The holidays tend to sneak up on most people, but not direct marketers. Many have started their holiday direct marketing campaign planning, even now when the weather is warm and the holidays are the furthest thing from most peoples’ minds. They have to, as waiting until the last minute is a luxury they can’t afford.
I would argue “The Holidays,” beginning with Thanksgiving and running through the New Year, create as many challenges as opportunities for direct marketers, including our clients. In addition to the typically frantic holiday schedule for most consumers, the competition for attention in the mail box is just as hectic. Not to mention, the mailing holiday season is obviously a peak period for the retail and non-profit mailers, which creates another challenge for those who mail consistently throughout the year. The holidays also affect in-home strategies, whether it’s timing your offer to arrive just before, or after, a holiday or the impact of significant mail volume moving through the USPS network.
Three Tips for Holiday Direct Marketing Planning
Because of this, accounting for very specific in-home strategies around the holidays becomes critical. The impact of above average mail volumes and postal holidays is significant. Transparency into in-home delivery is critical. So while you probably don’t have your holiday gift lists written yet, here is a list of tips for planning your holiday direct marketing offers:
- Develop a consistent testing pipeline. Our most sophisticated clients are committing 20% or more of their mail-files to testing. This commitment – combined with our ideas around data, segmentation, offer, messaging and format – will help create an effective control rotation and bench strength for additional controls that are ready to be employed.
- Focus on in-home transparency. Start basing your campaign timeline on in-home delivery today, if you’re not already. You will be very happy when the crunch of the holiday volume and critical dates arrive.
- Tighten up your execution workflow. Branding, creative, offer, copy routing and legal approval is often cumbersome. Gaps in this process can be masked throughout the year by increasing flexibility throughout the downstream process. Build discipline, and maybe a little extra time, into your development calendar to account for these issues to minimize fire drills and additional costs.
Finally, remember that despite all of these challenges, the mail will get out…and consumers will respond. Very few marketers have died executing holiday campaigns.
In all seriousness, let me be the first to wish you all a wonderful holiday season!
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