Marketing during the winter holidays is a special kind of challenge. Consumers have ads and messages coming at them from a million different directions, and no matter how far ahead of Black Friday you plan, success can feel like a moving target.

For marketers in retail, planning for holiday messaging — on email, mobile, social, and website — starts long before the first twinkly lights are a gleam in shoppers’ eyes. Yes, Christmas in July is a real thing for retail marketers.

All this focus on the holidays is for good reason. Winter holiday sales comprise more than 80% of the year’s total holiday sales (NRF).

A solid plan is key to phenomenal holiday results. Get all the planning tips you need in our new 2016 Marketing Holiday Calendar.

This free guide has everything you need to scale your marketing campaigns for every channel in the 2016 holiday season. The calendar includes trends, data, and messaging themes that will be critical this year — and it spans every month of the holiday season, from August through January.

Here’s a sneak peek at the calendar for August. Download the full calendar for best practices that guide you through the rest of the year.

Holiday Stats to Know

  • Eighty-two percent of consumers research products online before going into a store (Salesforce).
  • Consumers spent $626.1 billion during the 2015 winter holidays, followed by the back-to-school holidays, with a distant $68 billion, and Mother’s Day, with $21.2 billion (NRF).
  • Holiday sales in 2015 increased by 3%. Non-store holiday sales grew 9% to $105 billion, though growth did not meet projections made by the National Retail Federation (NRF).

August Common Messaging Themes

  • All eyes will be on the Olympics. Product tie-ins with the globally watched event will be popular among sporting goods, clothing, toy, health, and fitness brands.
  • Holiday messaging will be relatively low, with the Olympics, back-to-school campaigns, and niche holidays like Women’s Equality Day taking the spotlight.
  • Offers for super-early shoppers to peek at the best holiday picks might surface in August.

August To-Do List: Align and Organize

Email: Foot traffic might be on the decline during this holiday shopping season, so prioritize email design and content now for December success. Email is the perfect medium to spark in-store foot traffic and capture online sales. Get your email templates ready to provide personalized content for both in-store and online audiences — and optimize everything for smaller screens.

Mobile: If you’re not yet collecting phone numbers as part of an SMS campaign, consider doing so during both the back-to-school and holiday seasons. Because consumers are increasingly attached to their mobile devices, SMS can be the ideal driver for in-store offers, real-time alerts, and opt-ins to other channels, like email and social.

Social: Holiday 2016 will be the first real Snapchat Christmas. Sixty percent of 13 to 34-year-old American smartphone users are now snapping, and the platform boasts 10+ million video views a day. You can bet that every major retailer will be trying its hand at Snapchat this holiday — it’s the hottest social network in the game. In August and September, take some time to grow your audience and test storytelling techniques.

Advertising: Social advertising is one of the most personalized and 1-to-1 tools in a marketer’s arsenal. It works best when you’ve already established a solid organic social presence. When new customers visit your social pages via ads, they should see your account actively engaging with customers, providing useful content, and answering questions. Do some spring cleaning on your social accounts now.

Web: Is your website enriching what you already know about customers? Ideally, your website is collecting valuable data about customer preferences with every click. While it’s still early in the season, begin enhancing your customer profiles with details like browsing behavior, purchase history, and attributes so your holiday messages will be even more relevant.

Want more? That’s just the beginning of what the full calendar offers. Download the free Marketing Holiday Calendar today.