Marketing for the Holidays
It’s December. You know what that means (cue collective groan). It’s time for the Christmas take over. Now, I’m not a grinch, far from it, but Christmas has a time and a place. That time and place are not September. Or, October. It’s not exactly November either, but that battle was lost long ago.
Thanksgiving might as well be called Black Thursday, now that the sales all start early. Do kids even know what Thanksgiving is anymore, or do they just think it’s pre-gaming for Christmas dinner? Back in 2007, ABC Family decided that the 25 Days of Christmas wasn’t enough. Now there’s a countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas. Yes, you read that right. A countdown has a countdown. It starts around the 20th of November and not all of the features shown is Christmas themed. They are mostly family features, but the name remains, The Countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas. By the middle of October Halloween and Fall, items are condensed down to a clearance table while the rest of all the major stores are full-blown winter wonderlands.
All of these are examples of marketing strategies that companies use to make the most of the holiday, but what makes them effective? I couldn’t possibly count on both hands the number of people I hear every day complaining about how early Christmas comes. Logically, this would everyone would look down on these tactics and therefore they wouldn’t work, but they do. Most of us will complain all morning and then end up scrolling through Amazon during Thanksgiving dinner or browse online at work on Cyber Monday. We all cuddle up to watch Harry Potter and Elf in the weeks counting down to Christmas and we just can’t seem to help but decorate just a little bit earlier each year.
Although it can be annoying and a bit assaulting, we hardly resist the urge to sing along when Christmas songs come over the radio on November 1st. Why? What is it that made Christmas special, to begin with? It’s not the catchy songs or the overkill decorations. It’s not even the gifts or the food. It’s the spirit. Going shopping for Christmas dinner ingredients and sharing a smile with the cashier in her bright red hat. Holding the door open for strangers who have their arms full of gifts. The feeling that we all get when we figure out the perfect gift for someone we care about. The warm feeling of being with family we never get to see.
The beauty of PR and marketing is that even when it seems they are pushing the commercialism of a magical holiday, they are instilling this spirit in all of us. It is why we give in. The commercials and advertisements all-star families doing things together or strangers lending a helping hand. Stores open earlier and stay open later, not only to make more money but to allow hard-working people to get their loved ones the gifts they deserve. Christmas gets earlier and earlier to extend the joy of the season.
Now, it’s not all about the warm fuzzies. There are plenty of strategic reasons for the way things are, to make more money, to get more business. The key to marketing for the holidays is to make sure it doesn’t come across this way. When talking holiday strategies, keep the spirit of the holiday in mind. Spread joy while you’re making money. Make your customers feel cared about this holiday season.
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