October 24th, 2019

5 New Year Promotion Ideas for DTC Marketers in 2020

New Year Marketing Strategy


Well, it’s official: With the start of spooky season, Q4 2019 is underway. But don’t get out the 2020 planning calendar just yet; there’s still a ball to drop and champagne to pop. New Year’s is a unique opportunity for direct to consumer marketers — those who capture the spirit of the holiday with killer marketing campaigns capture consumers’ hearts.


On major retail holidays, like Black Friday, DTC brands often get drowned out by retailers’ massive holiday sales, but they can still make a play for the last festive event of the year. By New Year’s Eve, those big retailers have typically run out of steam — after all, they’ve been pushing their deals for two months straight. It’s the perfect time for DTC brands to get in on the holiday action. Of course, your New Year’s campaign needs to be smart, creative, and holiday-appropriate, which is never an easy task. We’ve put together some top-tier New Year promotion ideas to help you ring in the new year.

New Year’s Promotion Ideas

  1. Make a New Year’s Resolution
  2. Kick Off a Resolution-Themed Promotion
  3. Use the New Year to Reinvent Your Brand
  4. Go Big on Mobile
  5. Hold Out for Lunar New Year

1. Make a New Year’s Resolution

What makes New Year’s so exciting is that it’s all about new possibilities. You can let go of the past and look to the future. That’s why so many people make resolutions to kick off a new year; it’s the perfect time to think about what you want to accomplish and set some goals to make your dreams come through.

That’s exactly what Frank & Oak did to ring in 2019. The DTC fashion brand is committed to making environmentally conscious clothing, so it’s only fitting that it pledged to reduce waste and increase their eco-friendly efforts last year. This kind of ethical, responsible business is very appealing to gen Z and gen Y consumers, who tend to make up the bulk of DTC businesses. For your own New Year’s resolution, consider pledging to make a difference of some sort, rather than getting lost in the consumerist blitz of the holiday season.

That’s not all Frank & Oak did to celebrate, though. The company also guided customers on making 2019 their most stylish year yet. With the season of giving coming to a close, New Year’s is a great time to treat yourself, and Frank & Oak showed how some fashionable new garb could help fans achieve their goals for the coming year.

2. Kick Off a Resolution-Themed Promotion

Making a New Year’s resolution is a great start, but DTC companies can expand on that idea by inspiring their customers to set goals of their own. Imperfect Produce did just that with its Food Waste Bingo promotion, which encouraged customers to save money and reduce with a set of realistic, easily achievable goals. Simple tips like swapping out plastic, disposable coffee cups for reusable mugs go a long way towards cutting down on food waste, which is right in line with Imperfect Produce’s stated goals. The New Year promotion also shed light on the fact that becoming an Imperfect Produce customer goes a long way towards reducing food waste.

When you involve your customers in the resolution-making process, it gets people talking. Imperfect Produce encouraged fans to share their progress on social media with trackable hashtags and sweetened the pot by offering a box of produce as a prize for participating. When creating your own resolution-themed promotion, think about how to engage customers — if you’re lucky, your brand will become a part of their vision for the new year.

3. Use the New Year to Reinvent Your Brand

You’ve probably heard the phrase “new year, new you,” but how about “new year, new brand”? Okay, that latter one might not be sweeping the nation anytime soon, but given the spirit of reinvention that comes around every January 1st or so, New Year’s is the right time to refresh your brand.

This is especially true if you’re seeing a loss of customers, as meal-delivery service Blue Apron did after its 2017 IPO. After stock prices fell nearly 70% below their initial offer, Blue Apron used the transition to 2018 as a fresh start. Starting in January, Blue Apron’s messaging reflected “the transformative power of home cooking,” showing customers that its product was more than just ingredients in a box. The rebranding campaign was a success, as its Q1 2018 earnings showed. So if your brand messaging has gotten off track, take the opportunity to introduce customers to the new you when the ball drops.

4. Go Big on Mobile

Mobile should always be a consideration of any modern marketing campaign, but this is especially true in the lead-up to the New Year. Why? Because smartphones are one of the most popular holiday gifts on the market. With the influx of new devices comes heavy mobile traffic, so it’s the perfect time to really make your mobile strategy shine.

Popular glasses DTC brand Warby Parker did that earlier this year, using the new year as an opportunity to unveil its new AR-powered virtual try-on app. The AR app gives customers an in-store experience without having to leave their homes, or even get off their phones. As Warby Parker proved, New Year’s is an ideal moment to launch a new app, double down on mobile video, or start a CPA campaign because that’s where consumers will be most engaged and attentive. Keep that in mind as the end of 2019 draws near; mobile marketing is a must, especially for DTC brands looking to cut through the holiday noise.

5. Hold Out for Lunar New Year

If you’re feeling like the holiday season is a bit too cramped for you to make an impact, you could always hold out for Lunar New Year. DTC brands Barkbox and S’well did just that in 2019, waiting for the end-of-year madness to die down before releasing special Lunar New Year–themed products. For Barkbox, that meant a festive, on-theme box went out in February. Meanwhile, S’well took the opportunity to release an exclusive Lunar New Year 2019 water bottle with a lovely cherry blossom design.

If you really want to make an impact, waiting for Lunar New Year could be an effective marketing strategy for smaller DTC brands. You’ll be competing with fewer companies, increasing your odds of grabbing customers’ attention. At the same time, you can still tap into those New Year’s feelings of renewal and fresh opportunities.

It might feel like DTC companies don’t have a chance going up against big retailers during the holiday season, but that simply isn’t true. You just have to find your own strategy and get creative about your message — and make sure you’re targeting the right audiences, which is why mobile advertising is so key. And of course, timing is everything, which is why New Year’s is ideal for direct to consumer brands that already offer affordable prices year-round. So get that champagne ready and take advantage of the opportunity! When you’re ready to get your own New Year promotion ideas rolling, the experts at Tapjoy are here to help.


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