Holiday Marketing: Thanksgiving & Beyond

November is my favorite month of the year. I have both personal and general reasons. The weather is perfect. It includes my favorite meal of the year. And it’s the month I got married. November also ushers in the winter holidays and happens to have my favorite one. What does that have to with marketing? Well readers, holiday marketing is a great tool to have in your belt. And it doesn’t just have to be for the biggest holidays. Nor does the marketing need to be traditionally sales-based, though it can be. 

So what is holiday marketing? It can be a lot of things. You have your Black Friday sales, you have your turkeys and your Christmas trees in your social media graphics. You can have jingles or plays on famous carols. You can also do holiday marketing the rest of the year for your more personal or sillier holidays.

All that said, my favorite holiday as both a person and a writer is Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving, you see, requires no religion or creed. It leaves no one out. The traditional story of Thanksgiving (even if we’ve learned more about it’s mythic nature over time) is about people coming together. And today, it’s simply a chance to express gratitude for what you have, which is, I believe, a beautiful ritual, and one in which anyone can participate. And let’s be honest, the food helps a lot. 

Nontraditional Holiday Marketing for Thanksgiving

I like to use Thanksgiving as a time to name check specific clients, organizations and individuals who have helped my business in all my social media posts.

This year POP has used most of November to express thanks and speak a little about each entity thanked. For your business, this could be an excellent time to thank employees who worked extra hard in this last year. It could be a chance to mention a recent retiree. And of course, you should also use it as a chance to thank your customers. 

Is that marketing?

In a way it is. It’s not traditional marketing. You’re taking the attention away from your company and putting it on someone else. But it’s perfect for social media marketing. Social media is all about connecting with an audience. 

Do you know what millennials value you most when assessing whether to work with a business? The answer is authenticity.

If you take the time to sincerely thank those around you who deserve it, it shows customers you’re real. You have real feelings, real problems and real solutions. And this last year was REAL.

Holidays can also be a time to talk about what specific holidays mean to you, your employees, or your company culture. Share an employee story. Share an office anecdote.

Maybe share a story about what one of your employees did to make a customer’s holiday!

Don’t have sincerity in you? How about some snark?

I considered writing a post to thank the clients who swindled me out of my money early on because they taught me the importance of autopay!

It’s all about what is true to your brand.

Sales-based Holiday Marketing

The most common type of marketing we see around the holidays is sales-based. 

Retail stores have “door busters” and “loss leaders” to get customers in the door in hopes that they will then also buy something else.

Black Friday is of course the most famous of these holidays. Though it’s recently been followed by Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Cyber Week.

In the last few years there has been a backlash against Black Friday. It’s allowed some companies to do some sincere non-traditional marketing about how they will not be participating in Black Friday and will instead give their employees the day off. 

Again, I ask, is that marketing?

Well, if it helps you learn about a company it is. If you feel they’re being sincere, then it’s very good marketing.

But holiday sales don’t just happen after Thanksgiving. Depending on your area and what holidays business owners celebrate you will find Christmas, Hannukah, Diwali, Eid-e-Shuja’, Chinese New Year and Kwanzaa sales during the winter months. There’s also your all encompassing Holiday or Winter sales. 

The important thing again is to keep it authentic to your company brand. 

Marketing Around B and C-List Holidays

Most of this blog has been focused on the winter holidays we are about to experience but as you well know, we have holidays (and marketing opportunities around them) all year. 

Labor Day, Presidents Day and Fourth of July Sales are very common. You can also easily use the nontraditional marketing I’ve been describing around any of those days.

But some of my favorite marketing opportunities come around lesser known or “C-List” holidays.

Did you know that Abet and Aid Punsters Day is November 8 every year? 

You can have a lot of corny fun around that one. 

The very same day is World Orphans Day! There’s a chance to market something different and maybe even get your customers to post about a good deed!

November is home to Polar Bear Awareness Week which this week fell from November 7-13. That’s a chance to support a cause!

So whether you’re looking for something funny, silly, or sincere, you will be able to find it nearly every month of the year.

I like to focus on at least one of those days every month. I usually go with silly since as a new company, I don’t have any money to donate to a cause. 

But you do you!

As previously mentioned, the customers who are now spending the most in the market (the millennials) and also spending the most time online value authenticity above all else. 

So figure out what works for you and go with it. Each month and each day is a new opportunity. 

This month, I’m focusing on gratitude. And I’m grateful to you for reading this blog. Thanks!

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