celebrate Christmas, I am not making a political or religious statements, I am not talking about offending anyone, I am simply saying that a Christmas promotion to people who do not celebrate Christmas will not generate any sales and that if you do have segmented or targeted marketing or CRM in place, now is an opportunity to use it if you have this type of knowledge in your customer database.


Myth 3 & 4: Your website should have a gift finder and you should send a gift list email



Gift suggestions – do we really need to see “ideal as a gift for mum/auntie/grandma/sister” on every product that is remotely acceptable as a gift for a female? Can your customers deduce for themselves that their girlfriend might like that perfume as a gift?

If you do promote If you are going to do this try and match gift suggestions with your customer types – “perfect gift for an avid gardener” for example would spark an idea for my green fingered gran, but if it said “perfect gift for mum” I wouldn’t consider it as my mum is a proven plant killer (I’m not kidding, she even managed to kill an inflatable flower we got her one year as a joke!)  The closer you can get to understanding your customer the better – and remember at Christmas you have might have two customers – the person buying the gift, and the person the gift is for, so you may need to prompt your customers into passing the email on to a partner or to ‘Santa’.


Myth 5: You should Email or post on Christmas Day


Yes people are active on social media even on Christmas Day, connecting with friends and family, sharing the Christmas spirit and some are eying up the sales that start ahead of the Boxing Day rush. Would a generic automated Christmas Day message support your brand values and business objective? Would it be damaging if people responded but didn’t get a reply because it was an automated post and you’re sat at home stuffing your face with sherry and mince pies. If here is no reason to send a message on Christmas Day don’t just send one for the sake of it. If you want to send personalised Christmas wishes to those key customers you treat as friends then go ahead and spread the Christmas cheer, just remember to be available to reply and go easy on the sherry.


What Christmas marketing do you need?


 Ok so we’ve covered off what you don’t need, what marketing activity does your business need in the run up to Christmas?

You do need to communicate your last order dates and delivery dates, don’t send out an email promotion if you know that you can’t fulfil orders and get them delivered before Christmas Eve. Do let people know which date they need to order by to get their product before Christmas. You can do this on a web page, in an email, on social media posts and profiles e.g. bios, pinned posts, even cover photos.

If your vouchers or gift cards can be purchased online and received by email (obviously to be printed out and gift wrapped by the giver) then it is worth promoting this for all those last minute shoppers after your last order date – right up to Christmas Eve (I’m sure there is a statistic somewhere that tells us how many men leave their shopping till Christmas Eve…)
Amongst all the Christmas marketing hustle and bustle don’t forget to leave a mince pie out for Santa!

3 thoughts on “5 Myths of Christmas Marketing

  1. Great, really enjoyed reading it. I hate getting emails on Christmas day and do not join in with Black Friday. Letting people know about parenting workshops and business support is not a Christmas product (!), but keeping awareness of these things so that people can consider them in the new year is.

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