Time to Start Planning your Christmas Marketing Campaigns
If you haven't already made a start, now is the time to launch your Christmas and New Year marketing campaigns. This is a big undertaking in any year, but 2020 brings uncertainty and the threat of changing regulations and short notice, not to mention Brexit. This makes it much harder for marketers to pitch their message because what starts out as a solid strategy could be undermined by shifting public opinion and the changes to lockdown regulations we may face over the winter months; you might have an excellent slogan and strategy based around the idea of a small scale family Christmas, but if the Covid alert reaches level 5 in December, we could be facing a Christmas conducted virtually, with no visits to in-laws or even your own family allowed.A campaign which stresses the importance of family could fall flat if we face a lockdown situation.
This means marketers either have to keep several campaigns in development and launch the one which best fits the public mood, or be incredibly confident about their campaign and message, and stick with it, although it is wise this year to have a backup, or additional campaign to launch if your original one is scuppered by the rapidly changing situation.
Having multiple campaigns ready to go seems like a lot of work, and it will be more work than last year, but you can make this as streamlined as possible by setting your objectives and promotion or offering, and then looking at different ways to promote these. It's best to avoid any approach that plays on people's fears of Covid and the effects on the wider economy and society, simply because your customers will have enough to worry about without you adding to it. Instead, focus on how you can position your business or product as a solution to problems.
In uncertain times like these customers want reassurance, they want a bit of a distraction from the bad news. They want to feel secure in making a purchase from you in times when money is tight and the prospects of returning to a normal economic state seem very far away.If you can provide one, two, or all three of these aspects you're on the way to running a successful campaign. Of course, some industries may not have the luxury of being completely positive due to the nature of the product or service, but you can still focus on the positives as much as possible.
Companies making or distributing PPE, for example, should avoid levity, but focus instead on what role they are playing in keeping the country safe. Alcohol producers could face a backlash, if they are seen to be promoting irresponsible drinking or positioning alcohol as a way to cope with the pandemic. B2B companies may want to focus on payment plans as a way to encourage purchasing without a large initial outlay, which could persuade customers to make the purchase even in uncertain times.
In every case, it would probably be wise to err on the side of caution and not go down any routes which make light of the pandemic or which could be seen to be encouraging irresponsible behaviour. Christmas isn't quite cancelled, but it will be a different event this year and marketers need to respond accordingly and tailor their message to the public, or industry mood.
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