Tis the Season to be Marketing

As the holiday season ramps up so should marketing efforts. Tis the season to be insightful when it comes to your target market and to leverage those insights in your marketing approach.

Here are three things to consider when marketing for the upcoming holiday season:

Don’t Dismiss Feelings

When it comes to marketing, holiday or otherwise, retailers will most often create a sense of urgency using phrases such as “buy now” or “for a limited time only”. The idea behind this is creating an emotional response from consumers to drive traffic.  This method however is not an effective one as studies have shown that urgency as an emotion generates the least response from consumers.

Playing on emotions and the use of emotional language in marketing can be beneficial, but its embracing the correct emotions that matters most.  Emotion as a sales strategy is particularly useful when it comes to marketing for millennials who appear to be most interested in forming personal connections with a brand and expect trustworthiness before creating any loyalty to it.  This is where consumer insights play an important role.  The more data available to marketers about their consumer base, the easier it becomes to run more targeted campaigns that will create those emotional bonds.

In instances where data is lacking, and marketing cannot be specifically targeted or personalized, a generic approach is still preferable over creating that sense of urgency.  Rather than an “act now” type of marketing message, try something like “surprise someone with the perfect gift”

Market to Moms and Dads

While magical Christmas elves and letters to Santa would have us believe that the holiday season is all about children, it isn’t, at least not when it comes to marketing.

Yes, it’s the children unwrapping boxes with ribbons and bows likely containing items they’ve already sourced online via a smartphone or tablet, but, its their parents who are doing the buying; and it is for this reason that marketing should be geared towards them.

Before they are spending, they are researching, and sourcing and it is this pre-purchase phase where retailers should be directing marketing efforts.  Retailers should not overlook the fact that while a buyer may visit a brand site with the intent to purchase a specific product, they may still be swayed to purchase other items if properly marketed.  Yes, it is important to showcase what is trending, but provide potential customers with an opportunity to see all the wares available.

Email marketing campaigns should also be targeting buyers with direct messages rather than trying to be too clever or cheeky and they should also be making emails and apps mobile-friendly.

Timing is Key

In marketing, as with most things, timing is key and marketing messages should adapt accordingly.  Holiday marketing should go beyond the obvious Christmas or Hanukkah marketing to also encapsulate key shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The messaging leading up to and during these time frames should change accordingly for example focusing on the importance of discount pricing the closer it gets to retail events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  As well, the closer it gets to the holiday the more important it becomes to focus more on sale pricing than on brand messaging as shoppers are merely looking to check items off their gift lists.

Timing also refers to the process for shoppers, particularly those who are online shopping.  It’s about clicking through to the checkout as quickly as possible and providing a positive user experience i.e. refined search capabilities and navigation speed.

Retailers with data on their target audience can also specifically time out their marketing efforts making their message more relevant.  For example, health and wellness brands can use data taken from a device like a smart watch to make a personalized pitch of products or services that help with the maintenance of overall health and well-being.  This is yet another example of creating a connection with the consumer.

Taking these factors into consideration will help to create a successful holiday marketing campaign.

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