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Forget January — September is society’s New Year. When summer comes to a close, and we go back to school and work, we shift how we live, put routines in place, and change our buying behaviors. 

This year, however, is looking (and feeling) a lot different. As schools and offices keep their doors closed to prevent the coronavirus spread, we’re missing most of our key markers to the start of this new season. That’s why people have never been more excited to celebrate the holidays, and why this year presents the most significant growth opportunity for e-commerce brands yet.  

Read this list and check these actions off twice to make the most of the rest of 2020. 

Key Holiday Marketing Goals and Action Items 

Getting your goals in order is key to successful growth through the end of the year. Here are the goals you should focus on and action items to hit them, broken down month-by-month.

September Goals: Reach New Customers and Get Organized

Double down on reaching as many new customers as possible while CPMs are lower this month. Plan your campaigns through the end of the year, put logistical processes in place, and get all of your ducks in a row to manage the busy shopping months to come. 

September action items 🍂

✅  Reach new customers by establishing a brand awareness campaign to build your email and retargeting contact pools for the months to come.

✅ Establish shipping deadlines and iron out logical operations. 

✅ Put a cart abandonment strategy in place that includes a personalized email and retargeting approach.

✅ Plan your seasonal promotions, creative, and budget allocation strategy to kick off in October.

✅ Implement analysis and tracking solutions that will enable you to optimize your campaigns down the line.

October Goal: Engage Holiday Shoppers Now 

Prime Day is late this year, and for a good reason — Amazon is working strategically to capture holiday shopping market share. While shopping holidays like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday will still happen, they’re no longer just one-day events. Instead, shoppers will start gift-buying the first week of October and look for promotional offerings through November. Make sure you’re prepared by planning your promotions and engaging your audience. 

October action items 👻

✅  Start running holiday promotions to account for Prime Day. This year, Small Business Saturday needs to start in October and run through the entire shopping season. 

✅  Consider creative tactics like video advertising to cut through the noise and reach your customers.

✅  Begin running CRM retargeting campaigns to engage loyal customers with your seasonal promotions. 

✅  Start running your cart abandonment campaign strategy. 

✅  Connect directly with your customers through organic social media and content marketing.

November Goals: Reach, Engage, and Convert! 

Continue running promotional shopping strategies throughout November. Engage with your customers directly, clearly, and often. If there’s one key thing that direct brands have that Amazon does not, it’s direct, deep, and meaningful relationships with their customers. 

November action items 🦃

✅  Holiday shopping is in full swing — consider budgeting for increased advertising spend to stay competitive. Our data suggests that CPMs typically rise 3x this time of year. 

✅  Continue running browsing and cart abandonment campaigns to motivate highly engaged shoppers to purchase. 

✅  Segment CRM lists of past holiday shoppers and create personalized email and retargeting campaigns.

✅  Analyze the performance of your campaigns often and adjust quickly as-needed.

December Goals: Reach Last-Minute Shoppers, Engage Advocates, and Focus on Analytics

Focus on enticing last-minute shoppers with creative and efficient gift ideas like digital gift cards to continue driving sales as the holiday shopping season comes to a close. Create ways for happy customers to share the amazing experiences they’re having with your brand as they’re celebrating the holidays, and hone in on performance analytics and reporting. 

December action items 🎄

✅   Don’t stop running cart abandonment campaigns. 

✅  Ensure you’re delivering a cohesive, personalized experience across ads, emails, and your website.

✅  Uphold shipping and delivery expectations you set with customers early on, and communicate clearly throughout the process.

✅  Encourage customers to share how they’re celebrating with your products on social media to foster advocacy and word-of-mouth marketing. 

✅  Double down on reporting and analytics. The performance data you gather this season, in particular, will give you a taste of what to expect in 2021 and shape your future marketing strategy. 

AdRoll Has Your Back 

From our all-in-one marketing platform designed to power e-commerce brands’ growth and our library of free resources to our team of experts and strategic partnerships, we’ve got your back. Let’s get rolling through the rest of the year. 


Steph is the Community Marketing Manager at AdRoll. A relationship-builder, she’s behind the Growth Guerilla Collective (GGC); the community for D2C marketers. Before AdRoll, Steph ran Customer Marketing at a B2B SaaS company in San Francisco. She is passionate about customer-centric marketing.