Boost marketing this holiday season with these retail-ready tips

The holidays are coming up fast. While consumers are still preoccupied with the back-to-school routine, forward-thinking marketers know it’s time to step up a gear.

Cost-conscious shoppers will flock to savings events like Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday to take full advantage of the deals. Therefore, the effective promotion of discounted products will be crucial for the success of retailers.

To make the most of the holiday season and rise above the noise of a crowded market, marketers need to adopt relationship marketing strategies that put the customer at the center of everything. Relationship marketing is about meeting customers where they are and treating them like a person, not a character.

Get tidy and “hot” contact lists

Retail marketers should now be cleaning up their contact list. Although not the most exciting task, it is essential. It is also imperative to clean up contact lists to improve email deliverability. According Cheetah Digital Consumer Trends Index 2022, email continues to take hold as the preferred channel for UK consumers to receive offers, content, incentives and rewards from brands. In fact, when it comes to driving sales, email beats paid social media and display advertising by up to 128% in the UK.

Retailers can start cleaning their database of stale or outdated data and warming up their contact list to avoid deliverability issues. More so, they should consider implementing a zero-party data strategy to load the database with opt-ins and the psychographic and preference data needed to deliver better personalized offers that their customers actually want.

Crumble the Christmas cookie

By next Christmas, Google will have completely reduced third-party cookie tracking (Firefox and Safari have already done so). While this is a win for privacy-conscious consumers, it’s a headache for retail marketers committed to this strategy to fuel their advertising. These sweeping shifts in the martech and adtech industries reinforce the need for retail marketers to shift to a data-first, zero-party strategy.

First-party and zero-party data collection will also help them navigate a world without third-party cookies. The good news is that the majority of consumers are willing to trade personal and psychographic data when it presents the right exchange of value – especially if retail marketers promise to keep that data safe and private.

The brands that win this upcoming holiday season will be those that deliver truly personalized marketing and experiences that are timely, relevant, and based on the customer’s self-reported interests, motivations, and desires rather than inference or spying via third-party cookies.

Engage consumers with the right message on the right channel at the right time

When it comes to driving sales, email has always been one of the most effective channels, especially given its ability to hyper-personalize the content and offers consumers demand. It’s also still the favorite channel for older generations (Gen X and Boomers). However, younger consumers are being courted by text messages, with an increasing number of them making a purchase directly from a text message they received in the past year.

Boost personalization

True personalization offers products that your customer has expressed an interest in – derived from information about preferences and buying motivations that they have explicitly told you. It’s zero-party data, and it’s the way this holiday season to increase revenue and customer retention.

At the same time, retail marketers can also begin to leverage interactive experiences to opt in to consumers. Questionnaires, polls, quizzes, contests and social stories can incorporate reward mechanisms that give consumers a real reason to engage and submit their first and zero party data and opt in to your campaigns holiday marketing.

Now is also prime time to re-engage inactive customers. Retention will always produce a much higher return on investment than acquisition. So try to win back less engaged customers by asking questions, offering offers, and adding a personal touch. Segmentation by idle time will also be useful here.

Deliver a true omnichannel experience

Omnichannel should put the customer at the heart of your strategy, where all channels and touchpoints revolve around them, not just the product. Consumers interact with multiple touchpoints when interacting with a retail brand (social media, web, wallet, SMS, email, etc.). Each of these channels must be integrated to deliver a truly cohesive experience, allowing your customer to move seamlessly from one experience to another.

During the holiday frenzy, consumers of course love discounts. But the modern consumer expects loyalty rewards that go beyond points for prizes. Engaging interactive experiences, exclusive product access, personalized product recommendations, brand recognition and a sense of being part of a retail brand’s community are key to retention and lasting loyalty this year .

Master your reduction strategy

The days of retail marketers “sending and broadcasting” a single message to their entire database are hopefully a thing of the past. Customers’ lives are changing. This is why their learning is a perpetual process. This is where progressive profiling comes in.

Forward-thinking retail marketers are progressively profiling customer interests, preferences, motivations and desires. This allows them to ask the next best question to deepen their knowledge about an individual. New data gives marketers new reasons to deliver a more relevant message or offer.

This is also the perfect time to decide on a discount and value exchange strategy. Unsurprisingly, customers will love — and expect — discounts next month. But retail marketers can also add value with early or exclusive access to products, the opportunity to win a prize, loyalty rewards, and unlocking content.

Prepare your Santa Claus IP

With a few months to go before Santa Claus arrives, it’s important to make sure your IP address is ready for a high volume of email sending. ISPs expect a level of consistency in sending emails. Therefore, it is best to start warming up mailing lists with smaller batches before rapidly increasing the volume. Sudden, large increases in email sends can cause some providers to mark emails as spam.

Get ready for Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday

While Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday are still relatively new concepts in the UK, the excitement around these major retail days continues to grow. And these will undoubtedly be the most important days for email and SMS volume, transactions and revenue of the whole year. This is where marketers’ hard-earned first-party and zero-party data shines.

To ensure marketers continue to wow consumers, they need to focus on the best time to send their emails. A quarter of consumers have experienced frustration with brands due to communications sent at the wrong time of day. Between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m., email sending volume is low and engagement metrics are above baseline.

November is also a great time to ramp up email with dynamic content, offering products that consumers have expressed interest in. It is also important to note whether the products match their stated budgets. At the same time, marketers will find great success when they inject keywords that they know will drive engagement.

Finally, marketers should ensure that their SMS and email campaigns are not identical. Rather than simply mirroring email campaigns, SMS should be used as a follow-up to reinforce the message a day before an offer expires, serving as an urgent reminder.

Prepare for the rush

With a host of unique e-commerce days in December, there’s finally some time to unwind from the Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday fervor. Marketers can use this time wisely to communicate last chance shipping days to customers in messaging as well as on proprietary channels. And get ready to help them out with additional shopping options like express delivery, click-and-collect, curbside pickup, gift cards, and more.

This is also the perfect time to analyze Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday campaigns. Decipher what worked and what didn’t, then formulate a strategy to optimize and improve December campaigns.

‘Wrap’

Finally, wrap up campaigns with a heartfelt “thank you.” Campaigns with subject lines, expressing brand gratitude, show higher open and click-through rates than industry benchmarks.

digital cheetah, a world-class product solution owned by CM Group, helps marketers and brands go beyond transactional data to build thriving customer relationships at every touchpoint. With Cheetah Digital’s Customer Engagement Suite, marketers and brands have a comprehensive platform at their fingertips to create the most relevant, integrated and profitable customer experiences. It’s the most effective and sophisticated way to start building lasting customer relationships this holiday season and beyond.

Learn more by downloading your copy of The Relationship Marketing Handbook for 2022 Vacation Planning by Cheetah Digital.

Tim Glomb is Vice President of Content and Data, Cheetah Digital

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