Christmas is coming – fatten your database

25/12 trumps 24/7. Or to put it another way, seasonality is a bigger influence on your business performance than ensuring your e-commerce site is available around the clock. And right now is when marketers need to start planning for the season that can account for between 40 and 80 per cent of sales in some sectors.

Christmas decorations may not hit the High Street for another couple of months yet, although Autumn clothing is already on sale. Even so, consumers will soon start thinking about gifting (and self-rewarding).

This year could see an even more significant seasonal spike in spending as austerity starts to bite. In part this will be due to a deeper trough of non-spending during the year, with consumers holding back from many discretionary choices. By the time the nights really start to draw in, shoppers will be in the mood for some indulgence, with Christmas legitimising that instinct.

Marketers have to be ready to get their share of that spend. Even pure-play online companies will have a significant uplift in activity ahead of December (or during January if they are in the travel sector). Ask any cataloguer or charity when they get most of their sales and donations and they will point to the fourth quarter of the calendar year.

So why should you be thinking about it now, when the season itself is still five months away? For the simple reason that having the right volume of data in hand to the correct standard and quality requires several months of planning and effort. Start now and you can be in market at the right time. Fail to plan for it and you might miss out.

Digital marketers may well assume that they are exempt from this planning cycle and that the online consumer is always there to be acquired. This view is faulty, however. While consumers may be online around the clock and throughout the year, there is a big difference between casual browsing and focused shopping.

If you start now to develop your email database and build permissions, for example, then you can send targeted seasonal offers that will capture that Christmas cash. Leave it to the last minute and, as many consumers have found to their own cost, the last turkey in the shop might not be quite as fat as you had hoped.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here