For many, the holiday season is time for eggnog, cookies, and cheer. However, for marketers, the holiday season is more than that: it’s prime time. 

The end of the year is a critical time for brands because consumers are highly active. In fact, the average consumer spends $1,226 on gifts during the holidays, and sales during this time make up 30% of annual retail revenue. Cloudways predicts that online shoppers may spend up to $1 trillion in the US and $2 billion in the UK at the end of 2019.

With so many holidays and customers eager to spend money, a brand’s marketing campaign can make all the difference in the annual revenue for that year. However, with so many brands vying for customer attention, it is more crucial than ever to come up with creative ways to capture market attention.

It’s time for your team to put on their creative thinking caps and get serious about brainstorming some holiday marketing ideas. Here are a few tips to help your team get in the zone and take full advantage of this year’s holiday season. 

1. Identify clear goals 

Before you even start brainstorming campaign ideas, you have to make sure everyone knows the end goal. Start your brainstorming session by explaining what you are trying to accomplish. Consider what products or services you want to market, what you want to achieve with your campaign, and what audiences you want to target.

With these basic parameters in mind, you can then get creative about how to make that happen. 

2. Do your research

Successful marketing campaigns aren’t simply the result of a genius idea; they require research. A great starting point for your research is to revisit your content from last year’s holiday season. 

What worked well? What didn’t? Is there anything that you can update and use again? 

Another approach is to review the content your team produced during the year and incorporate popular content with a holiday twist. 

In addition to looking at data from your own marketing channels, research broader trends from past holiday seasons. Identifying which keywords and channels were the most successful in recent years can make a huge difference in the success of your campaign this year. 

For example, based on 2018 holiday data, cell phones were the source of 3x as much spending as tablets or other digital devices. So when brainstorming ideas, you could focus on content that will work well on mobile devices. 

3. Be open-minded

The most important aspect of any successful brainstorming session is a productive, creative, and safe environment to exchange ideas. 

Sometimes, the best ideas are the ones that come out of left field. However, you may miss out on those gems if you don’t create the right open-minded environment. People often censor their wildest ideas, or others dismiss them, if they don’t feel comfortable.

To create a safe space where people can share all of their ideas, regardless of how wacky they may seem, make sure to set clear guidelines for communication and feedback with your team. Making it a point that all ideas will be considered will allow people to say whatever comes to their mind, and put all kinds of ideas on the table to discuss.

4. Eliminate distractions

Being creative requires both focus and a productive mindset. To have the mental space to produce ideas, you have to give your brain a break from reacting to distractions such as emails, messages, alerts, and calendar reminders. 

When you want to get creative, bring your team together and put your phones and other devices away so you can focus exclusively on the task at hand. Designate a solid amount of time to brainstorm so you have enough time to get your creative juices flowing, but also have a clear stopping point so you can move on to the next steps.

5. Be original

What do you think of when you think of holiday advertising? 

You probably imagine images such as Thanksgiving meals, snowy scenes, Santa Claus stories, decorated trees and gifts, and family time. These are traditional associations with the time of year and are all clichéd themes and approaches. If you give consumers what they expect, your content will fade into the background. 

Try incorporating traditional themes but also use irony, humor,  or emotion. Think about how you could surprise your audience. Your content will get people’s attention by being different.

6. Be inclusive

Another tactic that will help your team come up with unique ideas and widen your reach is to capitalize on multiple holidays throughout the season. For example, the dominant focus in December tends to be on Christmas, and as a result, consumers are inundated with Christmas-related imagery. However, there are many other events, holidays, and traditions that you can incorporate into your campaigns. 

Do some research and then brainstorm how you can work other themes and images into your campaigns and see how your consumer base expands. 

7. Maintain your voice 

When working with seasonally-specific themes, it can be easy to get caught up in the festive mood. However, When you incorporate images or messages into your content that don’t match your brand’s voice you risk confusing your customers.

After your team creates content, take a step back and look at it with fresh eyes to make sure the tone and style are consistent. 

8. Make a plan

After a successful brainstorming session, the work isn’t over. Translate those awesome ideas into reality by leaving the session with a clear plan. Assign tasks and determine priorities. Set deadlines and plan feedback sessions. Make sure everyone is on the same page and knows the next steps, and then send your team out to get to work on creating killer holiday content. 

Stakes are high in the holiday season, and it can feel hectic and competitive. Regardless of whether your holiday campaigns are in full swing, or you’re just getting started, take time with your team to do some creative thinking for your holiday campaigns and finish the year strong.