How to Rethink Your Marketing Efforts at Year End

December 18, 2018 | Kaleigh Moore


The holiday season is in full force, which means consumers continually see an influx of ads, sales, and promotions all wrapped up in colorful graphics and text.

However, this time of year tends to cause a mental shift, known as ‘holiday brain.’ Yes, it’s a real thing.

People are focusing on holiday parties, time with loved ones, and the year ahead. Additionally, the countless ads, the ever-present sense of urgency, and overall stress that comes with this time of year can have some adverse effects.

But just because the year is coming to a close, it doesn’t mean your marketing efforts should too. Contrary to popular belief, the holidays are the perfect opportunity to let your brand shine and get set up for a successful year ahead.

How can brands do that?

Because of the seemingly inescapable clutter of holiday ads and promotions, people crave the things that inspire their love for the holidays in the first place: connection, tradition, and nostalgia.

Shifting your marketing strategy to fulfill that sense of holiday cheer can set you apart from other brands. Keep these tips in mind when rethinking your end-of-year marketing efforts.

Have Clear Objectives

Your end-of-year marketing decisions should have solid reasoning behind them. Understanding the root of why you’re implementing a tactic or pushing a blog post is essential for success.

A few questions to consider include:

  • Is this memorable?
  • How is this helping your brand as a whole?
  • How is this resonating with your customers?
  • What does success look like in this case?


Your holiday marketing efforts shouldn’t be arbitrary or solely exist to compete with other brands or make sales. You should be focusing on forging a connection with your customers and providing value whenever you can.

For example, let’s say you want to capture as many qualified leads as possible before the end of the year (as everyone does, right?)

Building a holiday-centric landing page that not only captures leads but sends potential customers off with a freebie, just as Hubspot did with free holiday stock photos, checks all the boxes of a successful tactic.

It’s important to invest in the tactics that work based on historical data and past campaigns, but to also understand what your audience is looking for during this season. An incentive like free holiday stock photos meets a need and fulfills a marketing objective such as lead capture.

Recycle Existing Content

Any content that isn’t time-sensitive—otherwise known as evergreen content—can be reinvented to serve another purpose. Did you know that roughly 60% of marketers reuse and repurpose content between two and five times?

Repurposing existing content not only saves you the time and effort it would normally take to create content from scratch, but it can be extremely beneficial for several reasons.

  • SEO boost: Recycling existing content can help build your search authority thanks to backlinking, linking to other respected sources, and providing value to readers. In fact, according to BigCommerce & Live Chat Inc., websites receive an average of 63% more website visits during the holiday season. For example, reusing an old blog post for an email sequence, a video series, or interactive content like a quiz can help draw in search traffic from multiple avenues.

  • Reach a new audience: By transforming an existing piece of content, you can reach a new audience you may not have been able to reach before. Improving your content and pushing it out on different channels can attract an audience you didn’t have the opportunity to reach before.

  • Give a new life to old content: As a marketer, you understand that things change constantly, and therefore so should your content. Updating content with a fresh case study or with newly-released research data can revive old content and give it a new meaning.

Creating net-new content, especially during the holidays, is a massive undertaking. In fact, according to Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing programs and generates about three times the volume of leads. See what you can do with the stellar content you already have. There is always room for improvement.

It’s also important to have a clear understanding of what success with this reinvented content looks like via defined metrics. This way, you can truly see the value of your efforts and how you’ve improved (or what requires a little more work.)

Do Something Special for Your Customers

The holiday season is a great time to show your current customers just how much they mean to you. Offering discounts, special offers, or early access to new products is not only a great way to show appreciation, but to also remind customers that you exist.

You won’t be alone in those efforts, though. Many companies are doing similar things, which puts your message at risk for getting lost in the noise.

In our primarily digital world, receiving something like a handwritten holiday card or a surprise item wrapped in pretty packaging can mean a lot. Gestures like these remind customers why they choose your product or service and helps build on positive brand association.

Email marketing company Emma does an excellent job implementing this type of strategy year-round. Sending treats in the mail branded with their logo is a great way to surprise and delight loyal customers or impress new ones. This unexpected gift speaks to Emma’s appreciation for their customers.

Showing customers an extra bit of kindness and creating a positive interaction with your brand will help strengthen your customer loyalty. If your customers continue to have positive interactions with your brand, they will surely sing your praise.

Leave a Lasting Impression

Even with the abundance of holiday campaigns filling screens and inboxes near and far, there are plenty of ways to make a lasting impression that keep you fresh in people’s minds.

You don’t have to roll out the red carpet for your customers to remember you or to make a lasting impression. It’s possible to approach your holiday campaign differently.

For example, REI made waves in 2015 with its Opt Outside campaign, which encouraged people to spend Black Friday outside exploring instead of duking it out with strangers for the best deals. The campaign resonated well with its audience, of course, but it also inspired others to reconnect with the true meaning of the holiday season.

By choosing to go against the norm of the traditional holiday shopping frenzy, REI was able to stand out and position themselves as a company that values and embodies the important things in life.

Another brand that made a lasting impression during the holidays is Garmin. They released a series of commercials poking fun at some of the most prevalent holiday blunders.

In one commercial, set to the tune of ‘Carol of the Bells,’ a driver is shown getting lost on the way back home from the store. Lyrics like, ‘I missed my turn, I’m gonna burn, wife’s gonna freak, future is meek,’ is relatable to customers and injects a bit of humor into real holiday situations.

Both of these campaigns are excellent examples of what happens when brands go against the norm of the traditional holiday promotion. These campaigns are memorable and relatable, and get people talking about the brand.

Set Your 2019 Plan Up for Success

At this point, you likely already have a pulse on the trends marketers can expect to see in the new year. Use this end-of-year time to prime your brand for early success.

Once your holiday campaigns are all set, make sure you take time to tie up any loose ends and that things are ready for next year.

Take inventory of your creative assets and other content you plan on leveraging early, and establish your distribution plan if you haven’t already. If you need to, make sure you have proper sign off from management and that your team is on the same page regarding every component of your upcoming content marketing strategy.

It’s important to take these steps now, that way you’re not scrambling within the first few weeks of 2019.

Although it’s tempting to relax and ride out the rest of the year with a glass of eggnog in one hand and a sugar cookie in the other, it’s essential to keep your marketing efforts consistent. Listening to what your audience wants and finding new ways to reach them during this busy time will help clear the fog the holiday season can bring.

Need help refreshing your year-end marketing efforts? We can help.


Listening to what your audience wants and finding new ways to reach them during this busy time will help clear the fog the holiday season can bring.

Need help refreshing your year-end marketing efforts? We can help.


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