Media Planning: Changing Seasons and Shifting Creatives

As students head back to school, so many marketers are heading back to the drawing board to refresh their ad creatives for the fall & holiday shopping season. Indeed, while some marketers are still finalizing their Labor Day sales, others are already looking ahead to holiday media planning strategies, and for good reason.

Last year, the majority of holiday shopping occurred on or before Cyber Monday, and this trend is expected to continue this year. While Thanksgiving weekend sales are expected, only 17.7% of total online holiday shopping occurred between Black Friday and Cyber Tuesday last year.

media planning

Meanwhile, 54% of shoppers reported completing most of their 2017 holiday shopping on or before Cyber Monday. Thus, quite a bit of holiday shopping is completed well before Thanksgiving, and agile marketers are already preparing.

So how can marketers prepare quickly, particularly if their promotions are evergreen? One often overlooked option is a creative audit and refresh. Key considerations for marketers include:

  • Do the messaging appeals that captivated consumers earlier in the summer still apply?
  • Have copycat competitors caused once unique creative to seem mundane?
  • Could dynamic creative optimization be leveraged to better captivate customers based on their unique interests?

With respect to messaging, it’s imperative to remember that consumer priorities — beyond the timeless desire to get a good deal, of course — change between the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons.

For instance, while consumers were looking for joy & speed during back-to-school shopping, they are more concerned about reliability over the holidays. Indeed, a third of back-to-school shoppers reported that they want to have fun while shopping, and even more reported a desire to finish their shopping as fast as possible. Meanwhile, holiday shoppers are far more concerned with customer service (48%), shipping (41%), and return policies (21%).

Retailers and brands that can sincerely deliver on top holiday shopping concerns will be well poised in the coming months, provided their creative is refreshed accordingly and their media planning is on point. Similarly, marketers who take the time to audit their relative positioning or implement a dynamic creative optimization solution before Q4 begins will be best prepared to engage & convert the ever-earlier holiday shoppers.

Granted, much of this is easier said than done, particularly for resource constrained smaller marketing teams. Nevertheless, even a singular day spent in creative analysis and reflection now — before every food & beverage becomes pumpkin spice flavored and before the early holiday shoppers have picked out wrapping paper — could yield meaningful lift across campaign KPIs.

So, before the seasons change, perhaps it’s time to see how campaigns should.

How early are you launching your holiday campaigns this year? If your promotions are evergreen, how are you refreshing your creatives to appeal to shifting consumer concerns?

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