From the BlogSmall Business

Holiday Marketing: Does the Early Bird Catch the Worm?

As I stood in a department store at the mall, I realized that “Frosty the Snowman” was playing on the speakers.

The date: Nov. 1.

The mall was already wearing its holiday clothes: an assortment of wreaths, lights, and ornaments hung from all the rafters. I echo many consumers when I ask: why does Christmas seem to show up earlier each in year in stores?

The marketer in me thinks: well, it must work, right? Seeing the decorations, hearing the music — it’s a cue that it’s time to start shopping. We all know retailers finally get out of the red and into the black during the last quarter of the year. Maybe by bringing out the holiday trimming, we all respond like Pavlov’s dogs and open our wallets a little sooner or spend a little more.

Photo by Sarah Ackerman.
Photo by Sarah Ackerman.

Nope. According to the NPD Group, most consumers are waiting until the weekend after Thanksgiving to begin their holiday shopping.

Meanwhile, some retailers are opening their stores on Thanksgiving Day. An expert quoted in that article says consumers want options. In other words: it’s our own fault. If the stores did not expect people to show up, they would not be open Thanksgiving Day. This proves one of my favorite sayings: you vote with your wallet.

The B2B Side
Of course, this applies to retail and other B2C operations. On the other side, I’ve seen marketer push B2B’s as early as July to start planning their holiday strategies. In this case, I agree. It’s never too soon to think about what you’re doing differently this year.

For many small business owners I know, November and December are the slowest months. Corporate America slows down, works less, and is less likely to hire services, pulling the old “let’s just wait until first quarter.”

So in that case, how are you taking advantage of the slow times? Here are some great ways to spend the rest of 2014:

  • Create your content plan for first quarter of 2015
  • Network. Fewer people at events means you might actually make some meaningful connections. (Join me on Fridays.)
  • Step back and look at your business. What’s going right? What’s going wrong?
  • Clean up your website. Check for dead links, make sure all the page content is fresh and updated.
  • Freshen your bio/about. Then be sure to update it on all social media networks, LinkedIn, etc.