When’s the right time to plan and execute your Christmas campaigns?
At a recent Marketing event, three retail marketing experts discussed Christmas campaigns, and just how early brands should be preparing and sending them.
This article was sponsored by event partner AdRoll to let readers know about ‘The Digital Marketer’s Ultimate Holiday Ecommerce Toolkit’ resources.
At the Melbourne ‘Avoid the Holiday Horror,’ Jane Hoban, global marketing director of T2, Mohit Bhargava, general manager sales and marketing at Village Cinemas, and Denise Wyer, head of sales APAC at AdRoll discussed the silly season, when it’s the right time to begin planning and sending campaigns, and what happens to those who leave it too late.
When’s the right time to start planning Christmas campaigns?
Denise Wyer, head of sales APAC, AdRoll
Of our clients, 30% start their campaigns by mid-October. That’s for a stack of different reasons. About 40% of the Australian public start their Christmas shopping by the end of October, which is a huge amount, so you want to make sure that you’re in market while they’re in market.
Secondly, October’s really the last month that you can take advantage of cheap CPMs. We see a jump of about 18% in CPMs as you move into November, and close to a 20% jump in CPCs over the Christmas period. So, you want to get testing done and ensure landing pages, customer journey, and creative, everything is optimised to the best place that it can be, to take advantage of how many people are in the market, starting in September and October
Jane Hoban, global marketing director at T2
We’ve got a different point of view at T2. When we think about planning for Christmas, we actually start on 26 December. We start to analyse our past Christmas immediately. We start crunching the data really, really early.
In terms of being in market, we go into market in the first week in November. I laugh at the stat how 30% of customers are thinking Christmas in August, because they’re not shopping at T2.
We find that Christmas is getting later and later. We’re in market in November, but people aren’t thinking gifts in November. They might be thinking of entertainment and family events, and, buying products for that, but they’re not really buying gifts until 10 days prior to Christmas. It’s going later in terms of when the shoppers are actually hitting our stores.
In saying that, we follow the trends, we go 6 November for launching our campaigns.
Mohit Bhargava, general manager sales and marketing, Village Cinemas
I’d have to agree with Jane. The shopper is buying later and later. From a campaign planning sense, our creative partners have already been working on our Christmas campaign. If you’re a business that sees Christmas as being significant, you are always thinking of Christmas. That’s the bottom line.
We start planning our Christmas campaign development alongside all our other creative campaigns in Q1 of the year. In terms of going to market, we go to market 19 October. For sales and genuine momentum, things do ramp up in September. That’s when we see meaningful trade from a volume sense.
It’s a funny thing. From a campaign and general advertising standpoint, it seems that people are starting earlier in the piece, but the consumer is buying a lot later in the piece.
It is a tricky one.
What’s the risk of leaving it too late?
Mohit Bhargava: The shopper is leaving it too late. As a business, if you leave it too late – there is, again, various elements to every campaign, so to the comment earlier about ad spend and ad campaigns, if you leave it too late, the odds are you’re going to be paying more for your media.
From a creative standpoint, if you’re pushing it too late in the year, you’re probably going to be ending up with content and execution that’s not best-in-class. From an actual frontline sense, at a business like ours, it actually takes a significant amount of effort to roll out a campaign when you have three or four thousand frontline staff that you have to onboard into the new campaign, and make sure the art selling and cross-selling is appropriate.
If you leave it late, you’re just not going to get the right results.
Jane Hoban: As I said before, Christmas is the number one selling period for T2. We are, fundamentally, a gifting company. We sell and make all of our money in those ten days before Christmas, pretty much. We start really early on. Our product lead times are nine-to-10 months, so we’ve already ordered our Christmas range coming out of Q1. We’ve planned our Christmas range in terms of the campaign by middle of the year, and we’ve sold it into all our teams by about August.
That said, we don’t have a lot of above-the-line media spend. We’re traditionally a digital communicator. While we have our campaign, if you think about social media, you can’t really plan that more than two weeks out. While we have a skeleton plan, we’re doing a lot at the last minute. We will be doing photo shoots all the way through December, just to make sure we’ve got the right content online, that’s relevant for our consumer.
Denise Wyer: Every business is very different. Consumers may not necessarily be buying their products right then and there in October – I definitely leave it last minute! – it’s that consideration period and the fact that all your competitors will be in market. People are open to see what products are out there, and they are thinking about Christmas earlier, even if they’re not buying. It’s an opportunity to take advantage of the cheaper CPMs and the benefit of that is, we see about 30% of retailers online spend for the entire year come in at the Christmas period.
It’s such an important time of the year. It can have a significant impact on your ability to hit your sales goals, your profit goals. Seeing that 19% ROI improvement over Christmas, you really want to make sure you’re taking advantage of it.
It’s about five times more expensive to get a new customer, than it is to manage an existing customer. Considering that it’s a more expensive time of the year to advertise, you want to make sure you’re in early enough to find those new clients, so that you can then grow the lifetime to your next expensive time of the year.
Be a little bit more targeted as well, and make sure that you’re getting the best ROI that you can.
The ‘Digital Marketer’s Ultimate Holiday Ecommerce Toolkit’ features calendars, checklists and an ecommerce holiday guide, and will help you easily conquer the Christmas period and protect your bottom line.
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