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The 12 marketing predictions of Christmas

2nd Dec 2014
Managing editor
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The holiday season is fast approaching and marketing professionals will no doubt be gearing up for the big day. Christmas gives industry professionals the chance to be colourful and creative in producing campaigns that will hopefully draw scores of festive consumers. Our recent Retail Connect event can back this up, as four of the seven presentations were focused around Christmas plans and targets.

Shopping behaviours change at Christmas and this comes as a gift for marketers. Goods are usually bought with a lack of inspiration so advice and ideas are often as welcome to consumers as savings in time and costs.

As a helping hand, I’ve come up with 12 top predictions for marketers to shed light on what to expect this Christmas.

  1. Mobile – Mobile has really taken off the in past two years. Fast access to data and rapid download speeds, have seen a surge in the number of consumers turning to their smartphones and tablets. Online sales have increased on average by 19% in the past two years. All this is good news for markets as it enhances the mobile retail experience.
  2. Personalisation – Advertising which is tailored and personalised for consumers has grown year on year. Marketers are now talking to customers on an individual basis by presenting them with information to suit their interests and aspirations. The concept is only heightened during the holiday season but concerns around data privacy will need to be recognised and addressed for consumers
  3. Vouchers – Marketers will be looking to entice customers with multiple vouchers, especially online where they’ll promise free delivery. It’s a technique used to enhance the convenience of online shopping. Voucher offers for more purchases is a technique used by brands to maximise average basket values.
  4. Click and collect – It’s all about speed and convenience of service. As consumers work closer and closer to the big day, they won’t be around at home to sign for that all important delivery so the click and collect from your nearest store option becomes a popular one. Marketers must promote this invaluable service across all platforms and must keep it local.
  5. New channels – Managing the increased volumes of consumer communications which come from the left, right and centre can be a challenge. Marketers need to be on top of all these channels, which include online, on mobile and in store, as consumers constantly hop from one to the other. We’re expecting the online Christmas period to be short but big this year as shoppers leave it later and later to buy. As such, marketers must ensure they’re speaking to consumers on all levels as channel hopping spikes in the run up to Christmas.
  6. Socialising – Social commerce is booming. Friends are constantly sharing and posting information across Facebook and Twitter. For marketers this is a great opportunity but the main issue they face is how to best enable consumers to advocate their brand or product. Sharing is free so prompting consumers to promote specific products and rewarding them for sales is the next step, and one which some have taken. Absolute transparency is needed to make this truly work.
  7. Metrics and data – You can obtain a lot of information by using metrics for your marketing campaigns this Christmas. Clarity on where money is being spent is so important to marketers on a tight budget so using metrics such as the ‘cost per lead’ or ‘cost per download’ can be great way to make sure everything is in check. Vast volumes of real-time data, both structured and unstructured, is delivered by technology, social media, tracked affiliate and performance marketing and online and mobile commerce. For marketers, it’s all about looking at all metrics and data  in real-time to evaluate and optimise, and therefore taking advantage of live situations. Christmas provides marketers with an opportunity to gather information, not just on what matters most to their customers, but on what matters to the people their customers’ most care about.
  8. The economy – In today’s climate, marketers need to find a way of creating campaigns that are cost-effective. The best option for marketers looking to communicate with a wider audience for little cost is affiliate and performance marketing. As previously mentioned, social media or consumer-to-consumer campaigns could also prove successful. And it’s not just the marketers who’ll be keeping a close eye on their spending – price matters to consumers too and marketers should know their audience’s budget.
  9. Brands – Marketers must understand that brand loyalty and reputation are becoming increasingly important as a differentiator. Building brand reputations and loyalty can be just as important in the long run as sales this Christmas.
  10. Simplicity, speed and security – The marketing industry’s three s’s. They are the three main consumer needs that every campaign should meet, and are as true for in-store shopping as they are for online, mobile or affiliate channels. We all know that Christmas shopping can be extremely stressful so campaigns that minimise this will reap the rewards.
  11. Technology – Marketers should be making the most of the technology available to them. It can provide real-time data and insight regarding consumer trends and behaviour; delivering valuable feedback on sales and campaign success. Marketers can track where sales are coming from and reward partners, such as affiliates or consumers, accordingly.
  12. Consumer power – Intelligent gathering, analysis and use of consumer data will generate an understanding of how consumers interact with your brand through both direct and affiliate channels.

Dan Cohen is regional director of affiliate marketing specialists Tradedoubler.

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