Insights to Reach Customers as We Head into the Holiday Season

| October 14, 2020

As we continue navigating a pandemic, the 2020 holiday season is poised to be a challenge. However, marketers and advertisers have a unique opportunity to connect with communities in a profound and meaningful way via TEGNA Marketing Solutions.

For brands and consumers, the holidays can be stressful enough without being in the middle of a pandemic. So you can just imagine what the 2020 holiday season will be like. Whether it’s financial struggles, health challenges, or supply chain issues, there will be new stressors on the holiday system this year that will require us to think about the holidays in new ways.

This year, the holidays are less likely to be about material things. TEGNA Marketing Solutions believes there will be a return to the holidays’ true spirit, giving brands a unique opportunity to connect with local communities in deeper and more meaningful ways. Here are three actionable steps brands can be thinking about right now to jump-start holiday planning:

1. Know the Insights

According to insights from Fluent Pulse,, and, the majority of consumers plan to spend the same as last year on holiday gifts, meaning retailers should expect similar or higher-order volumes as previous years. Consumers will also start their shopping earlier, shop at stores they know are following COVID-19 safety protocols, and opt for contactless purchases. Compared to just last year in 2019, many consumers plan to primarily complete their holiday shopping online. Digging a little deeper, take a look at these statistics:

  • – 63% of shoppers are more likely to purchase from a retailer in-person if they know the store is following COVID-19 safety precautions
  • – 53% of shoppers will choose to shop at stores that offer contactless shopping
  • – 56% of consumers say they will be doing their holiday shopping earlier to account for expected delivery delays. (39% of shoppers plan to start shopping for the holidays in October into early November, and 30% plan to start on Black Friday/Cyber Monday )

With these insights in mind, how can your brand reach this audience during the holiday shopping season? Ensuring media plans start earlier than in past seasons is a must, along with a defined digital strategy that targets shoppers with relevant gift ideas, safety messages, and delivery details.

“Consumers may be doing more of their holiday shopping online, but many of them want to shop at local businesses,” said Monica Longoria, Sr. Consumer Insights Strategist at TEGNA. “To compete with national online retailers, it is critical that local brands let shoppers know that they are open, safe, and offering something of value.”

At TEGNA, we’ve worked with thousands of clients on their holiday strategies. Now, with more Americans staying home and consuming content than ever before, TEGNA is putting our holiday expertise to work to help clients make the most of the 2020 season. Click here to connect with us.

2. Align With Best Holiday Content

At a time of uncertainly, families tend to grow even closer, looking to hold on to the people who comfort them. Long time traditions carry even more meaning, such as gathering together to watch holiday programming like A Charlie Brown Christmas on ABC, The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on CBS.

“Two in five households watched holiday programming last year. With the majority of households planning to celebrate at home this holiday season, we can expect the reach of this year’s programming to be even higher,” Longoria said.

Wrapping your brand around these traditions will be necessary for 2020. It’s less about the hottest gadget this year and more about themes of gratitude, togetherness, and charity. Brands who align with this type of content will find greater relevance and connection this holiday season.

Similarly, brands will want to ensure they salute the holidays’ diversity and have an understanding that other holidays like Kwanzaa and Hanukkah are also essential to recognize in addition to Christmas this year. Messages of unity can also be a winner with audiences in today’s social justice and inclusion era.

At the end of the day, consumers want to know that you’re not just trying to sell them something. They want to know you care about the greater good, so don’t be shy to call in the experts and make sure your message doesn’t ring hollow.

3. Create Content of Value

Let’s face it; families are struggling. Virtual schooling of children mixed with job stress and elder-care stress has left holiday shoppers exhausted. This makes it even more critical for your brand to help them. Consider what tips you can provide to help families celebrate this year’s holidays while social distancing. For example, could your brand share holiday recipes, host a gingerbread contest, offer home décor ideas, show how to host a virtual get-together, or generate holiday activity ideas for the kids.

Holiday stress, loss, and loneliness will be more prevalent this year. So even beyond celebratory content, consider creating campaigns that focus on self-care and mindfulness. Consider aligning your brand with content around life areas that will uplift, nurture, and comfort those who suffer from the holiday blues.

Most important, start planning now and don’t go it alone. The holidays are a critical time for brands.


At TEGNA, we’re committed to serving the greater good of our communities. TEGNA Marketing Solutions is a one-stop-shop that helps businesses thrive through an unmatched suite of services and solutions that reach consumers across through linear broadcast, over-the-top streaming (OTT), and digital solutions. Click here to learn more.

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