How to design evaluation into your Christmas campaign

4 November 2019 0

Every Christmas, John Lewis tugs at the heart strings and gets the general public talking, but with so many other retailers jumping on the festive bandwagon, how can you cut through the noise?

Let’s face it, some of these Christmas campaigns are being talked about before they’ve even been activated. As anticipation and excitement builds, we all begin to wonder whether this year’s Sainsbury’s ad will outdo Morrisons on the Christmas front. And the conversation often begins with a critique of last year’s adverts in terms of the best-loved and most-hated.

As light-hearted as this all seems, there’s always a fairly significant budget involved in festive marketing campaigns, so capturing this conversation in a considered way can be critical in terms of your impact – and next year’s creative.

Why think about next year now?

We all say it – Christmas seems to come around more quickly each year. And whether last year’s campaign did really well or fell flat on its face, it’s important to delve into the reasons why. That’s the only way you can make informed choices when planning your next campaign.

By designing evaluation into your campaign before you begin, you can ensure that you have robust ways of capturing data that you can really learn from.

Things to consider

We’ll start with an obvious one: What is it you are trying to achieve with the campaign? Whilst this may seem obvious, being clear about your objectives is paramount. Is it about increasing sales? If so, by how much? Perhaps it’s about brand awareness. If so, with which target market?

A campaign designed to address one of these objectives might be totally different to another. If you don’t have your evaluation plan in place, objectives can become blurry.

Secondly, it’s worth delving deeper and identifying what you are trying to achieve through each channel. Whether your focus is TV, OOH or radio formats, pre and post campaign testing will help you determine which channel was more effective and therefore how you might wish to prioritise budget next year.

Thirdly, look at your campaign timings. How do they differ to last year’s campaign? How long are your adverts running for?

And lastly, consider your call to action. Are you doing something different? Is there an incentive or an early bird deal that will drive conversion?

How to gather insight

We know that through online campaigns we have immediate access to an abundance of metrics, but what do they really mean in the context of your wider activity? A successful campaign isn’t built on online activity alone, so these metrics need to be integrated into a much broader and planned evaluation process.

For example, if you are running OOH adverts, face to face interviews are often the best way of capturing the required insight. However, if other advertising formats have been employed, cost-effective online interviews should take care of it.

Regardless everyone, including your budget holders or board of directors, responds differently to different types of research. For example, some people might be driven by impressive stats, however, with others, a verbatim comment from a customer explaining how the campaign made them feel could be gold in your next budget meeting.

It’s never too late to start.

An online survey, post campaign and utilising a test and control methodology, could help to set baselines for next year, provide insight into perceptions of this year’s activity and inform what you could do next Christmas. Was your campaign activity location or format specific? If so, a test and control methodology could be utilised.

Marketing is a long game and the outcome isn’t always a transactional one. Building brand awareness, for example, could have a big impact on next year’s campaign, so it’s good to know if you’re onto something that could translate into sales figures further down the line.

By working with experienced market researchers, you can create a rich picture of what went well, what didn’t and where you can improve. After all, a simple revenue figure rarely tells the full story.

To find out more about NGI Solutions research services, visit

Leave a Reply

Notify of

Sound good?

We like to keep things simple. If you like the sound of us, please get in touch.

Let's get started

Vicki Shouksmith

Research Manager