Frontline Marketing

Executives Tell Us Which Holiday Marketing Trends To Watch

presents under tree

By | December 1, 2017 |

From our most recent holiday marketing poll, we’ve found that for executive marketers, holiday season is all about capitalizing on gift-giving consumers. Here’s what else they had to say:


We saw an increase from 37 to 51 billion-dollar days last holiday season over a 60-day period in the US. One trend is that mobile is not going away. We’ve historically seen individual days eclipse traffic on mobile over desktop. We’ll see that happen on a regular basis, day-over-day, week-over-week, where desktop traffic will be less than all of mobile traffic—and not just on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Optimizing the mobile space is going to be extremely important. If you don’t have a good mobile strategy, you’re going to have a really hard holiday season.

Another trend we’re seeing in advertising is an increase in visits coming from paid search versus natural. While social is a minority of the traffic, it’s actually the lowest-referred traffic. Over the last two years, there’s been a 100-percent increase in that traffic. It’s growing faster than any other channel. Social is something to keep an eye on. There’s an interesting play going on between paid, natural and display. Display advertising, along with paid search, is seeing a bit of an uptick, and we see some very good performance in the fourth quarter around leveraging retargeting programs. Retargeting and the ability to retarget during the holidays will be very important.

Michael Klein, director of industry strategy for retail, travel and consumer packaged goods at Adobe


As a marketer, the holidays are always a very busy and cluttered time to be focused on. From my perspective, anytime I’ve done anything focused on the holiday season, I rely on being able to go back to the communication that I already started with consumers earlier on in the year. People are obviously much more in the purchasing headspace around the holidays.

It’s always a time for showcasing key product stories, and tell stories around new products coming out—but in a way that remains consistent with the communication and messaging that consumers have become accustomed to seeing. Consistency and ongoing communication are really important, especially if you don’t have the ability to outspend some of the heavy hitters in that  time.

Sarah Bishop, vice president of marketing for Asics


I’m looking forward to seeing the influence of social impact and social good at the end of the year for holiday marketing. I want to see more cause marketing integrated into the mix.

Nathan Tan, associate director of brand partnerships and experiences for Cadillac


We’re predicting a 4-to-5 percent lift in sales for most retailers this holiday season. I think the market is doing quite well. From an overall economic perspective, consumers have money to spend. As the middle class starts to move in different directions, we’re seeing what we call the ‘great bifurcation.’ US retail consumers are sitting right in the middle class—right where most retail brands are. But if you start thinking about where the growth is happening, it’s happening in the lower end. Look at retailers that are serving lower-end and high-end customers. We’re seeing that shift start to happen, and I think that’s going to continue to happen this holiday season.

Retailers will continue to build marketing strategies to attract consumers both to a higher and lower end. Bargain shoppers and the middle class are going to continue to feel the squeeze this holiday season. From a marketing perspective, I think social commerce is going continue to play a big role. Social commerce hasn’t experienced much of a take-off in the past, but it should see a little bit of a lift this year. The regular forms we’re seeing with media is being more integrated with retail. It’s going to see a lot more of a pick-up this holiday season.

Lokesh Ohri, principal at Deloitte emphasizing in omnichannel retail, digital and supply chain strategy



There’s such a focus on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but now that has really expanded. The digital indexes and data that we were looking at previously around those parameters have expanded and become a larger phenomenon. Also, there are a lot of companies that do ‘purchase online, pick up in store.’ It has a big influence at the end of the season, especially for e-commerce sales. Brands sometimes have issues with delivering on that, so there can’t be a misstep over the holiday season.

Drew Burns, principal product marketing manager at Adobe


As a marketer for a premium brand, I actually hate Black Friday and the shopping holiday week after it. It’s slowly melting into one long season. We have a feeling that the hype and wait being created for these magic days for aggressive discounting will start easing off. In the next five years, there will be a generational shift with younger consumers and their buying habits.

Stefanie Reichert, Sennheiser’s director of American trade marketing


You’ll be seeing a big paid push from the premium segments, and we’ll be there touting that message, too. For premium and luxury car manufactures, Q4 is by far the best-selling season, and the year-end holiday marketing and messaging reflects that.

Katie Inderelst, head of Alfa Romeo marketing and communications


Since 1999, we’ve resonated with consumers with our ‘December to Remember’ campaign. The name, the bows, the jingle—it’s all been iconic. We started our marketing the earliest we’ve ever have before this year on Nov. 2—we normally had started mid-November. We finally decided to try it and started at a low-level. We’re going with a big paid push.

But holiday marketing will not begin before Halloween. November and December are huge sales months, so you have to be a part of the conversation. There’s a slight twist on how we represent ourselves during the holidays that I hope feels more appropriate for the season. When the US was coming out of the recession, we changed our messaging, and since, a Lexus vehicle is no longer given as a gift, but it’s celebrated as a family purchase.

Brian Bolain, corporate manager for Lexus product marketing and marketing communications


[Snap is looking at] all of the ways that a user can express themselves, and ways that marketers can join in that ability. Is it AR? Is it filters? Is it content? With all of those things combined, I think this holiday you’re going to see more brands take more chances with their creative and content to have more fun.

Marni Schapiro, director of sales at Snap