Anyone else noticed that Christmas seems to come earlier and earlier in retail terms? The high street is already awash with festive jumpers and the 2012 fashion trend that was the Onesie. I am in danger of starting a 'when I was a child' rant. So I will move on to my point.
If you stop and think for a minute... to get those reindeer onesies or festive tins of Scottish shortbread on shelf the retailers would have placed their orders with suppliers months ago. And in turn retailers, brands and suppliers will have been planning their Christmas marketing and advertising for months. Yup you got it, big global brands can work 18 months ahead with overall strategies. When we are all praying for a BBQ summer and thinking of suntan lotion and paddling pools marketeers and buyers are talking baubles and turkey.
In terms of national press, in glossies like Vogue, Observer Food Monthly or BBC Good Food you should be making initial contact six months ahead. Photo shoots and features will be flat-planned this early. If you want a 'pack shot' and website mention in the cool gifts sections you should still be getting all your products photographed and sent over in September at the latest.
Obviously for weekly and smaller regional publications you will still have time to get exposure but it is probably cutting it fine.
If you have missed the print-media boat this year, don't fear as your ship may not have completely sailed. There are now online editors for all the big magazines and newspapers so target these. Also have a social media plan with Twitter and Facebook, could you do an early 12 days of Christmas with money off or offers each day at the end of November? What about bloggers, select ones who have a local presence and are trusted and a few of the award winning big hitters, keep niche - beauty bloggers won't want to know about your new mince pie flavour, no matter how tasty it is.
Is your website ready? Have you given it a refresh to make sure it is a seamless experience, can you skin it and have a festive slant? Often the Christmas carols and vividly decorated shop windows pull customers into physical shops - what can you do to translate that online?
Did you know that Monday is a busy Christmas shopping day? Does your social media activity align with shopping knowledge? Do some research. Here's a lovely infographic to highlight the point and get you started. We are such suckers for an infographic!
Last, but not least I recommend selecting some key media targets who you have worked with in 2012 or want to build a relationship with and send them a sample or voucher. Spread some Christmas cheer, they will probably tweet about it and you may even get a mention.
It's far too early but season's greetings. ...