How to Cross Channels with Your 2014 Holiday Marketing

By all accounts we're all set for a bumper holiday season. As the winter weather draws in and the seasonal advertising campaigns heat up, businesses big and small are looking for that one right route to get their marketing message out to consumers and above those of their competitors.

But even with hundreds of different digital avenues at our disposal, marketers and ad agencies must remember that a mix of old and new is needed to make the most of any holiday campaign. Tried and trusted channels still have a crucial role to play, and it's no surprise that many still dominate the day in terms of advertising dollars.

While digital ad spending continues to rise, as a proportion of all media spending it still only accounts for around one-quarter of total advertising spend. As quickly as online media is growing, in the end it means that a mix of the emerging and the experimental is the best bet for marketing departments trying to get the best bang for their buck.

[caption id="attachment_1992" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Holiday decorations NYC shopping Mix tradition with online testing for your 2014 holiday marketing.
(Image Credit: Glyn Lowe)[/caption]

Spend Wisely, Not Widely

As true at the grassroots level of business as it is all the way up to the top, tried and trusted mainstream methods remain an important element of any marketing campaign. Every day we see examples of companies implementing smart marketing in the form of billboard advertising, direct mail campaigns, integrating great phone numbers for lead generation and reaching their customers through local television.

On the high end of the spectrum, globally recognized brands spend millions of dollars to fuel their market leading positions. At the other end, where most of the rest of us work, small and medium-sized businesses are vying for brand awareness on another level entirely. It's often local and always limited in how far budgets will stretch to reach the right people.

Online marketing is again attractive as the hyped and hot new channel,  but the same challenges exist. A steep learning curve, the need for experimentation, and a new set of rules that any small business owner or marketing manager must learn (and confirm) before placing all the business eggs in the digital basket. In fact, as we've often said, a blended marketing mix with versatile marketing tools is the best way to ensure that your marketing budget remains effective across a range of channels. This is spreading your efforts widely without spending wildly to access all marketing channels.

The take-away for your holiday marketing campaign? Go with what you know, but bolster it with online experimentation.

Experiment with new channels and technology, especially for efficient, cost-effective routes to your customer. But this is a time to reach customers exactly at the right time. It’s hard to trump traditional channels in terms of sheer reach, visibility, and knowing how much bang you'll get for your marketing buck.

Skillfully blending the established with the alternative will help make the most of any marketing budget, reaching a baseline of your target audience via tried and trusted channels, while building on that reach with digital outreach and content marketing.

For the longer term, add new channels carefully and invest more in those that work best for your business. Never dismiss the power of established channels that are still standing the test of time, but make sure they integrate with your newer channels to get the best of both worlds!

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