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9 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid Before the Holidays

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The holidays can be a difficult time for everyone with all the shopping, traveling, and preparations. This is also true for business owners and their employees, who may tend to get a little distracted at this time of year. But with so many people spending money, it could impact your financial growth to let your marketing efforts slacken in this important season.

A little common sense can get you closer to the kind of results you’re looking for. Here are some holiday marketing mistakes you should try to avoid.

1. A Flood of Emails

Holiday shoppers are looking for bargains and emailing customers can be a great way to trigger purchases. But that doesn’t mean you should aggressively blow up your email marketing. Many companies take this short-sighted approach.

But even during ordinary times, 281 billion emails are sent every day. A sharp increase in unsolicited emails during the holidays can become invasive and annoying. Swamped inboxes could cause even loyal customers to start unsubscribing from you if you come across as a spammer.

2. Failure To Track Campaign Results

Some marketers seem to feel that the holiday season is a kind of spontaneous consumer frenzy that doesn’t apply to normal sales. It may also be assumed that most people are shopping for others, not themselves. Companies don’t analyze campaign results the way they do the rest of the year.

This is assuming that shoppers aren’t following any normal behaviors. But the data you gain can still tell you a great deal about where your customers are found and what they like or don’t like.

3. Being Thrifty With Your Holiday Greetings

Many companies take the trouble to send holiday greetings to their past customers as a reminder and a gesture of good will. But cheaping out with generic mailings or worse, mass emails, only shows how little you really care.

Don’t overlook the fact that growing your customer base is always a priority. Keeping customers long-term is about building relationships. Take the time to make these greetings personalized and memorable; empty gestures are simply not good enough.

4. Making Holiday Marketing Complicated

Even experienced marketers can get so caught up in the holiday experience that they blanket their advertising with kitschy holiday trappings. This could be lavish graphics, cheery holiday slogans, or gimmicks like online shopping wish-lists. Over-saturation can become tedious or frustrating.

Keeping things simple and to-the-point is always good advice. If you are ramping up for the holidays, remember that good taste and clarity of message works best.

5. Waiting Too Long

Ramping up your marketing machine for the busy season takes organization and planning. Don’t put it off until after the holiday blitz has already started. This increases the chances of things getting hectic, or missing out on early shoppers.

Start brainstorming and coordinating your sales and marketing teams as early as September. If you aren’t ready, you’re inevitably going to miss opportunities.

6. Not Having a Digital Strategy

To make the most of the holidays, your marketing has to be comprehensive and hopefully cohesive in its message. Think about using social media, blogs, and other platforms to enhance your campaign. Ask for feedback wherever possible.

Also, make sure your landing pages are optimized. You might want to think about finding someone to create custom software so you can do this flexibly and efficiently as your campaigns change.

7. Revisiting the Same Campaign Each Year

Just because the holidays only take place a couple months out of the year doesn’t mean that people will forget. Rolling out the same materials and the same approach year after year may seem safe, affordable, and convenient.

But it does get stale and stagnant. It’s your long-term customers who’ll notice most. For the sake of your sales numbers and your brand, be as innovative as possible every year.

8. Forgetting the Competition

Working all this activity into a timely holiday strategy can seem like a big undertaking. But don’t forget that you have competitors out there working every bit as hard or harder. They are targeting your customers.

It’s just as crucial during the holidays as at any other time to make note of what these competitors are doing well or badly. Through observation you can learn at their expense rather than your own.

9. Letting Things Get Disorganized

Even great new ideas and big plans can go astray if everyone isn’t aware of their responsibilities and focused on the same goals. All team members should understand your processes and expectations. Marketing can be a large expense that’s only justified with strong returns.

Create a workflow that everyone can refer to showing timelines, short-term goals, and progress checks. Any time and effort wasted in planning will be time and money lost in execution.


The holiday season can be just as challenging as it is exciting for marketers. Like all business functions, the point is maximizing returns while minimizing effort. Avoiding these mistakes will help your company make the most of what should be the happiest time of year!

Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today's business and marketing. When she’s not being all serious and busy, she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, and delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Tweet her @JazzyWilliams88.

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