3 Keys to Using Data-Driven Marketing for Effective Holiday Promotions

Learn how data-driven marketing can help you achieve your holiday sales goals and conduct effective promotions. Discover three strategies to make your holiday promotions shine.

By Brent Danberg ・5 min read
Customer Data & Engagement

It’s not the night before Christmas, but you’re tossing and turning in the wee hours anyway.

What’s keeping you up? Maybe you’re wondering how you’ll achieve your grand sales goals during this critical season. Or what it will take to conduct effective holiday promotions amidst such fierce competition?

Now you can rest easy because I’ve got the answer: data-driven marketing. In this post, I’ll explain three strategies that will be key to making your holiday promotions shine.

Your holiday promotions possibilities

The busiest shopping days of the year are soon to come. And they’re not limited to the “big” ones — Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The possibilities to conduct holiday promotions also include:

  • Small Business Saturday
  • Giving Tuesday
  • Green Monday (the second Monday of December)
  • Free Shipping deadline days
  • Super Saturday (the last Saturday before Christmas)
  • Christmas Eve for the last minute shoppers
  • Boxing Day
  • New Year’s Eve/Day

3 data-driven marketing strategies for lucrative holiday promotions

I submit the secret to conducting the most effective holiday promotions possible rests in your ability to better understand your customers and capitalize on the power of data-driven marketing.

1. Crowdsource data with specialized promotions

It’s time to think like Santa. The big guy has a time-tested strategy for delivering precisely what children worldwide want for Christmas: He gathers data. Kids address their requests to the North Pole, and Santa’s elves take note. The elves make a list. Rumor has it, they check it twice.

A remarkably effective way to gather customer data is to conduct holiday promotions via social media, your website, and digital properties. We’ve got two really easy ways to get your hands on good data:

  1. Feeds
    A feed is one of the simplest forms of interactive content a brand can present. It’s an ideal way to:
  • Engage your audience
  • Increase your social proof
  • Collect valuable insights about your customers’ preferences

A feed presents an opportunity for your followers to share their user-generated content while spreading awareness about your campaign. Participants create a post on either Twitter or Instagram and include your custom hashtag(s) to enter. Those entries show off your hashtag to all of the participant’s followers. Most industry leaders use this as a means of gathering marketing content without having to create it themselves. You could even start a challenge, like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, to encourage your followers to post, promote, and build awareness for a cause. 

Feeds also allow you to understand the interests of your followers since they are posting about their favorite products and services. Understanding your customers’ preferences for products can help convert potential shoppers into buyers.

2. Pick-Your-Prize

A “pick-your-prize giveaway” allows you to offer customers a chance to win various products. After choosing a preferred prize, the participant fills out a form giving you insights into his or her preferences.


The data you collect from a pick-your-prize holiday promotion enables you to market to participants, offering deals for the products they’ve told you they prefer. Data you gather from the promotion of this sort should help inform:

  • Specific products that may be your hottest items
  • Products you should promote and maybe offer discounts on
  • Which are the most effective marketing channels for the products

Use this approach in advance of the holidays to learn more about the products consumers care most about. Learning which products to push (in the channels that work best) will be critical to your success this holiday season.

2. Analyze the data

Do you know which marketing channels earn the most engagement? Do you have data that indicates which content gets the best response?

Zipcar UK had been running promotions on Facebook for years when they discovered many potential consumers couldn’t participate simply because they didn’t have a Facebook account.

So when they ran a giveaway on their website, Zipcar achieved staggering results. Entries increased 717 percent compared to the campaigns run exclusively on Facebook. They also increased their website traffic by 203 percent for the duration of the promotion.

What can you learn from Zipcar UK’s experience? Analyzing the data that reveals the performance of your marketing efforts is vital to improving your results.

Which social media channels are working best? What kinds of posts are getting the most traction? Which promotions are getting the most participation?

ShortStack’s Advanced Analytics Report details which channels produce the most results. Having a clear picture of your results empowers you to allocate your resources accordingly.

3. Use data to create personalized campaigns

During the holiday season, you want to evaluate your email lists and performance data to make your efforts more efficient and effective.

Which segments are the most responsive? What subject lines perform best? Can you find any patterns?

How can you increase engagement with your email marketing efforts? Email marketing statistics from Data & Marketing Association’s (DMA) demonstrate:

  • Triggered campaigns have a 6.5% click-through rate—compared to 1.6% for “business as usual” campaigns.
  • 43.8% of consumers prefer to receive marketing emails weekly, far ahead of every other frequency option.
  • Email marketing campaigns that direct people to landing pages with information relevant to the content in the email are the most effective converters. In other words, if you send an email promoting holiday dresses, ensure the landing page you link to also features holiday dresses, not kids’ shoes!

As you can see, the data reveals consumers respond best to email based on what they’ve shown interest in.

When you run the types of holiday promotions we’ve examined today, you’ll be far more equipped to create targeted and personalized email campaigns.

3 data-driven marketing strategies for lucrative holiday promotions

A quick review…

Data-driven marketing promises to help you cash in on the holiday shopping season. Set yourself up to succeed by:

  1. Using interactive content such as feeds and pick-your-prize promotions to gather customer insights
  2. Investing effort into extracting useful marketing insights from your analytics
  3. Creating personalized campaigns that cater to the recipient’s interests

These powerful holiday promotion tactics should help make your register ring this season.  

About the author

By Brent Danberg ・5 min read

Brent Danberg is ShortStack’s VP of Business Strategy. Over the years, he has advised more than 1000 businesses and agencies, helping them achieve their digital marketing goals.

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