As the year starts to wrap up and advertisers are eager to begin their last push in reaching their annual ROI goals, a perfectly crafted 2015 holiday ad campaign is of the utmost importance. But enthusiasm should just be one element of many in your plan to bring cheer and sales this year. Rushing into the seasons with a premature or poorly planned holiday marketing initiative will and may even leave you in a bad position for when the first quarter of 2016 rolls around.
For this reason, we recommend a quick read on the current market to allow some insight into what consumers will expect and perhaps specifically seek out. Any advertiser that otherwise ignores these preferences or predictions may end up sour after the holidays and short on their annual goal sales goal.
So before launching your 2015 holiday ad campaigns, here’s the 411:
Less TV commercial tears – but less cheer?
Yes, doubt us not when we say TV sales are remaining steady all the way till the end of 2015 with little expected rise for 2015.  Hallmark for example claims while they don’t plan to spend less in advertising overall this year, they will not spend any ad dollars on holiday TV ads. Committing to YouTube ad campaigns and Snapchat partnerships, Hallmark states that pricey television ads are just not worth the cost in comparison to digital advertising that brings higher ROIs.  With the truth being told from years of market trends leading up to the current 2015 data, its no wonder 2016 digital adverting spending and sale predictions are higher than television’s.  As eMarketer points out, particularly in emerging and developing markets consumers are surfing the web exclusively on their mobile devices. For example, the number of tablet users worldwide, which grows slowly in comparison to smartphone users, is expected to reach 1 billion in 2015. No surprise further, with mobile ad spending on the rise in conjunction with these data finds, new initiatives of improving user experience in response to digital advertising is also coming to the forefront.  Facebook is reacting with new video ad campaigns.  YouTube is reacting with video ads in SERP.
Overall as this year comes to an end and as the next comes into thought, more and more advertisers are addressing the shift of consumer preferences from television to online and even more specifically, mobile.
But what does this mean for advertisers this 2015 holiday season?
It means its time to get on board.
There’s nothing quite like a touchy holiday commercial from Hallmark to set the mood during the seasons. However, witnessing the focus shift of consumers to digital must be seen for what its worth. Digital adverting is a rising breed of competition as more business are getting on board with investing in their digital teams. Thus, your 2015 holiday ad campaigns should show the same enthusiasm for digital.
Brand it like its hot – or don’t brand at all
Hate to beat the cup to death, but Starbucks’ 2015 holiday cup campaign definitely proves the importance of brand image, specifically during the seasons. In response to a rather plain red cup, which contrasts greatly form their past season’s look, there has been lot of negative backlash. (And a lot of free PR as well but who’s judging). Situations as such should remind all advertisers that when attempting to establish a brand image specifically for a season, quarter, holiday, or market group it’s very important to plan ahead.
According to PwC’s 2015 research study, the transaction is not as important as the interaction. Eager to engage, follow, like, share, and feel all the fuzzy feelings one expects during the holidays, consumers seem to follow what they know. In fact, an overwhelmingly 86 percent of consumers are expected to only shop brands they trust as visionary, innovative, and risk taking leaders.  Brands in wake of this fact are taking their image very seriously. Take Walmart for example. They’re launching an army of Santa’s as their 2015 advertising push. 
Why pay attention to brand marketing?
The pressure to test and research brand marketing ideas before rolling out your definitive 2015 holiday ad campaign is hot. Your consumer group could rally in praise or dig your grave…
By the way, we believe Starbucks will recover.
Coupon clipping – shares no shame
CNBC attests that this holiday season, 67 percent of shoppers with an annual income of less than $50,000 claim they plan to spend the same or less than they did in 2014.  Clearly, it will take the heart, creativity, and investment of retailers and advertisers to respond with highly incentive opportunities for customers to buy. Those retailers that cater to low-income consumers and likewise, those that differentiate their brands and store experience for the more financially conscience will win big favor. Big name brands are already starting to address this need to spend less as Target has recently stated they will expand their price match guarantee promotion for the holidays  and Walmart has begun its’ layaway program earlier. 
Again referring to PwC’s survey, there is definite divide between shoppers based on income. After polling more than 2,000 consumers and 230 retailers and manufacturers, the figure that PwC predicts to be the average total 2015 holiday spending sum is $1,018. 
Where is the gap that ad campaigns need to address?
It’s the split between the predicted $1,331 that will be spent by consumers who earn a minimum of $50000 and the predicted $681 output in spending by those consumers who earn less. What’s more is that according to CNBC and PwC, millennials will the biggest spenders. 
With all that said,
Your 2015 holiday ad campaign plan of attack should include…
Firstly, assess your analytics and audience habits. Getting back to the basics of your business, product, mission statement, company goals, and specific target market needs is vital to beginning your holiday initiates. Doing so will help give you some perspective as you try to align your campaigns with holiday cheer for both your audience and your business. Particularly when targeting hispanics and millenials, it would be a miss to not address their hispanic media consumption habits.
Secondly, invest in your digital advertising team. Yes, TV sales are down but were you really going to out a commercial for 2015 anyways? Probably not! (If you were then we appreciate your ‘awesomeness’). So then the evidence that 2015 digital advertising campaigns can expect higher ROIs than television advertising should be a beam of hope for you. What it means for your team is that you don’t have to make it rain in getting air time like the big brands – you just have to stick to digital for now. You can simply and more wisely invest in more digital campaigns.
Next, let’s not forget the importance of other marketing platforms. Taking care in other mediums such as print advertising, social media marketing, email marketing, and more will help you stick out this season. After all, consumers and especially millennials want to purchase and support what brands they trust.