Strategize for these four holidays today
With the sunshine of summer finally upon us it seems silly to focus on the colder months ahead, but marketers know that future success depends on plans made today. Leveraging the strategies outlined below, take the first steps to reach your target audience during fourth quarter’s major marketing milestones.
More than a third of consumers plan to start their Halloween shopping in September or earlier*, which makes timely planning for this high-spend holiday especially crucial. Bring your brand to the forefront of the sugar-fueled celebration through a photo contest. Encourage consumers to post a photo of their costume or decorations inspired by your brand to social media. They’ll use a dedicated campaign hashtag in exchange for a chance to win, and you’ll watch your brand exposure spread as your follower creativity soars.
Lend consumers a helping hand this Thanksgiving by taking the stress out of meal planning. Create a holiday hub where consumers can menu plan, build a shopping list, and invite guests (a feature that has the added benefit of spreading campaign reach). Include recipe ideas, outfit suggestions, and hostess gift ideas for those who are attending but not hosting this year, and award extra entries for photos posted during and after the event with the campaign hashtag. After all, 56% of consumers are more likely to buy a product after seeing it featured in a positive or relatable user-generated image.**
Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Consumers are always looking for a deal, especially during the frenzied days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. Stand out from the crowd and leverage the sense of urgency that fuels shoppers with a countdown coupon (consumers have limited time to redeem a coupon that lessens in value as time ticks down). Conversely, consider adding value to a base coupon when the consumer completes certain actions like following your brand’s social channels, adding something extra to their shopping cart, referring a friend, or joining your loyalty program. 
87% of customers would purchase a product if the brand advocated an issue that resonated with the consumer.*** It’s no surprise that consumers are especially inspired to give during the holiday season – join them in their charitable spirit and highlight how your brand gives back. Allow consumers to create a holiday card to send to a loved one, then make a donation to your brand-supported charity (or a charity of the consumer’s choice) with each card sent. Gain new customers, drive sales, and increase engagement by including an offer or brand experience as part of the card. 
Do the holidays above resonate with your consumers? If not, consider other events to activate: hunting season, Oktoberfest, the World Series, college bowl games, and more.
Today is the day to make a plan to reach your target audience this fourth quarter with a strategy that best addresses their unique needs and interests. Happy holidays!
*National Retail Federation, 2018
**Olapic, 2017
***Cone Communications, 2017

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