Christmas is the big event for marketers every year. It is the time that many brands make most of their money, and it is the big show that marketers put all their effort into making a success.

After each Christmas season is over, marketers can take a look back at what worked well for them and for others to learn what strategies to use again, either for next Christmas or for events throughout the year.

Let’s take a look back at Xmas 2016 – a marketing lesson:

Emotional Advertising Works

Christmas is the perfect time of year to try out emotional advertising. The season is all about coming together and showing the people you love how you feel about them.

But you don’t have to wait until Christmas to tap into the power of emotional advertising. You can get the same results with the right ads all year long.

Think about the Christmas ads you saw this year that pulled on the heartstrings of viewers: The Boots ad that shows a family coming together to help a family member in need or the John Lewis ad that shows a boy picking out a present for his pet penguin. These ads made people feel happy, nostalgic, and moved.

Your ad doesn’t have to be an emotional powerhouse. It doesn’t have to be the Forest Gump of ads. But it should strive to stir some emotion in your viewers – whether that’s joy, sadness, altruism, or even anger. When people feel something, they are engaged, and when people are engaged, they act.

Bold Ads Get Noticed

People see hundreds of thousands of ads in their lifetime. How is yours going to stand out?

You have to do something that people don’t expect. You have to be bold. You have to be creative. You have to be innovative.

Sainsbury showed how effective this can be with a Christmas ad that showed British and German troops coming to a truce on Christmas Day during World War I. Not many people would think to pair war and Christmas, but the concept worked brilliantly. The takeaway was that “Christmas is for sharing,” and the ad encouraged viewers to do the same.

What unique pairings can you create for your brand’s ads? What creative approach can you take? There will be no easy answer, but if you put in the work, you will come up with some unique concepts that will get you noticed.

Integration is Key

Marketing collateral doesn’t exist in a vacuum. One ad is not going to get you the results you need, just like one social media channel isn’t going to drive the traffic you need to your site.

You need to adopt an integrated approach that makes all marketing collateral work together, reinforcing your efforts.

The John Lewis Christmas campaign showed how this approach can be successful. It ran a TV ad featuring Monty the Penguin, and it followed up with a Monty the Penguin hashtag on Twitter, print ads in train stations, and plenty of hype on its website and other social media channels.

When you create any kind of ad, blog post, or other marketing collateral, you need to think about how you can promote it on your other channels. You might just make posts on a certain timeline, or you might create infographics, display ads, articles, or more to enhance that original ad. The key is to make all the pieces work together to get your message out.

Unique Offers Get Results

A simple discount isn’t always enough to generate the buzz or the sales you want. You need a unique offer.

Burger King proved this to be true when it offered to give people a free Whopper in exchange for an unwanted Christmas gift. All they had to do was bring in the old present and get the Whopper.

People who did not live in an area where the promotion was offered were able to post a picture of their unwanted gifts on social media and use the hashtag #WhopperExchange. The first people to post got a gift card for a free whopper.

Obviously, you can’t offer to exchange Christmas presents all year long. But maybe you can give a discount to single diners on Valentine’s Day, or you can give free chocolate to anyone who donates a dozen eggs for a local food bank.

You can tie these offers into a holiday or to some other event that is happening, such as a changing season, school starting, or temperatures hitting a high. Be creative, and you’ll get results.

Christmas may be over, but the lessons we learned can be used all year long. Think about how you can incorporate some of these strategies into your marketing this year and get results. It will feel like Christmas all year!