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The ultimate marketing holidays calendar: from Thanksgiving to the New Year

Written by Inês Pimentel on 29/11/16

Now that you know how much can be at stake for your company during this holiday season, it’s time to use our calendar below to plan and implement your own Christmas marketing strategy and campaigns. Not all of them may be applicable to your business, industry, country or region, so adapt your holiday marketing where it is necessary!

The ultimate marketing holidays calendar: from Thanksgiving to the New Year

November 24 – Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving in the United States is a holiday set aside for giving thanks. Many people have a four-day weekend, so it is a busy travel time. Some retailers make special Thanksgiving sales part of their 2016 Christmas marketing strategy.

According to Adobe, Thanksgiving day will have totaled $2.00 billion and will rank third in this year’s shopping days.

November 25 – Black Friday

Black Friday, another US shopping holiday, is the day after Thanksgiving. In recent years it has started as early as Thanksgiving afternoon. Its popularity has been spreading more and more to Europe and beyond. This year’s black Friday is predicted to account for $3.05 billion in online sales. Last year, 36.2% of these sales were made on mobile devices.

According to Custora, email drove a quarter of the traffic that produced Black Friday sales in 2015. That beat out organic search (21%), direct traffic (17%), paid search (16%), affiliates (12%) and social and display ads, which each drove under 2% of traffic that resulted in sales.

Consumers increasingly appreciate email due to its growing relevance, and a large part of the email marketing revenue is due to mobile click-throughs. That makes the necessity of mobile optimization of email marketing all the more important.

The days from Black Friday through Christmas pull in 50-100% more revenue compared to shopping days throughout the rest of the year.

November 26 – Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is a day to celebrate and support small businesses in your local community. Many consumers have become weary of big retailers and prefer to support local small businesses instead. Even better for you, if that’s your company’s case! Be sure to use a hashtag like #smallbizsaturday to get more traction on your social channels.

November 28 – Cyber Monday

The first Monday after Thanksgiving is Cyber Monday, one of the biggest online shopping days of the year.  If you are doing e-commerce you definitely want to get your message out on every possible channel: Adobe is predicting that at $3.36 billion, this year’s Cyber Monday will be the largest online shopping day of all time!

Adobe’s actual & predicted online sales in billions

Adobe’s actual & predicted online sales in billions.png

Make sure your e-commerce site is fully prepared to take on the additional load of visitors, as this is not the day to have any problems.

According to IBM, last year smartphone share of traffic grew from 28.5% to 36.8%, but the tablet share of traffic actually decreased, from 12.5% to 11.1%. Likewise, while smartphones’ share of sales increased from 9.1% to 15.2%, tablet share of sales inched down to 12.4%. And with consumers returning to work, mobile’s share of traffic was 47.9%, a 16.3% increase from 2014, but smaller than Black Friday. Also, desktops had the highest average order value ($128) on Cyber Monday, followed closely by tablets ($124.14), with smartphones ($120.02) again trailing.

Email was by far the largest channel on Cyber Monday in 2015, generating 23.9% of all orders on the day, according to Custora. Organic and paid search were responsible for, respectively, 18.8% and 16%. The impact of social media was just 1.5%, says the same source.

November 29 – Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is a day to give back and get involved in your community by helping others through gifts of your time, donations, goods, or the power of your voice. A good way to incorporate the day as part of your 2016 Christmas marketing strategy is to simply ask your real and online customers to support your charitable efforts by making a purchase that day. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to a local charity.

December 12 – Green Monday

Green Monday is usually the 2nd Monday in December with about 10 days remaining until Christmas. It is a day of finding last-minute deals online, thus generally one of the biggest shopping days in December.

Be sure to stay on top of your customers’ minds through targeted social and email campaigns, which are especially appealing to procrastinators!

December 15 – Ground Shipping Day

This day becomes relevant as it’s the last day you can ship packages by ground and have them arrive by Christmas Eve, or sooner, in the US. If that is where your business is based and deliveries are one of your concerns, be sure to let your customers know ahead of time.

December 16– FREE Shipping Day

Many retailers offer free shipping to provide one last day to shop online and ensure delivery before Christmas. This could be a deciding factor for some customers, so be sure to let them know.

December 23 – E-Gift Card Day

For the procrastinators, this is their last chance! Businesses interested in catching the last of the Christmas shoppers can offer e-gift cards. Once payment is processed cards can be emailed to the buyer.

This day is also known as Festivus - made famous in a Seinfeld episode, it’s a holiday celebrated by those seeking a break from the commercialism and pressure imposed by the modern Christmas season. If it’s a local popular event, take advantage of it with targeted message campaigns.

December 24 – Super Saturday

Super Saturday is the last Saturday before Christmas and is also sometimes called Panic Saturday as shopper rush to purchase last minute gifts. Target any last-minute shoppers with special offers. Email and social marketing are the best channels to reach your mobile consumers.

Hanukkah, or Festival of Lights, also starts on December 24. It’s an eight day Jewish celebration remembering the Jewish people’s struggle for freedom, and lasts until January 1.

December 25 – Christmas

Christmas Day is the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth. As people will be either in busy family celebrations or travelling to be with family, it’s not a big day to sell, but make sure to send your seasonal wishes, even if just through your website or social media channels.

December 26 – Coupon Day

After-Christmas sales are a big thing in some countries, such as the UK. Not only will people be going to the shops to exchange unwanted presents, but also to get the first discounts. Smart business owners can entice them with coupon codes and other special offers.

December 26 is also the day when Kwanzaa starts. It’s a week-long celebration honoring the culture and traditions of people of African descent.  Depending on how significant they are on your customer base, it might be relevant to also mark the period.

December 31 - New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is the last day of the year in the Gregorian calendar, six days after Christmas day. In many countries, New Year's Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat, drink alcoholic beverages, and watch or light fireworks to mark the new year, and these will be the product categories that people will be on looking for on the day. For most businesses however, it’s usually a day as slow as Christmas. However, make sure you don’t let the date go unnoticed and plan some generic messaging on your communication channels between December 31 and January 1 if you can’t profit from it in your business domain.

January 1 – New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day marks the beginning of the New Year and the most celebrated public holiday, often observed with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the New Year starts in each time zone. Other global New Years' Day traditions include making New Year's resolutions and calling one's friends and family.

Now that you know how much this season can mean for your overall business results, and what key dates you need to invest most on your marketing efforts, stay tuned for our next article, where we’ll explore the essential tools and platforms you need to cover to make sure your business is Christmas-ready!

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Customer Experience, Digital Presence, eCommerce, Digital Strategy

Inês Pimentel

Written by Inês Pimentel

Inês Pimentel is Content Manager at AMPLEXOR International and based in Lisbon. With broad experience in marketing and communication in tech, service and associative contexts, Inês joined AMPLEXOR in 2016 and specializes in marketing content for digital experience and enterprise collaboration solutions. She's certified by HubSpot in Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing.

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