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Top Holiday Campaigns from Christmas Past

This is a guest post courtesy of Alicia Lawrence. She is a content coordinator for WebpageFX and enjoys helping clients like Havahart with online PR. Her work has been published by the Association for Business Communication, Yahoo! Small Business, and Inspiration Feed.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, especially if you’re involved in marketing.  During the holiday season, people have parties to go to, treats and goodies to bake, and presents to buy, all of which create a marketer’s dream. 

With stores opening earlier than ever this year for black Friday shopping, the competition is stiff.  However, with a little creativity, some clever advertising and inspiration from the campaigns listed below, you can be successful and come away from the holiday season as jolly as good old St. Nick himself.   Here are some ideas to get started:

Invite Your Customers to Go Public with Their Wish Lists

Eighty-one percent of consumers are influenced by the social media posts of their friends.  Take advantage of that statistic by having your customers engage and interact with one another, sharing preferences for your brand’s products or services.  In 2012, Sephora asked their followers on Twitter to tweet the Sephora products they had on their holiday wish lists to @SephoraClaus, and of those who tweeted, thirty had their wishes granted.  Their campaign, which accrued over 50,000 entries, was highly effective because it allowed the entrants to see the Sephora products that others listed, giving them ideas for products to add to their own wish lists. 

Provide an Authentic Experience

REI realized that personal touch can make a big difference.  Knowing this, they had their in-store employees (AKA “green vests”) create real-time video responses to questions from customers about REI products.  In the videos, they also helped customers with gift giving ideas.  During the campaign, they shot 90 videos, and as a result, relationships with their customers deepened and traffic to their website doubled.  Now that makes for a happy holiday! 

Get Silly

No, this isn’t a reference to the song.  Really, a great way to run an effective holiday marketing campaign is to have a sense of humor and show your silly side.  Office Max did this wonderfully with their “Elf Yourself” campaign that has been around since 2006.  The brilliance of this lies in the fact that it’s customizable, personalized and yes, to top it all off, very funny.  Aside from Office Max, two other retailers used humor effectively to get people to buy; Kohl’s used the song everyone loves to hate, “Friday” by Rebecca Black, and spun it into a parody for their black Friday campaign, so the song that had already gone viral was set to go viral once again and this time it was to their advantage. By playfully teasing enthusiastic shoppers, they set themselves up for a successful holiday season. 

Do Good for Others 

Especially during the holiday season, people want to do good deeds and help out other people.  Macy’s took advantage of that fact with their “Believe” Campaign in which each time a child dropped off a letter to Santa in one of their special mailboxes, the store donated to the Make a Wish foundation.  American Express also came up with a thoughtful way to help out smaller businesses during the holidays by launching “Small Business Saturday,” establishing the Saturday after Thanksgiving as a day for Americans to patronize smaller businesses in their communities.  They helped small businesses gear up for the event by giving them free Facebook ad templates and scripts for Facebook posts and tweets to help them get the word out and get shoppers into their stores. 

The holiday season presents a diverse range of marketing opportunities for your company.  Getting people laughing, helping them make a difference, and providing interactive experiences are all effective ways to earn and keep customers.  So take a hint from the campaigns listed above, and try implementing some of their strategies today.  With a little cleverness and creativity, you could find yourself on the wish lists of people everywhere!