Posted 15th August 2012 | By Peter Voss, Account Manager

The sun is shining, the UK didn’t collapse under the weight of its Olympian expectations and there are only 130 days to Christmas (and counting). So the time might be ripe to start planning your marketing strategy for the festive season.

Preparing your Christmas marketing

The sun is shining, the UK didn’t collapse under the weight of its Olympian expectations and there are only 130 days to Christmas (and counting). So the time might be ripe to start planning your marketing strategy for the festive season.

You not only need to know that you will have the stock or the staff available, but also you need to start thinking now about how you are going to get your message and hopefully your goodies into your customer’s hands in time for the main event.

If your main focus is going to be the must-have gift for Christmas, you need to determine the last possible shipping date to ensure that your customers get it in time, to be able to give it to their loved ones. The Royal Mail has yet to publish its last postage dates, but it is a pretty safe bet that the latest First Class date will be 4 or 5 working days before the 25th of December. However, if you’re in the business of selling baubles and decorations for the festive season, then you need to bring forward your postage dates, accordingly: so in order to get an Advent Calendar to New Zealand (by surface mail) in time for the 1st of December you have probably already missed the boat – quite literally!

Once you’ve sorted out how you are going to get your goods to your customers in time, you need to think about when you are going to tell them why they have to buy your ‘special’ product. So, when are you going to start letting people know what it is that they cannot live without this year? Start too early and you could alienate people, start too late and people will have already bought all their gifts. Timing is everything and whenever you decide to start sending your message you’re bound to upset somebody. Now I’m possibly not the best person to judge this (as anything remotely Christmas themed that arrives in my inbox before 24 December, will be given the shortest of shrifts), however, if you work on the principle that Santa and his entourage normally arrive in most department stores around the 3rd weekend in November – you will be heading in the right general direction.

Finally, you need to think about when gifts are normally given – especially if you are pitching your products overseas. Small gifts and sweets are distributed to all “good children” in the Netherlands on the 5th of December and (just to differentiate) it’s the 6th of December in the Flemish half of Belgium. In Spain the ‘serious’ presents are not given on Christmas Day, but rather on ‘Reyes Magos’, which is the 6th of January. And in Orthodox Christian countries (which still use variations of the old Julian calendar) Christmas Day falls on the 7th of January, except for the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem where it’s the 19th of January!

Peter from ExtraMile Communications Ltd in Eccleshall, Staffordshire.
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