It might only be October, but if your product or service is something that will be a Christmas hit, it’s time to start thinking about your holiday marketing plan now. A report by Smith-Harmon found that retailers begin Christmas email marketing on October 19th, planning seasonal campaigns and sending out gift inspiration 67 days before Christmas is due. While this might seem incredibly early to even the most organized shopper, statistics from 2013 showed that 20.5% of US consumers began Christmas shopping in October, and this rose to 38.8% in November. The trend seems to indicate that people are getting in early to avoid last minute rushes, disappointment and seasonal stress.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Take a look at these reasons for planning your Christmas marketing now, and be prepared to feel super festive (and organized) in mid-October.

Get Ahead Of Your Competition

Everyone has competitors and everyone wants to be the place shoppers will go to. If you start planning for early Christmas marketing campaigns now and plan key dates for release, you’ll be ahead of or at least in-line with your competition. The worst possible scenario would be that they’re ahead of you, so ensure this doesn’t happen. Define what you can advertise about your similar products that makes you better than them, whether it’s an extended guarantee, a better price or even a seasonal discount that is irresistible.

Early Christmas Purchases

As the statistics above show, people are thinking about Christmas earlier than ever. Large retail stores seems to be introducing seasonal merchandise earlier every year, and shoppers aren’t resisting the lure. Selfridges in London opened their Christmas department in August this year; early to some, not for others. If you want a slice of the early purchases, you need to be on top of your seasonal campaigns, even if October or early November seems premature.

Attract New Business

Christmas is a profitable time; shoppers want the best deals and the best products. By advertising at the right time to the right audience, your brand awareness is raised and it’s likely that you will attract new customers. Also ensure that you’re planning for the increase in product demand and customer service requests at the same time; new customers equals higher demand on every level.

Reduce Seasonal Stress

Christmas is a season of joy, but can come with a lot of stress too, both for shoppers and business owners. If you leave your marketing efforts until the last minute, you’re going to generate stress and overwhelm that can be prevented if a plan is put in place earlier. By planning and creating your seasonal campaigns now, the run up to Christmas will be a lot easier.

Prescheduled Campaigns

Many aspects of your marketing campaign can be planned, created and implemented early. Email and SEO campaigns can be crafted and scheduled ahead of time. Online adverts can be generated weeks ahead of schedule. If you’re planning to be off for some time over Christmas and New Year, it pays to know that your marketing efforts will be organized and arranged to deliver while you’re enjoying some downtime.

Planning Delegation

Christmas is an incredibly busy time for business owners and entrepreneurs, and workloads can double or triple as you struggle to cope with the additional hours. Taking on some additional help in the form of a Virtual Assistant can enable you to concentrate on your Christmas campaigns and seasonal functions, while they work in the background to ensure online tasks are running smoothly. Such task examples are your social media profiles, your admin, and customer service or project management.

Have you started your Christmas marketing already? Tell us over on Twitter.