Christmas – it’s never too early… or too late!

Posted 17 Wed Nov

Even now, Christmas-focused brands are starting to look ahead to Christmas next year – this year’s Christmas has been and gone for them already, so they’re looking at formulating plans for Christmas 2022. This presents field-marketing companies, like Instore, with opportunities for engagement.

When should you start planning your Christmas Field Marketing campaigns?

Generally, field-marketing companies, start looking at engagement with their clients for Christmas around the summer time… or early September at the very latest. But, some people start earlier because a lot of Christmas stock actually comes into stores as soon as the BBQ stock heads out in the final week of August.  Stores have their Christmas stock heading in when it’s still 30 degrees outside!

Christmas Supply Chain

The first big focus in stores is around set up for Christmas because the supply chain can be slow, which has been a particular issue this year, of course.  Also, some stores aren’t great at implementing Christmas in the right way at the right time. This, therefore, presents the opportunity for field marketing companies to get involved and engage at this point.

The Timeline

Now, when you head into October/November time, you might pick up a few stragglers who haven’t sorted out their Christmas set up just yet, but mainly the opportunity for continued Christmas engagement comes in helping support driving through Christmas stock into the store.  In September, the drive usually centres around promoting Christmas confectionary. But by late autumn, the focus shifts to promoting alcohol, which is where a lot more brands need a bit of extra help.

As we head even nearer to Christmas, the next field marketing opportunity comes when looking at stores’ Christmas exit plans. Traditionally, field-marketing companies aren’t allowed into supermarkets in the week in the run up to Christmas and are told to leave the in-house team to it. But, you know what, I say go in and give them a hand with whatever they’re doing in store because it helps build relationships for next year. Obviously, by Christmas Eve, everything starts to get reduced and by Boxing Day everything is down to 25% off. Depending on how successful the Christmas period has been, the next stage – the Christmas exit period – can be either very straightforward or very painful for stores.

Christmas Exit Strategies

Of course, there is a big question mark about whether brands should invest in Christmas exit strategies because it doesn’t make a lot of sense for them to be spending much on this activity. Instead, it’s around making sure that Christmas has a clean break, and there is merchandising and potential field marketing need to help them achieve this successfully, in order to prepare for the New Year, New You activity. If stores focus too heavily on the Christmas exit, it can impact on the opportunity presented by the New Year, New You focus.

Let’s just say, it’s never too late to look at putting a tactical merchandising force on the road for Christmas.

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