For marketers, coming up with a pithy reason to run a promotion or send an email newsletter can be a daunting task. Lucky for you, there’s no shortage of shopping holidays that can be leveraged throughout the year.
In fact, linking your marketing campaigns to timely holiday promotions can increase brand awareness and sales, driving ROI and customer satisfaction to new heights.
But just what marketing holidays should you feature?
Here’s the complete 2020 marketing calendar with holidays and campaign ideas to help inspire timely promotions for your customers.
Jump to a Month
January 1: New Years Day presents an ideal opportunity to target resolutions, self-improvement, and health and wellness. It’s also an opportunity to launch new product lines and high margin sales.
January 1: National Hangover Day is a pop culture holiday with a comedic, casual voice and offers a great opportunity to add some character to your sales and applicable products.
January 14: Dress Up Your Pet Day offers brands a cute, fun way to tie into the love consumers feel for their pets. An Instagram/UGC contest is one way of tying this obscure holiday to daily marketing efforts.
January 20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day can be an opportunity to send social awareness content or tell an applicable brand history narrative. Given the sensitive nature of the holiday, however, if there is no direct tie to the holiday it’s best to frame content around a long weekend promotion or sale or risk coming off as tone-deaf.
January 25: Chinese New Year is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. 2020 is the year of the rat, an animal that is perceived as quick-witted, resourceful, and smart. This holiday is another opportunity to promote new beginnings, especially for brands with ties to eastern traditions.
January 28: Fun At Work Day gives brands an opportunity to bring levity to their email campaigns via flash sales and UGC competitions.
All of February is both American Heart Month and Black History Month. If a brand has a product or mission-related to these themes, month-long associated content on a blog or social channels that are promoted via email is timely.
February 2: Groundhog Day is a cute seasonal holiday offering brands an opportunity to geo-target based on weather. Additionally, it’s a great holiday to get creative with design animation (shadow or no shadow? Only the furry rodent will tell!)
February 2: Super Bowl Sunday is promotion prime time! Weekend sales, flash halftime sales, hometeam copy… the content options are limitless. Be cautious, however, to not use the “Super Bowl” directly in marketing materials to avoid potential trademark issues.
February 4: World Cancer Day comes shortly after the sales-heavy focus of Super Bowl Sunday. World Cancer Day offers brands an opportunity to promote giving, and giving back.
February 7: World HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, similar to World Cancer Day, is a day that gives brands an opportunity to raise social consciousness. Possible campaigns include matching customer donations to a nonprofit partner or donating a percentage of all sales to an affiliated organization.
February 13: Galentine’s Day was brought to us by the TV show “Parks and Recreation,” and is all about women celebrating women. “Ladies Night Out” promotions, gifts with purchase, and general female empowerment themes are all perfect matches for this holiday.
February 14: Valentine’s Day is a traditional holiday celebrating the patron saint of love, and partners perfectly with gift guides, ‘treat yourself’ themes and gift cards.
February 15: Singles Awareness Day is a modern holiday celebrating those who live a single lifestyle. Matching campaign concepts include focusing on #1, self-care, and health and wellness.
February 17: Presidents Day gives us another excuse for a long weekend sale, but during this election year, President’s Day could potentially be a divisive topic. Evergreen sale content is a great way to keep campaigns neutral, keeping the focus as a shopping holiday.
February 25: Mardi Gras is a celebration-focused holiday that gives brands an opportunity to introduce fun and flair to festival-themed promotions.
February 29: Leap Year comes but once every four years. This rare holiday is an ideal time to offer a 24-hour flash sale with steep discounts. It’s one extra day a year to drive revenue, so make it count!
All of March is both March Madness and National Crafting Month. Brands that can tie into either niche holiday are encouraged to do so via contests, how-to content, and UGC. As with the Super Bowl, avoid using the phrase ‘March Madness’ as it’s copyrighted.
March 3: World Wildlife Day can be highlighted in campaigns to raise awareness of a brand’s commitment to social good and environmental awareness.
March 6: Day of Unplugging is another social consciousness holiday that brands can feature in order to encourage customers to maintain an active lifestyle not dependent solely on technology.
March 8: International Women’s Day offers a great opportunity to highlight women-owned businesses, or female leaders/employees and their impactful roles in a company. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate your female customers.
