The Holiday Marketing You May Have Forgotten

It’s September, which means for me and my friends that it’s time to break out the fall decorations. Granted, we all do it a little differently. One of my friends didn’t wait this long and got her plaid blankets and apple cider candles out on August 3rd. Another waited until the first week of September to buy some black glitter skulls to nestle among her garland of fall leaves. I began to switch over my wardrobe until my air conditioning broke and the harsh reality of summer broke me down. It may seem silly, but when radio stations start switching to Christmas music the day after Halloween, it feels like we need a jump start on autumn.

Of course, for many Christmas is their favorite holiday of the year, but holidays like Halloween are gaining popularity.  Millennials particularly love Halloween, with 65% saying they’ll “never be too old” for Halloween, and 40% beginning their shopping in September. As with the case of one of my friends, fall decorating and Halloween decorating are one in the same. For marketers, this is important to know, but it’s also important to remember that businesses only benefit when consumers put their money where their mouth is.

Spending-wise, while Halloween is gaining ground, it is still only ninth in the list of consumer spending events according to the NRF. This is likely thanks to the fact that Halloween isn’t a gift-giving holiday, as many of the ones above it are.

While Winter Holidays tend to take the cake in this category, there is one yearly “event” which has either come close or even beaten winter holidays in spending in recent years: back to school/college.

Chart from the National Retail Federation

Why Back to School Marketing Matters for Everyone

Is back to school on your list of holidays to advertise around? Because if it’s not, the numbers suggest it should be. While you may think this “holiday” is only applicable to audiences that have children or are in school themselves, it’s important to remember that September is the beginning of the year (at least figuratively) for many people. It’s not only sharpened pencils and carved pumpkins that people are interested in either. September is a great month to market toward people who are interested in:

  • Self improvement (educational, financial, beauty, etc.)
  • Home improvement (renovations, cleaning, décor, winterizing, etc.)
  • Food and fun (seasonal food, scents, activities, travel, etc.)

This is of course a very brief and broad list, but it’s important to remember that back to school season doesn’t just apply to parents of grade-schoolers. Starbucks, for example, has become a cultural staple with their pumpkin spice latte becoming available just before September. While coffee may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of back to school, it sure makes a lot of sense why it has been such a good marketing move for Starbucks.

How does your company benefit people during back to school season? How can you tap into the largest spending event of the year? It’s always good to consider your audience first, and then work with your marketing team to come up with creative campaigns that can combine what people love with what they need. And of course, if you missed back to school season this year, there’s still time for Halloween. Even though it’s ninth in the spending charts, it’s still #1 in millennials’ hearts.