The holidays come earlier each year, so corporations have to be ready to implement their holiday marketing strategy well before December hits. If we’re starting to scare you because you don’t have a plan yet, don’t worry; it’s not too late start!

Halloween is only a week away, which according to the displays in most retail stores, means Santa is already preparing his sleigh. Stores are filled with Christmas trees, candy canes, holiday wrapping paper and maybe a few items for that “other holiday” that everyone seems to forget about (sorry, Thanksgiving).

DO plan months in advance

Give yourself plenty of time to brainstorm several options, decide on a direction and create stunning graphics and compelling messaging.

DON’T push sales unless it makes sense

Companies like Starbucks, Target, M&Ms and Coca-Cola can easily tie their products to the holidays and are now considered by consumers to be “holiday staples.” Other companies don’t tend to have as strong of a connection. Many people couldn’t quite understand the connection Hellmann’s was trying to make. If your brand doesn’t pair well with other holiday staples, a simple “happy holidays” will suffice.

DO create content that’s valuable

Research to find out more information about your audience. What are they celebrating? How do they celebrate? Where do they celebrate? Make sure the content offers something valuable to them whether that is information, happy thoughts or a coupon.

DON’T only focus on the big holidays

Businesses flood the market with campaigns for the “big holidays.” But, did you know November 5 is Book Lovers Day or that November 13 is World Kindness Day? This is the perfect chance to capitalize on other trending topics that interest consumers.

DO choose a theme

Create a theme that defines the campaign. Will it be about making memories? Spreading kindness? A joyous celebration? Delicious meals? Awkward family time? Selecting a theme will make it easier for consumers to recognize your content, and it will entice them to be on the lookout for the next piece of the story.

DON’T be inappropriate

For many consumers, the holidays are about religious beliefs, helping others in need and spending time with family. However, that doesn’t stop brands from taking the humor a little too far, such as K-Mart’s inappropriate commercials. Keep things appropriate to the holidays to make sure you don’t offend your audience.

DO post company celebration photos

“Brands…they’re just like us!” Did you know consumers, especially millennials, are less likely to buy from a company that seems unrelatable or faceless? When you get together for your annual holiday party, don’t forget to snap a photo or two to share.

DON’T forget about your current customers

While the holidays are a great time to attract new customers, don’t forget to show some love to your current customers, too. Send out an email exclusively to those who have bought from your company before with a special offer or use the holidays to thank them for their business and support.

A successful holiday campaign will set the tone for a new year with your customers! Don’t let your company be forgotten like Thanksgiving. Instead, use an effective strategy and campaign to connect with your customer.