‘Tis the season to be… optimistic! New year, new you, right? Well, the same can be said for your marketing campaigns.

With the shopping season behind us, brands tend to slow down. However, many brands forget Q1 is a great time to use the momentum gained from Q4. Consumers are coming off a holiday high with gift cards, holiday cash, or year-end bonuses and they’re looking for deals. If you read my last piece on the Pre-Holiday Check List for Search and Shopping, I noted that November and December were not the times to make any big changes to campaigns, but you can throw that out the window in January.

Of course, I’m not saying go crazy, but now that the pressure of hitting year-end goals is behind us, it’s time to take a breath and see what opportunities lie in Q1. The three things that could make for a stellar first quarter are to 1.) Focus on efficiency 2) Make new “holidays” 3) Experiment with messaging…. let’s dig in.

  1. Focus on efficiency: Obviously, efficiency is always important, but Q1 is the time to take advantage of it. As I’m sure you saw, marketing costs can soar in Q4 with every brand imaginable jostling for eyeballs. Well, what goes up, can come down! As competition scales back CPCs and CPMs should come down in January. This is a perfect time to keep your foot on the gas pedal and save while you do it. If you see costs come down 10-20% MoM reinvest those dollars into new channels to continue that long-term growth.
  2. Make new “holidays”: November and December are full of shopping holidays: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Green Monday, Boxing Day… I could go on and on! Why does that need to stop in January? Ok so people aren’t shopping for Christmas anymore, but the consumer-driven world still turns. People need things for themselves and others. Why not try and own a new holiday? Q1 is chock-full of days a brand could put their stamp on with promos, discounts, incentives, or gifts with purchase. Here are just a few: MLK Day, Valentine’s Day, The Super Bowl, the Winter Olympics, President’s Day, International Women’s Day, Chinese New Year, and St. Patrick’s Day. Find a holiday that fits your brand’s image and test it out!
  3. Experiment with messaging: I have to admit I’m not the best at writing ad copy (the character count always gets me!) but I do know ad copy is SUPER important to test. And Q1 is a great time to do just that – get creative with your messaging! Consider running copy with messaging around gifting, or self-improvement, or health. For example: “It’s always the right time to buy yourself a gift” or “Be Your Own Valentine This Year”… see I said I wasn’t great with copy, but you get the idea! Have some fun, mix it up and see what sticks.

For more information on how to start your media strategy off right this new year, reach out to our team of experts at [email protected].

– Andrea Duffy-Cabana, Search Strategist