If you groan when you see Halloween candy for sale before Labor Day, you won’t like what I have to say. To borrow a line from Game of Thrones, Winter is Coming. Quickly.
Meredith publishing, home to the venerable Better Homes & Gardens, recently released their predictions for the 2020 holiday season and here is the most important: Everything about the holiday season is going to start earlier this year, even as soon as right after Labor Day. There’s also going to be an emphasis on early deals, promotions, and providing value as one of the new drivers of early-on shopping.
But what’s also looming over everything is this–the holidays are going to be different this year. What remains to be seen is exactly how. It could mean large gatherings are pared down, and the day before Thanksgiving is no longer the busiest flying day of the year. It may give a boost to the newish Friendsgiving holiday celebration. It just might usher in tidings of joy because you no longer have to sit at the kids’ table at Aunt Marge’s. Lots of things can happen. The good news is you have the opportunity to shape those holiday celebrations. So hop out of the pool, towel off and get your mind in gear for this Hallo-Thanks-Mas season.
We can summarize what we’ve learned so far in three words: different, sooner, deals. That should be your mantra as you develop marketing plans for late Q3 and Q4. How do your products or services fit with an alternate holiday celebration? How soon can you get them to market after Labor Day? What value can you provide consumers looking to buy early?
“People are racing to get to peace and hope.”
I recently overheard a colleague discussing the flurry of online commentary about Christmas saying, “People are racing to get to peace and hope.” She’s right. Americans are looking to anything positive and hopeful. The pandemic may change the holiday setting and some of its rituals, but it can’t cancel them. And because some of the ritualistic events of the holiday season are canceled (sniff, sniff, Rose Bowl Parade), expect people to look for new and alternative ways to celebrate.
Build a new story and find a solution for customers
What new holiday celebrations can be built around your products? What new traditions can families create? How can your company’s products and services help consumers figure out this upcoming holiday season?
According to trends research service WGSN, “decision exhaustion” is at an all-time high and the biggest driver of someone recommending or purchasing a product is decision simplicity. Let me say that again – DECISION SIMPLICITY. It’s not enough to have a great website. Yes, I know you have all your products on your website, all clearly labeled with great photography. Yes, I know you have an easy checkout process. But Ms. Consumer wants more. She wants you to figure it out for her. For heaven’s sake, she’s already holding down a full-time job while simultaneously teaching long division, metaphors and the U.S. Constitution to her 10-year-old twins. Give her a break.
How can you package your products or services to meet consumer needs in the ‘new normal’ holiday season?
Instead of marketing your products by category, why not promote them by solution?
“The Complete Thanksgiving Table,” “Activities that Engage Across the Miles” and “Holiday Gifts to Ship and Share” are topics that come to mind. Or if it fits your style, “Gifts Your Mother-in-law Won’t Hate.” You’ll get points for levity. Making someone smile goes a long way these days.
So, the business is out there. Consumers are ready and willing to buy. But they need your help to create a path and make sense of this unprecedented season. Teach them how to party. Because make no mistake, a celebration is what we all need.
Mary Leigh Howell is an independent PR consultant to the home, garden and interiors industry with more than 20 years of experience helping brands and designers tell their story. www.MaryLeighHowell.com.