Article | Fabulous Women

Have you planned your Christmas marketing yet?

Posted on 29/10/2018

Christmas is an excellent marketing opportunity both for saying thank to our existing customers and for raising awareness amongst our prospects and influencers, but it needs some careful planning.

Understand your audience

What does Christmas mean to your audience? Do they celebrate, or could you offend them if your message is too focused on Christmas? It’s about choosing an approach that will be appreciated not alienating.

Another consideration is the 2010 Bribery Act which caused many companies to change their policies on what gifts and promotions are permitted. Before you commit your finances find out what your audience can and can’t accept. Typically people can accept gifts that are clearly marketing e.g. branded gift items though whether that would extend to an own label bottle of champagne is another question! They may also be able to accept invitations to events where you will be present as that can be seen as networking but couldn’t accept tickets to a show that you were not attending.


Sadly, you are now too late to get your items featured in the glossy magazines, the Christmas issues are usually put to bed in June/July. However, there may still be opportunities to be featured in online content so keep an eye out for #Journorequests on Twitter or approach online content creators who write for your ideal client. You may also be able to contribute to online discussions on social media or blogs but take care to contribute value not just a sales plug.

Think too about the timing of gifts and Christmas mailings. You may be able to promote some additional pre-Christmas sales if you send your mailing early enough. I’m not an advocate for discounting a product or service that your ideal customer is willing to pay full price for, but could you offer some additional value? For example, could you offer gift packaging on items bought in December? Or perhaps you can offer a discount on a further purchase in January or February.


These can be tricky, as mentioned above, so need some careful thought. Ideally you want something useful that will keep your business name in front of your ideal client all year long. That’s why diaries were popular for so many years but these days your customers may not use a paper diary. Can you make something bespoke? For example, a restaurant could give clients a small collection of favourite recipes or a soap maker could make their logo in soap.


If people have forgotten who you are signing an off the shelf card is hardly likely to make them remember. Should you commission a card design that jogs their memory or drives them to your website? I launched my first website in December and had a cartoonist friend design a card with Father Christmas walking on a telegraph wire with the slogan, ‘Online for Christmas’. It drove quite a lot of traffic to my website and helped family and friends understand more about my business and who I served. What could you do? Bespoke cards don’t need to be expensive. Our printers offer 100 A6 cards of our own designs from about £30

If you are going to send cards send them early enough to make an impact. For example, if you are sending to an office which closes for the holiday on December 21st, a card that arrives on the 20th is hardly likely to be noticed as many offices take down their Christmas decorations before they leave for the holiday.

Charity donations

I don’t want to discourage anyone donating to charity but do think what the aim of your expenditure is. If the donation is coming from your marketing budget then you will need to think how you are going to ensure some marketing payback for your donation. I’m not convinced that an email wishing your ideal client a Happy Christmas with a message ‘we are donating to charity instead of sending cards’ is going to have any impact.

Maybe you could have more impact by running some kind of charitable giving campaign that your prospects and clients join in with. Perhaps you could collect donations for a good cause and turn it into a PR opportunity for you and your clients; this is probably best in B2B context.

What’s your purpose?

As with any marketing it’s important to think what you want people to do as a result of your activity. It may be that you want to ensure that they transfer your contact details to their new diary. Perhaps you want them to place an order or to refer you to a friend. Or maybe you want them to opt in to hearing from you on a regular basis. When you are clear on your objective it will be easier to choose the right activities to achieve that objective.

Glenda Shawley is a marketing consultant and trainer helping people, mainly over 40 to start and grow a business on their own terms. She's the author of Founded after 40: how to start a business when you haven't got time to waste and Group Leader at Chiswick. Find out more at

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