The Final Countdown: A Five Point, Last Minute Checklist To Ensure Holiday Sales Success

I’ve found a location where evidence of Black Friday is nowhere to be found.

Coming to you from La Pointe, Wisconsin, I’m 25 miles from the nearest big box retailer. My wife and I went to the mainland town of Bayfield – population of under 500 – for breakfast this morning and noticed a remarkable void, considering the time of year: despite having a small but lively retail zone, no where did we see signs for Black Friday deals or door busters.

That’s noticeable because the rest of the country is counting down to some of the biggest shopping days of the year. Marketers have reached the point at which their campaigns are ready to launch. Their ads are approved and tested. Landing pages work flawlessly on all major browsers and devices. Marketing emails work just as well (especially on mobile). Measurement pixels are placed and ready to fire. Next comes the fun and anxiety of watching the results pour in.

Just because all this stuff is locked, though, doesn’t mean you’re done. Here is a five-point, last minute checklist for marketers to help deliver a successful holiday.

  1. 2015 v. 2014 reporting: Expect your manager or executive team to want to see immediate performance numbers no later than Monday, Nov. 30. To get out in front, prepare a report that shows weekly or even daily sales (or whatever objective you’re tracking) that compares your product, app, website or service to last year. I also like to make reports that show performance versus the top performing comp over the last several years. The more granular you can get, e.g. showing sales by retail channel, the better.
  2. Organic search check: When’s the last time you did a search for your own product, app or website? Especially now, you need to make sure that your search engine optimization is working and that your customers will be able to find your product.
  3. Bookmark review sites: You can’t afford to have a lousy product review kill holiday momentum. Bookmark websites that will include professional reviews and customer feedback to spot any quality problems early and to engage unhappy customers directly.
  4. E-commerce site checks: If you sell to the likes of Amazon, make sure your product page, including copy and imagery, are correct and rendering accurately just as soon as sales start. Just to be safe, try it from multiple browsers and include Chrome and Safari for smartphones.
  5. Store spot checks: If you sell into brick-and-mortar retail channels, you may have co-op marketing programs set to deploy in some store locations. When I funded retail marketing programs, I’d say that between one third and one half of all the displays, end caps and point of purchase assets never made it onto the floor. You should plan on joining the throngs of shoppers this weekend just to make sure that your marketing doesn’t meet a similar fate. If you can’t find it, grab a manager and even offer to help assemble and deploy it.

If you’re able to anticipate how your manager, executive team and you are likely to see the world on Monday, Nov. 30, after the first big weekend of the holiday season, then you’ll be well prepared to spend this last “normal” week getting ready.

Good luck, and Happy Thanksgiving.

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