Clients always ask us whether they should continue B2B demand gen programmes through the holidays, the key ones being the summer holidays in July and August and Christmas. Our answer to this is always yes but……. There are a number of pragmatic things to consider and ensure continued success of your campaigns, here they are (in no particular order).
- We are not all on holiday - recognition that the majority of your target market is not on holiday for the whole holiday period and that the majority of time most of us are still working (most of us still only have 4-5 weeks holiday per year and with increasing mobility few of us stop working completely, even when we are on leave).
- Research & planning - many B2B prospects use the quieter holiday periods for doing research and to work on future strategy and plans
- A fresh start - many people see January and September as the start of a new period and a fresh start at work and the see an opportunity to do things differently, better, to kick off new programmes, to renew drives to measure results, review budgets, etc so consider these things carefully when planning your campaigns
- External events - the closer you get to major holidays the harder it is to run a successful external event, in the UK particularly. If you are planning to run any external event in August or after the middle of December it can be a struggle to achieve your target numbers, unless your event is so compelling. It might be better to wait until September or January.
- Know your holiday dates - different countries recognise different holidays so if you are marketing across multiple countries get an understanding of the holiday dates for each and plan accordingly e.g in the US Thanksgiving is a bigger holiday than Christmas, France and Spain tend to shut down for August. Know school holiday dates for every country because this has a huge bearing on when many (but not all) of your prospects are likely to be working or not.
- Less is more - most prospects dread coming in after a few days out of the office to large volumes of emails so if you are running a campaign it needs to stand out , be totally relevant and be personalised more than ever or it will be binned without a glance.
- Test new channels - many prospects have more time on their hands to look at other channels whilst they are on holiday so may spend more time with Twitter, Linked in and Facebook etc so bare this in mind for campaign planning. This could be a good opportunity to test new strategies e.g. retargetting or PPC.
- Work on your SEO - before the holidays start make sure your Search Engine Optimisation is working as well as it can be on all the search terms that are relevant and important, if your prospects are doing research they will be using a search engine.
- As always consistency is key - ensure consistency across all your chosen channels to market, you want your prospects to see a good quality consistent brand message whatever channel they choose.
- Entertain don't bore - ensure your holiday campaigns are entertaining and fun to get the best results.
The most important thing with running B2B lead generation campaigns over a holiday period is to put yourself in the shoes of your target prospects and think what they would appreciate receiving and when. As ever, a well thought out and targeted campaign will pay dividends in generating in bound response whilst a poorly constructed campaign will flounder.
By Emma Muir, managing director of CMO Centre