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

    Unsure about when to focus your marketing efforts? Use our holiday marketing calendar to plan and implement your strategy and campaigns for a successful season.

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    With the days from Black Friday through Christmas drawing in 50-100% more revenue compared to shopping days throughout the rest of the year, it’s no surprise so much is at stake for companies during the holiday season. If you’re unsure about when to direct your marketing efforts, it’s time to use our holiday marketing calendar to plan and implement your strategy and campaigns. Not all dates may be applicable to your business, industry, country or region, so adapt your holiday marketing strategy where it is necessary!

    The ultimate holiday marketing calendar 2017

    November 23 – 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 Christmas marketing strategy.

    Consumers spent $1.93 billion online on Thanksgiving Day alone in the U.S. last year, an 11.5% increase over 2015, but below the projected $2 billion. According to Adobe Digital Insights (ADI), online sales in the U.S. totaled $12.8 billion last year during the five-day period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.

    November 24 – Black Friday

    Black Friday started as a US shopping holiday but is now a worldwide phenomenon. Even if in recent years many large retailers have launched early bird “Black Friday sales” as early as the day after Halloween, the true discount frenzy doesn't arrive until the week of Thanksgiving.

    Last year, the day’s revenue surpassed the $3.05 billion expected for a record $3.34 billion and a considerable 21.6% growth rate. It was also the first day to generate more than a billion dollars through online sales from mobile devices, with $1.2 billion and a 33% increase from last year.

    November 25 – 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 27 – Cyber Monday

    The first Monday after Thanksgiving is Cyber Monday, one of the biggest online shopping days of the year.  If you are doing ecommerce you definitely want to get your message out on every possible channel: Adobe reported 2016’s Cyber Monday achieved a new record with $3.45 billion spent online, a 12.1 percent increase over 2015. While mobile purchases dominated during Black Friday and Thanksgiving, desktops actually took the lead on Cyber Monday, with 53% of visits and 69% of sales.

    November 28 – 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 holiday 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. In 2016, charitable donations-per-visit were up by 93% on desktops, 128% on tablets and 53% on smartphones when comparing with the November average.

    December 11 – 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 – Free Shipping Day

    Free Shipping Day was started in 2008 and is a one-day event held annually in mid-December which has been getting bigger every year. Thousands of online stores offer free shipping to provide one last day to shop online with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. This could be a deciding factor for some customers, so be sure to let them know.

    In the US, it’s also known as Ground Shipping Day, and  is relevant as it’s the last day you can ship packages by ground and have them arrive by Christmas Eve. 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 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 23 – Super Saturday

    Super Saturday is the last Saturday before Christmas and is also sometimes called “Panic Saturday” as shoppers 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.

    December 25 – Christmas

    Christmas Day is the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth. As people will be busy, either in 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 it is 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 beneficial 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, 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 the key dates you need to invest most on your digital marketing efforts, you're all set to prioritize the tactics. Let us guide you through the strategy essentials and best practices - download our free ebook 9 digital marketing essentials for a successful Holiday season.

    Digital Holiday Marketing Ebook



    Published on 20/11/17    Last updated on 14/11/18

    #Customer Experience, #Digital Marketing, #Digital Strategy

    About the author

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


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