March 8: End of Daylight Savings gives us an extra hour of sunlight, and the “savings” promotions and “extra time to shop” content practically writes itself.
March 17: St. Patrick’s Day is all about luck! Highlight “getting lucky” sweepstakes and drawings, especially via pop-ups on main landing pages. Additionally, green products can be featured via a color story campaign.
March 20: Spring Equinox is the official start to spring and the perfect time to focus on fresh starts, outdoor activities, and cultivating new opportunities.
March 23: National Puppy Day is arguably the most adorable holiday and ideal for UGC outreach and social giveaways.
All of April is Stress Awareness Month. Health and wellness brands can highlight stress-relieving products, while other brands can tie into this theme via stress-free shopping.
April 1: April Fools Day is a great casual holiday to highlight a comedic brand voice, flash sales, and contests.
April 7: National Beer Day offers brands with related or complementary products an opportunity for a limited-time sale.
April 11: National Siblings Day + April 12 National Pet Day both provide a gift-giving focus for immediate family members, furry or otherwise.
April 12: Easter presents a thematic sale opportunity featuring light color stories, children’s content, and spring themes.
April 15: Tax Day is an ideal time for customer appreciation, and the perfect opportunity to promote sales customers can shop with their anticipated tax returns.
April 22: Earth Day presents an opportunity for brands to promote partnerships with nonprofits, green initiatives, and opt outside campaigns.
May 4: Star Wars Day is a pop culture holiday perfect for giveaways and sales relating to the iconic series.
May 5: Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexican military victory, and presents an opportunity for one-day sales, especially playing with the number 5.
May 10: Mother’s Day provides cross-category brands a chance to highlight gifts perfect for mom.
May 20: Be a Millionaire Day is a whimsical holiday that brands can feature to promote limited-time savings or gift lottos.
May 25: Memorial Day is an American holiday that retailers traditionally capitalize on by running weekend sales. It’s important to note, however, that celebratory language should be avoided, as Memorial Day is a time of remembrance.
June 3: Global Running Day gives health and wellness brands (shoes, apparel, supplements) a reason to target athletic consumers.
June 5: National Donut Day gives food and beverage brands a clear tie-in to this holed holiday. Possible content includes donut pairings, UGC promotions, and donut locators.
June 8: World Ocean Day offers retailers an opportunity to drive awareness for global environmental causes. Brands can pledge that a percentage of all profits will be donated to a partner charity.
June 13: National Rosé Day is a beverage-based pop holiday can be taken literally by beverage brands, or as a color story celebration for clothing, jewelry, or decor brands.
June 21: Father’s Day gives a great opportunity to promote gift cards; it’s an easy way to let dad choose his gift—a solid strategy for this classic day.
June 26: Take Your Dog To Work Day is similar to earlier pet-themed celebrations, lending itself perfectly to UGC contests.
July 1: Canada Day allows brands to target Canadian customers for special offers on this northern holiday.
July 4: 4th Of July brings fun design and copy during this celebrated sale period. GIFs, unique color combinations, and catchy copy all differentiate one brand from the next.
July 10: National Kitten Day is the feline counterpart to National Puppy Day, and can highlight user-generated content for general calendar inclusion, and further targeted sales for the animal industry.
July 13 (or thereabouts): Amazon Prime Day is Amazon’s biggest, global shopping event exclusively for Prime members. Non-Amazon retailers can benefit from the halo effect of so many Prime members being online and in the mood to shop.
July 17: National Lottery Day can showcase giveaways, spin-to-win pop-ups, and onsite treasure hunts as a fun way to embrace the, “Hey, you never know,” lotto philosophy.
July 21: National Junk Food Day is a trendy holiday that ties directly to food brands, or loosely to wider-scope brands under the theme of “treating yourself.”
July 30: National Day of Friendship is the perfect excuse to run a refer-a-friend campaign.
August 3: National Watermelon Day is a breezy summer holiday when brands can feature promotional content from recipes to BBQ decor trends to outdoor adventures.
August 9: National Book Lover’s Day lends itself well to blogs, how-to guides, and influencer outreach.
August 12: International Youth Day can highlight social justice and giving back campaigns, as well as specials on products made specifically for youth.
August 19: World Humanitarian Day is a good time to highlight a brand’s social mission statements.
