The Naughty & Nice of Last-Minute Holiday Marketing


We just finished Thanksgiving, Christmas ads are on the TV, and displays are in the stores. Shipping deadlines will be here before you know it. But you still have time to make an impact this season.

The recently published McKinsey Consumer Pulse Survey says that 55 percent of US respondents are excited about holiday shopping, and most people have the savings to spend. So here are some final finishing touchup tips for your promotions this holiday season.


While we may spend our money on different things, gift-giving crosses all generations, income levels, and lifestyles. But as you’ve seen from our other posts, different ages apply different rules to their spending when purchasing something for others and it often isn’t heavily affected by income. If you’re wondering who spends the most, you may be surprised to see that Millennials lead generations with the amount they’re willing to pay for gifts. The learning is not to assume that income bracket, age, and what someone will spend on a gift correlate.


Frequent readers are familiar with my rant that your LIST is the essential factor in any campaign, and this is true. But I will spare you from my segmentation lecture to discuss the critical element of TIMING for holiday campaigns. Of note:

  • Don’t send during peak travel times. Huffington Post using TSA data, estimates our post-COVID urge to travel will spill into our holiday plans, making days leading up to and after holidays a travel day for many.
  • Last year, Google reported searches on Black Friday peaked between 8 am – 12 pm and 4 pm – 7 pm. Online sales also peaked around 9 am. Keep these in mind when planning your email and social media post timing.
  • Make sure your shipping deadlines are clear and you send emails with enough time for customers to react. Take a moment and think through your logistics to avoid customer service issues – your customers and employees, thank you.
  • Calendar your messages and make sure you don’t overshadow the Wine Club. Typically they already get discounts and may even be getting a Wine Club shipment in November or December. Make sure your offers are precise if they’re on top of their deals. And be careful about offering better discounts to non-club members than your Club – remember they’re your most loyal customers and should get the best offers. Above all, be careful about the number of offers – don’t bleed your key customers dry.
  • Don’t worry if you missed Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Research by Morning Consult suggests that only 47% of holiday shoppers said they were planning on getting their shopping done at Black Friday, and that same study indicated that up to 23% of us don’t start until December – so get those messages out there.


Do you have your website, cart, and emails optimized for mobile and tablet? If not, you’re missing out on crucial sales. A recent Forbes article reported that nearly two-thirds of consumers plan to use their mobile phone or tablet to shop this season. The survey also showed that significant consumers are receptive to mobile ads, particularly rewarded ads on gaming sites. And that’s on top of the 65% of us who use a phone in-store to research prices or reviews.

And while we’re shopping on mobile, think through the eCommerce delivery process. Simply providing some conveniences like pick up for local orders and order tracking for deliveries may sway customers toward your favor, as we can see from these Price Waterhouse Coopers charts.


Think through any discounts. Almost 75% of consumers — including 87% of boomers — are braced for higher prices this holiday season; they are actively bargain-hunting. But you don’t want to discount too heavily and hurt your brand or loyal consumers. Remember that many variables are available to you to entice buyers, including returns, user reviews, and delivery options.

So what to do? Here is where your goals and creativity come into play. Are you sending a club shipment out in December? An add-on offer to increase your AOV (Average Order Value) may work. Or, if you’re doing an email, provide upgraded shipping or unique gift ideas.

Take notice of last-minute gift shopping. After your shipping deadline and right before Christmas is a great time to sneak in an email about giving a Wine Club subscription as a gift.

So pour a glass of eggnog and get ready. If you still need to organize your holiday promotions, don’t panic. We are still sending some clients’ campaigns this week – there’s still time.

Susan DeMatei is the founder of WineGlass Marketing, a full-service direct marketing firm working within the wine industry in Napa, California. Now in its 10th year, the agency offers domestic and international clients assistance with strategy and execution. 

WineGlass Marketing is located in Napa, California at 707-927-3334 or

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