Is it too early to talk about Christmas?

Yes, it’s November, but with only 45 days until the big day, marketers of all shapes and sizes are gearing up their Christmas marketing. (If you want to know how many hours and seconds you have to wait, you can find out here.)

This week we have the roundup of Christmas ads so far and what marketers can learn for their own strategy.

The not-actually-John-Lewis-John-Lewis-advert, and how to go viral

It has become festive tradition that each year the Christmas season is officially launched with the latest John Lewis advert.

This time last year we wrote about the 10 second teaser trailer used by John Lewis to spark interest in the launch of their ad, but this year speculation and anticipation was peaked a little early by student Nick Jablonka, as his A level coursework spoof began to go viral online.

The Guardian reported that the coursework ‘has attracted hundreds of thousands of fans after the video was posted on YouTube’.

Bearing all the recognisable features that have made John Lewis Christmas adverts so popular, The Drum reported earlier this week that Jablonka has landed himself a job with London PR agency W Communications as a result.

For marketers working hard to send their content viral, the importance of good timing and the ability to capture an emotional response seem like two clear lessons to take from the episode.

Shop Direct and starting early

If you thought 9th November was early, back in October Marketing Week spoke to Ian Edwards, Planner at Facebook, who argued that ‘almost half of mobile shoppers complete their Christmas shopping in November.’

Edwards pointed to Shop Direct (home to Very and Littlewoods) who boasted record Christmas sales last year, in large part due to their strategy of marketing early and being ahead of the crowd.

He suggested ‘Shop Direct used Facebook to slowly build anticipation days in advance up to 25 November and they smashed sales targets. If everybody just launches content at the same point in November, customers are not going to listen as it will be too noisy.’

By tailoring marketing to the specific audience you want to capture and being aware of competitor strategies, it will be easier to stand out from the crowd at this busy time of year.

(For more advice on timing your Christmas strategy, Marketing Week has some great tips here).

Putting the CRM into Christmas

While big TV ads and viral videos are undoubtably eye catching and attention grabbing, it has been argued that long term CRM strategies and actively engaging existing consumers is just as, if not more, important than a one off success.

Marketing Week recently spoke to Dimple Shergill, CRM manager at popular retailer Joules, argued that their ‘Nearest and Dearest’ flash sale ‘serves the purpose of expanding Joules’ customer database ahead of the busy festive shopping period.’

With welcome emails tailored to the category the consumer shopped in, creative designed to pitch the site as a destination for gifts and a multi-platform seasonal look, Joules is successfully engaging its consumer base with its message through personalisation and insight driven, targeted campaigns.

While it is easy to get sucked into the big Christmas frenzy, Joules’ strategy offers marketers an important reminder about the need for balance and focus amidst the chaos, and emphasises why whatever your strategy it should always fit well with the end goal of the brand.

Is it too early to talk about Christmas?