Are You Already Behind on Holiday Marketing?

Summer literally just ended, but for many people that means one thing: Holiday season can begin.

"McAninch Arts Center Holiday Shopping Event," © 2014 COD Newsroom, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

“McAninch Arts Center Holiday Shopping Event,” © 2014 COD Newsroom, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Nielsen reported that 22 percent of consumers began their holiday shopping in October last year, and more are expected to do so this year. Even if you don’t feel ready to break out the tinsel and have the Michael Buble holiday album on repeat at your venue doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to prepare your marketing for the holidays.

Over at CMO.com, writer Giselle Abramovich shared 10 tips to get a jumpstart of holiday marketing — and how to not have a meltdown before New Year’s. Here are some of our favorites, or you can read the full list here:

“Tip 1: Throw Out Conventional Thinking
Jeff Hasen, founder of Gotta Mobilize, told CMO.com that disaster is often the outcome of working from an old marketing playbook.

“In this frenetically morphing mobile era, a six-month-old playbook could be outdated,” Hasen said. “For the 2015 holiday season, throw out much of the so-called conventional thinking.”

For example, the holiday-shopping season is no longer between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even the days of the week for purchasing change, with more purchases on the weekends versus the rest of the calendar, a Nanigans study showed.

“Plus, many of those who fail in holiday marketing wait way too long to build a relationship with a consumer,” Hasen said. “The time to solidify a relationship is now. Actually, it was in the spring and summer, long before back to school and the coming holiday period caused consumer distractions.”

The good news, Hasen said, is there is still a window remaining for brands to entice consumers to join loyalty clubs, for example, which is critical since only 26% of shoppers stay loyal during the holidays, according to a sessionM study.

“Waiting for the leaves or snow to fall is a recipe for disaster,” Hasen said.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Katie Zaidova

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Katie Zaidova

Tip 2: Don’t Overdo It
Matt Kates, VP of strategic services at HelloWorld, said that one of the biggest disaster risks is “overcommunication.” Because the holidays are a critical selling time for companies, they make the mistake of increasing communication with consumers by asking for more opt-ins for channels such as mobile and email.

“This can have a devastating long-term effect, as consumers may get so frustrated with the inundation that they actually opt out of a brand’s communication altogether,” Kates said. “Whether it’s for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Christmas, understanding the pitfalls of overcommunicating is crucial.”

Kates isn’t suggesting that brands just stick to the same old thing during the holidays. Brands can increase their communication, but it is important to test that the frequency of communication matches the ability to add fresh value to the overall objective.

“Simply reiterating more of the same information can lead to consumer fatigue and frustration, in any case,” he said.

Tip 3: Think Long Term
According to eConsultancy, 70% of companies said it’s cheaper to retain a customer than acquire one, and 49% said they achieve better ROI by investing in relationships over acquisition marketing.

Aim for real connections with consumers. They can boost, or sink, a brand with their social media megaphones and tales of interactions with online service. One LivePerson client, online retailer Backcountry.com, employs backcountry enthusiasts to handle live chat. They’ll chat on and on about products and adventures even if a sale isn’t imminent. The idea: A connected customer will be a long-term customer.”

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