August 27: National Just Because Day can tie into the Back to School theme—treat yourself to one more summer adventure or treat as the freedom of summer winds down.
September 7: Labor Day is a holiday celebrating the labor of American workers, so themes of relaxation are especially applicable.
September 8: Grandparents Day is a day to celebrate those special family members who always spoil you. Lifestyle imagery celebrating an older demographic will subtly link this holiday to promotional offerings.
September 22: Fall Equinox is the first day of fall and prime time for autumn imagery, seasonal launches, and all things pumpkin.
September 26: National Pancake Day is yet another cute pop holiday that offers a flash sale opportunity.
September 29: National Coffee Day brings with it themes of increased energy and productivity via product lines or color stories for products with a mocha hue.
October 1: World Vegetarian Day is especially applicable for vegetarian/vegan/wellness brands, and possible tie-ins on this day include coupon codes, category markdowns, and referral incentives.
October 4: National Taco Day is one example of how tacos are having a moment in pop culture, and this holiday lends itself well to campy designs in applicable fields.
October 5: National Do Something Nice Day is a pop culture day where brands can offer unique coupon codes to VIP subscribers, or promote gifting friends or loved ones.
October 12: Columbus Day is another holiday to approach with sensitivity, as evidenced by the many brands referencing Indigenous Peoples Day in lieu of Columbus Day. A safer bet would be to stick with a generic long weekend sale.
October 16: National Boss’s Day is an opportunity for gift-centered brands to offer another gift guide or flash sale.
October 26: National Pumpkin Day is a gateway to the upcoming holiday season, and this day is all about the PSL.
October 31: Halloween means “Scary Sales” is the name of the game for this classic day of dress-up.
November 1: Daylight Savings lets us celebrate an extra hour of sleep and more time indoors to shop flash sales with surprise extensions.
November 11: Veterans Day is another three-day weekend positioned to offer flash sales, and is a great time to AB test promotions for the upcoming Cyber Week period.
November 11: Singles Day is the quintessential shout-out to all the single ladies and gents! This celebration of solo life has quickly become one of the largest online shopping days in the world, and is ideal for flash sales, exclusive discount codes (11% off, anyone?), and VIP Single messaging.
November 17: National Hiking Day hits a bit before the online craze of Cyber Week kicks in. This pop culture holiday serves well as a reminder to detach from technology and get outdoors.
November 26: Thanksgiving is nestled before Black Friday, or in between early access sales and the main BF event. Thanksgiving campaigns can offer goodwill messaging, but the holiday is more often utilized by retailers to promote early access to sales to an audience that’s too stuffed to move.
November 27: Black Friday is the reigning champion of promotional periods! Offer competitive online-only deals to compete with brick and mortar stores.
November 30: Cyber Monday is the online-only partner to Black Friday. Cyber Monday is a perfect opportunity to pivot your Black Friday sale for renewed interest in blow-out sale prices.
December 1: Giving Tuesday is the charitable counterpart to Cyber Week. This holiday is a prime opportunity to highlight charitable giving partners, or opportunities to give back during this season of gifting.
December 10: Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights, and the first day of Hanukkah can serve as a stand-alone gifting campaign, or kick off a week-long daily sending cadence.
December 14: Green Monday is another holiday invented by marketers to extend the holiday shopping season. It’s the perfect day to introduce urgency-fueled messages: “Last chance to purchase in time for Christmas.”
December 21: Winter Solstice is the darkest day of the year, but can be framed as a welcoming of the winter season. It’s also likely to coincide with expedited shipping deadlines for Christmas for that final holiday revenue boost!
December 24/25: Christmas morning or Christmas Eve messages can include online gift card offers for those procrastinators, as well as goodwill messaging to help build brand loyalty.
December 26: Boxing Day is a Canadian holiday that can be used to target our northern neighbors, or incorporate more generally with, “didn’t get what you want?” messaging with a CTA to treat yourself.
December 31: New Year’s Eve is ideal for lifestyle content focused on resolutions or end of year sale countdowns.
Marketing Holidays 2020
With so many celebrations to choose from, how can you decide which holidays to highlight throughout your marketing year?
Our pro-tip: start with a list that most resonates with your unique brand and audience.
Your subscriber base will respond best not only to great promotions and sales but also to content that tells the story of the brand they love!
Want some inspiration for creating holiday emails?