Why do we have the sneaking suspicion that this year’s retail holiday “experience” is going to be a radical shift from those of the recent past? And what impact will that have on this year’s holiday campaign planning? New research suggests that there will indeed be some big differences—but some more traditional approaches will also remain vital.
Campaigner, the email marketing brand of internet services firm j2 Global, recently announced the results of its 2017 Christmas in July Survey, examining perspectives on what drives retail success over the holiday season—and revealing insights into how communicators can most effectively cash in on holiday marketing campaigns.
Unwrap holiday marketing strategies early
During the holidays, consumers are inundated with marketing and sales promotions making it extremely difficult to cut through noisy inboxes. Therefore, when it comes to holiday preparation, the earlier the better. In fact, one third of retailers who began preparing for the season before September reported a very successful 2016 compared to 22 percent who began preparing in September or later.
Additionally, this year email marketers are beginning to prepare for the holiday season sooner compared to 2016, with four percent more commencing campaign preparations before September, 2017.
Personalized email marketing makes the “nice list”
Despite the growing popularity behind social media, when it boils down to success rates, social media channels take the backseat to email marketing. Furthermore, 66 percent of those that were surveyed ranked email as more effective than other forms of advertising, including social media, online advertising, and print advertising.
However, simply blasting out email campaigns is not a method for success. With 40 percent of retailers listing personalization as the most effective way to boost email marketing efforts, it’s critical to personalize emails with a greeting and deliver concise messages that are simple to read and easy to grasp.
“The results from our survey indicate that while retailers are increasingly using social media channels, email still proves the dominant means for reaching consumers with holiday marketing campaigns,” said EJ McGowan, general manager of Campaigner, in a news release. “When it comes to the coveted element of personalization, email is the sole medium that allows this unparalleled ability for retailers to engage consumers.”
Social media? Check it twice
When it comes to leveraging social media for holiday marketing campaigns, advertising behemoth Facebook takes the cake. With 72 percent of retailers ranking it as the most effective social media platform and 88 percent planning to invest marketing spend into the social media giant, Facebook proves it’s the place to be for brands that want to get the most bang for their social buck during the holidays. Instagram and Twitter follow closely behind with projected investment rates of 46 percent and 37 percent respectively for the 2017 holiday season.
Although Facebook may be shining bright, the outlook for alternate social channels is not quite as merry. While still a nascent player in the social media arena, only three percent of respondents plan to invest in Snapchat this holiday season. Additionally, image-heavy Pinterest saw investment projections of 16 percent.
Promotions are the reason for a lucrative season
When it comes to marketing campaigns, identifying and aligning the holidays with seasonal marketing strategies and ecommerce promotions is another big revenue driver. As a matter of fact, 62 percent of retailers found early preparation of marketing content and promotions as the most helpful resource for the holiday season—38 percent more than those that chose having a mobile responsive website. Additionally, 59 percent of retailers plan to prioritize promotions and discounts this holiday season.
“These findings shed light on the cruciality behind businesses giving themselves ample time to prepare for the holiday season,” said Seamas Egan, associate director of revenue operations at Campaigner, in the release. “Acting on these insights within a lengthy timeline will ensure that holiday campaigns are successful from the perspective of both retailer and recipient.”
Campaigner Email Marketing conducted its 2017 Christmas in July survey sampling 564 members of its customer base and extracting 100 retailers for the purpose of this study. The margin of error is +/- 4%.