I know, I know. I'm the blogging equivalent of walking into Tescos in the first week of September and spotting the crate of festive quality street tins.
I'll roll my eyes and moan, but I'll still probably put one in the trolly if its on offer...
Why? Because it pays to be prepared.
It's Tuesday the 2nd October 2018, and there are exactly 12 weeks to go until Christmas Day.
That's just 83 shopping days.
Now that might sound like a long way away, but when it comes to making the most of the festive period, you should already know - or at least have an idea of - what products you'll be pushing and campaigns you'll be running.
You can bet that the majority of big brands had their campaigns ready to go by January 31st this year, and that they've already scheduled and paid for their media plans, so you need to get your head in the game.
It's no secret that Q4 is the most important selling period of the year.
Competition will be fierce, ad costs will be high and huge brands will do their best to dominate the playing field.
You don't necessarily need to funnel loads of money into your campaigns to stand a chance though, you just need to be smart.
Work on your creatives, your copy, your targeting - and focus on making the key shopping dates in the festive period work for you.
Need a reminder of when these are?
We've got you covered with our Top 10 Festive Dates for your Business Calendar. We'll include the dates and details in this blog for your perusal, or you can download the poster below for reference!
Without further ado, here are the dates to be aware of for your festive advertising activity:
Halloween - October 31st 2018
'Tis the season to be spooky.
If you're in the business of selling costumes, candy or just about anything that contains Pumpkin Spice, this one's for you.
Either way, you can bring a little spirit into your organisation by decorating your office, donning your best Kreuger outfit and engaging your audience with Halloween-themed content and offers.
Singles Day - November 11th
This lesser known shopping day is actually the biggest in the world (thank you China) and its making its way over to western shores.
This year, it falls on a Sunday - the perfect day to entice your audience to sit back, relax, and most importantly treat themselves with a well deserved gift, from well, you of course.
It's a great day to take advantage of before it becomes too well known and targeted by all. Get those offer campaigns going and make your audience feel special.
Black Friday - November 23rd
This one hardly needs explanation.
If there was ever a time to try that store visits objective, it's now - if you have a physical store, of course. Generate a coupon offer that can be redeemed in person.
Online or offline, highlight your must have items for Christmas tailored to each of your target audiences in a carousel ad.
Don't forget to use your pixel to keep track of those clickers and cart abandoners, you'll want these on Monday...
Cyber Monday - November 26th
The Holy Grail for online sellers.
Crack out your most spectacular ads for this one, competition will be fierce.
Pay special attention to those custom audiences, including your best existing customers and those created off the back of Black Friday.
Don't forget to utilise lookalike audiences to drive more conversions!
The Countdown - December 1st
The first advent calendar windows are opened and suddenly Christmas is very much upon us, whether we want it or not.
Capitalise on the excitement, engage with your audience, decorate your tree and get them thinking about that all important question - just what will they be putting under theirs this year?
Don't forget, dedicated '12 days of Christmas' campaigns have been shown to work wonders for conversion rates!
Secret Santa - December 14th
Usually around the date of the Christmas party and the time most people will still be in the office before taking extended breaks, this is the audience to capture with your < £10 products.
Run a campaign showcasing your best 'For the Boss', 'For the office clown' etc. products to help make life easy for those last-minute buyers and awkward gift-givings.
Party Season - December 15th
Decorations, food, drink or clothes - there's lots you can market towards businesses and individuals preparing for their Christmas Do.
It's a big talking point online so don't forget to get involved in the conversation and share some party pictures from your company night out!
Keep it clean, people.
Smug Monday / Manic Monday - December 17th
One shopping week remains.
The organised types will be sitting back, relaxing and focusing on wrapping the presents they finished buying weeks ago.
For the less well prepared, this is where panic sets in. Get your creatives and targeting right and they'll feel like you're doing them a favour.
Postal Panic - December 18th
It's the last call for many nationwide postal services this week, such as Royal Mail, who have listed Thursday 20th December as their last posting date for First Class post.
Countdown to your last shipping dates and utilise the opportunity to upsell to priority postage.
Don't forget to keep an eye on weather forecasts though and update shipping expectations accordingly. Brrr!
MEGA MANIC MONDAY - December 24th
Oh yes. This year, Christmas Eve falls on a Monday.
For those of you with physical stores, milk this for all that it's worth.
Make clear your opening and closing times, perhaps even post updates on the amount of stock you have left for particular items or run a happy hour for last minute shoppers.
Make the most of this final shopping day before you get a well earned break.
Then get ready to do it all again on Boxing day, New Year and the January sales....
Go get 'em Santa.
Don't have enough time in the day? Need a hundred helping hand for your ad optimisation?
- Royal Mail - Christmas last posting dates 2018