Multi-Channel Marketing This Holiday Season
Updated: Jan 14
The holiday season is quickly approaching, and for many retailers, crunch time began in July. However, with the Coronavirus impacting the way consumers go about their daily life, this holiday season is bound to be much different than in previous years, Black Friday and Cyber Monday in particular. Amazon Prime Day has been pushed back to October, and a study posted in a Salesforce article predicts that Amazon Prime could steal up to 10% of Cyber Week’s digital revenue. With this in mind, companies should be preparing solid marketing strategies that will direct more traffic to their business. The National Retail Federation reported that more consumers are predicted to shop online this holiday season in light of the global pandemic, and retailers and marketers are feeling the pressure as they work to take on an unprecedented holiday season. For marketers to effectively reach their target audience, utilizing multiple channels will be crucial.
There are many things for marketers to consider in reference to multi-channel marketing this time of year. Mary Sheehan, a writer for Adobe, highlighted some evolving marketing strategies based on a study they conducted for the holiday season. The study points out some important things to keep in mind while marketing across different channels, with an emphasis on using digital marketing, as most consumers will be shopping online.
Firstly, there is less of a demand for new brands this year, nearly half of what it was last holiday season. Retention and engagement strategies will be critical when it comes to keeping customers interested in your product. The data from the study indicates that 40% of consumers are looking for messages that distract them from the harsh reality that this season will be different, compared to a sympathetic approach. This so-called “distraction advertising” will be even more important for Gen Z and Millenials. Even so, it is important to tailor the message to your specific audience. 68% of shoppers anticipate that they will appreciate holiday marketing, but only 46% will act if the information is personalized to their needs.
In addition to tailoring your message directly to the consumer, an emphasis on value is imperative, as budgeting has become more common due to the pandemic. This year specifically, more than half of shoppers are more likely to buy a product that has free shipping and discounts included. The National Retail Federation reported that more consumers are predicted to shop online this holiday season in light of the global pandemic, placing a higher emphasis on the option to buy online or pick up in-store. This tendency has increased by 259% since last July. Customers are predicted to begin shopping earlier this year due to concerns about longer shipping periods.
Sheehan points out that multi-channel marketing is vital this year more than ever. 48% of shoppers report spending most of their time on smart TV’s that include apps such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and 41% attribute the greatest impact on purchasing from an online search. Marketers must understand how different channels work together across a customer journey and work on engaging them in order to effectively reach their audience. Utilizing social media, influencer marketing, and public relations across many channels will help entice customers to choose your product over the plethora of competitors.
Social Media: Social media marketing will be more important than ever with most consumers choosing online shopping methods and spending more time on electronic devices. Afshana Diya at Wedevs talks about different things to remember in light of a holiday social media campaign.
Using a hashtag that represents your brand, content, and the campaign can boost engagement and help businesses track the conversation circling the campaign. Starbucks used its #GiveGood campaign to encourage their followers to design their own holiday cups and featured the best ones on their social media profiles.
Incorporate exclusive deals for followers on social to encourage them to be a part of the movement. HubSpot created a #HolidayHub for their users that included a variety of holiday marketing tools such as a Holiday Trend Tracker, free holiday stock photos, templates, and a countdown calendar. This was a great way for them to add value to their brand while engaging e-commerce customers.
Host a social media contest around the campaign for a chance to win products, and the more interactive the better. Lush created a contest using their infamous bath bombs, asking their followers to post their bath art along with the campaign hashtag #swishuponastar for a chance to win a trip for 2 to the Lush factory.
Influencer Marketing: Influencer marketing gives businesses a chance to interact with niche customers and gain rapport through the credibility of the influencer. NeoReach gives examples of how to coordinate with influencers, highlighting some holiday collaborations.
The Secret Life of Pets: The movie had one of the most successful openings at the box office due to their collaboration with some furry influencers. One feature, @itsdougthepug, was one of the top holiday campaigns in 2016. All posts promoting the upcoming movie used the hashtag #SecretLifeOfMyPet, which was used over 5,000 times on Instagram. You can view the adorable holiday post here.
Colgate: Oral health company, Colgate, paired up with a variety of influencers to highlight their teeth-whitening products just in time for the holidays. Lifestyle influencer Aspyn Ovard used her platform to discuss the Optic White High Impact toothbrush and whitening pen and recommended this as a holiday gift. Her devoted followers were inclined to check out the products themselves!
Legos: Legos are a popular gift for children as is, but the brand does a great job at collaborating with influencers to display the added value of their products. Stylist and fashionista Ginger Parrish posted a heartwarming photo of her children playing with the Legos in some holiday attire. To add to the relevance, Parrish wrote a blog discussing how she utilizes Legos to keep her children busy while she prepares for the holiday season, really encouraging her readers to utilize the product.
Public Relations: Public Relations is another important way to interact with customers and provide some positive word-of-mouth for your business. Using the holiday spirit to generate publicity is an easy way to add some personality to your brand.
Holiday Gift Guides: Gift guide campaigns are a great way to generate impressions with customers while persuading them to spend their holiday savings. Found in this HubSpot article, WeWork took advantage of this idea with their #WWGiftGuide campaign. WeWork published an article in their magazine for entrepreneurs, Creator, titled “Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Gifts with Personal Touch.” WeWork published different segments over the course of two weeks and included products from WeWork member companies to highlight their partnerships. As a B2B brand, WeWork found their niche within holiday promotion.
Help Create Holiday Memories: If your store is open this holiday season, add some interactive holiday decor such as the mini North Pole or cut-outs of famous holiday characters like Santa and the elves. Since more companies will be marketing online, generate filters or video content that customers can interact with. A timeless example of this is ElfYourself, an app where users can upload their faces and get videos of them dancing to their favorite holiday tunes dressed as elves.
Giving Back: M&M did a great job offering value to their customers through their Red Nose Day fund. Their followers were encouraged to make someone laugh, post the story on social media with the hashtag #MakeEmLaugh with the incentive of M&M donating a dollar to the fund per every post.
Although this year is bound to be different, the holiday season will allow great opportunities for businesses to market themselves and spread some much-needed holiday cheer. Incorporating a marketing mix of social media, public relations, influencer marketing, and more are bound to generate some promising results for any holiday campaign.