Don’t look now direct marketers but the holiday season is officially upon us. I know, I know it feels like you just closed out Q3. If that weren't stressful enough, your 2012 forecasting initiatives are in full swing. It’s OK to feel a little overwhelmed. Here’s something that might make you breathe easier. According to Epsilon’s Holiday Trend Report 2011, cross-channel marketing programs and increases in consumer spending suggest that the holiday shopping season will be strong. Still, direct marketers shouldn't simply rely on retail predictors. There are five strategies you should leverage to ensure happy and healthy holiday returns.
- Lock In Your Media Early - At the risk of stating the obvious, the holiday season is highly competitive. The sooner you figure out which media to go with, the better your campaign will perform. This is not the time to stray from your target audience. Make sure your media buys fall in line with your key consumer demographics.
- Pony Up for Premium Placements – If you have the spend, it would be wise to invest it on big ticket advertising days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the last Saturday before Christmas. The price tag may give you pause but the ROI you’re nearly certain to generate will cover your initial ad costs. Besides, your competitors won’t hesitate so you shouldn't either.
- Use a Multi-Channel Blanket Approach – Direct marketers accustomed to television advertising should consider adding search to the holiday mix. Research by iProspect revealed that almost 40% of those surveyed searched for and purchased a product online after being influenced by a television commercial. By incorporating search, you can get a stocking up on the competition acquiring more customers and maximizing your spend.
- Keep Your Brand At the Top Of Your Customer’s Holiday List – The holidays are stressful for direct marketers but they’re no picnic for consumers. The down economy has given rise to savvier, deal-conscious customers. Don’t take their customer and brand loyalty for granted. Implement daily contact and re-contact email marketing and CRM messaging to stay top of mind with your consumers. Also, post engaging content on your Facebook page and tweet special holiday offers to your followers. Let your brand ambassadors help spread the word and, hopefully, revenue-driving cheer.
- Make Your Creatives Festive – Seasonal imagery and content should be part of your customer engagement strategy. Involve your creative department in the campaign process. If you do not have creative in-house, it could be worthwhile to outsource creative from an agency specializing in multi-channel marketing approaches. Their familiarity with both advertising and creative best practices will help you sidestep technical issues that could negatively impact campaign performance. This is especially critical with time-sensitive holiday campaigns.
When it comes to effective holiday marketing, the sooner you can set a plan in motion the better. If you've been procrastinating, it’s not too later to get the most out of the season. Holiday forecasting is on your side. But to really make your direct marketing sales merry and bright, consider incorporating some or all of these steps into your seasonal strategy.