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2021 Digital Marketing Holiday Guide

Should You Go All In For BFCM Marketing? 

The holiday season is among us once again however, this year it doesn’t feel like there is a rush. 


Our lifestyles have changed. The ripple effect of the pandemic has resulted in people re-prioritizing what truly matters from the great resignation to changing consumer purchasing habits. From materialistic items to long-term investments that increase their quality of life. 

Don’t get me wrong, Black Friday and Cyber Monday and holiday shopping, in general, is still important because people will use this time to buy gifts. After all, it is the season of giving.

Quick lay of the land: 

  • 57% are planning to spend their holiday budgets before Black Friday (Tinuiti 2021 Holiday Consumer Spending Trends)
  • 75% of consumers will purchase their gifts on e-commerce sites
  • 48% of consumers will use their mobile device to shop so make sure your mobile optimization is good to go!
  • Consumers are going to search engines, directly to sites and then finally to online ads. So this means your advertising budget won’t be as direct to sale as you assume but is focused towards building brand awareness and trust.
  • 88% of consumers consider online advertising helpful in finding products and promotions. Consumers are more receptive to online ads while they’re shopping. 
  • Price, Discount AND free shipping will smooth that purchasing experience. 

*Data according to (Integral Ad Science “Holiday Shopping Habits Unwrapped”)

Don’t forget, we also have a new generation of young professionals, Gen Z, and they’re definitely different from even their Millennial counterparts. 

  • 71% of Gen Z are buying for family members, with 46% picking something up for a friend and 27% treating a partner. 
  • They care about who they’re purchasing from. It’s not just about shopping local but 53% pledged support for at least one other socially or environmentally responsible retailer stance. (“Tinuiti 2021 Holiday Consumer Spending Trends”)
  • Sustainability and transparency of that information is key. 44% of Gen Zs list sustainability as a top priority, and 55% will be looking for sustainable gifts to buy this year. (“Tinuiti 2021 Holiday Consumer Spending Trends”).
  • Remember Gen Z and Millennials love to do their research in advance. So it’s not just about turning on the ads to promote the best deals but getting on their radar and connecting with their intention to do better. 

“Do I need to focus so heavily on BFCM?”

Given the shift of the consumer priorities where they’re focusing on big-ticket items during this time of year, consumers will do more research. So if you’re starting less than a month out in brand awareness ads, you may have missed the boat for this year. 

It’s also important to know where your industry lands to decide if it’s truly worth it to invest the time, energy, and resources to BFCM, known to be the most competitive time in the market. 

It’s about recognizing if you land as a potential hot gift item for example: 

  • Products like electronics, household items
  • Services like coffee subscriptions, spas and more

If you’re not a hot gifting item: 

Chances are, your high season is actually the beginning of the year so now is a good time to have a ramp to do something big in the new year. While you may not need to put all your eggs into the BFCM or holiday season, now is a great time to get on consumers’ radar while they’re out looking to spend money. 

Use this time to focus on building a pillar of your business that you are looking to grow in the long run like: 

  • Consider doing a strong brand awareness campaign during this time instead. While you may not get shoppers coming in the droves, this is the time where they are the most receptive to new brands. 
  • Newsletters: Consumers love to sign up to be mindful of upcoming deals and events
  • Influencers relations: If your high season is in Q1 then now would be the time to build this relationship because larger influencers usually book out partnerships in advance upwards to 3 months so now would be the time to do that outreach

Use Q4 as a time to do a larger initiative that takes a lot of lift. Start off 2022 with a bang by giving yourself ramp to build a side of your business that may be lacking: 

  • Review your messaging
  • Update your website
  • Research a loyalty program or online community
    • Consider activating a creative outlet like Podcast, Live stream 

If you are a hot gifting item:

Let’s have a conversation on what the above trends mean to make sure you’re set up for success. Things to consider:

  • Know where you land on the pecking order of gift giving. Are you a highly sought after item or are you that single large luxury purchase? When you know where you land you can adjust your marketing projections effectively.
  • Based on your marketing projections, you can then decide your advertising budget. Assessing if your budget is capable of doing a BFCM is key. Remember the general rule that a 10k monthly budget is the pay to play in ads. So if you don’t have that type of money to throw around,  let’s look towards another marketing channel to invest in like influencer relations.
  • How compelling is your offer? Knowing where you are in the pecking order will also get a point of view of how much you should give away. 
    • Luxury? Maybe instead of a steep discount or any type of discount consider giving away free accessories that invite them to purchase more
    • Gamify the offer. If you have many SKUs consider doing a spend X get X percent off to invite people to spend more in their total order. 
  • Leverage your reviews and UGC, that is the visual representation of word of mouth and the best way to get people to trust you because they’re hearing it from another person. 
    • Micro influencers from 1k+ are perfect for this because while they’re an influencer, they’re coming across as an customer because they have an actively engaged audience and you get a polished review
  • Double check that heat map and tweak and buttons of questions that will ease the journey to purchase and know your conversion rate on the website. If your conversion rate is way below industry standards then it may not be the time to do the big advertising spend. 
  • Make sure your email is on point and I mean not just that email newsletter strategy but your flows like abandon cart AND welcome emails because people will sign up for that extra 10% off. 

Remember BFCM is just the start of the holiday season

The holiday shopping season is a marathon beyond this singular weekend. Many people do have last-minute purchases. Ways that you can continue the momentum

  • What are you offering afterwards to make it compelling for someone to invite their friends like a referral discount?
  • Can you get on the blog lists from influencers so you can be a part of that last minute purchase, at that point, you don’t even need to offer a discount. 
  • How are you creatively showing up? Stay top of mind by showing how people can use your product during the winter season or future seasons. 
  • If you have questions on a step by step guidelines, check out my last year’s blog 

May the odds be forever in your favor my friends!

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