3 tips to boosting sales this Holiday season

I recently had the opportunity to listen in on a webinar on holiday budget planning. Of course, it’s something that’s on every B2C marketer’s mind towards the end of the year, but the webinar analyzes why planning campaigns just at the end of the year might be too late. The webinar, appropriately titled “Your 4-Month Digital Media Plan for the Holiday Season”, talks about developing a holiday marketing plan over a 4-month period.

First, lets face some stats. In the United States, holiday sales hit $251.3 billion dollars last year. With sales almost quadrupling the $69 billion dollar back-to-school season, it is important for B2C companies to take advantage of the busiest time of the year.

The 4-month strategy

In the 4 months leading up to the holiday season, there are 3 key steps to ensure you are taking full advantage of the increase in online traffic and spending.

  • September and October: Gain brand awareness and showcase product benefits
  • November to early December: Target consumers (or gift receivers) with content or ads that further develops interest. Target buyers (or gift givers) with promos, if possible. Brainstorm ways to enhance conversation between the two parties regarding holiday gifts.
  • December: Get into sales mode. Influence last-minute shoppers with sales-level messaging. Help gift givers find alternate retail channels if the gift is sold out at their preferred locations.

Generating demand –If you push, they will pull

Some of the most successful toys sold during the holiday season include both – trends like the PS3 and fads like Zhu Zhu pets and Tickle Me Elmo. But regardless of whether it was a trend or a fad, all of these toys have one thing in common – all of them generated demand.

Top ten toys

Even though these products generated demand all year round, during Christmas, they became the toys every child (or teen) had to have. Parents were more than willing to pay above the retail price to make sure their child got the toy they wanted. This can only be made possible through a 2-stage awareness strategy.

First, the goal is to make the product the item of desire that the gift receiver wants. This is accomplished by marketing directly to them through their preferred marketing channels.  Second, the gift giver needs to know that the receiver desires the item. Traditionally, this is done when the receiver verbally conveys or hints to the giver that they desire the item. The receiver may also choose to convey his desires for an item during group-based activities such as watching videos online – where an ad for the desired product plays before the video starts.

As an advertiser, it is important to act as a “conversation starter” between the gift giver and receiver to make sure of the following: the gift receiver gets the gift he/she wants, the gift buyer gives the right gift that satisfies the receiver, and your company increases its sales and product demand significantly.

Gaining brand awareness

Online video:

  • Video works best for generating interest in tech products, driving apparel sales, and pushing TV shoppers to act.
  • Video messaging is initially PUSH marketing, but eventually leads to PULL marketing where consumers ask retailers whether they have the product in stock.

The webinar additionally explores 2 types of online video formats that work best at increasing brand awareness.

Branded Content:

  • Branded content has the ability to create demand in consumers without them even realizing it.
  • Product messaging is promoted through advertorials, content integration, and product placements that are conducted through external trustworthy sources.

Targeting interested consumers with promos

Retargeting helps you re-advertise to consumers who may have recently shown interest in your product.

  • In September and October, the goal is to get consumers interested in your product through targeted advertising, with the intention of bringing them to your website to learn more about the product. Retargeting should be used constantly after the visitor leaves your website (without making a purchase) to further drive brand awareness.
  • In November, the goal is to use retargeting from a sales perspective. Consider using promotions and special offers to convert previously interested consumers into a sale.

Influence last minute shoppers

To enhance brand awareness, marketers should think about ways to target consumers through alternate channels that are more personal and less cluttered with competitors. Quite different from traditional online and offline channels, hyper-local targeting uses mobile display advertising to reach consumers, depending on where they are, what they are doing, and whenthey are doing it. Hence, hyper-local targeting is three-dimensional, targeting the following factors:

  • Location (where): Consumers are targeted based on where they are, whether at home, at work, or on the road.
  • Context (what): Consumers are targeted based on their current activities
  • Time (when): Consumers are targeted based on the time of the day, whether it is morning, afternoon, evening, or night.

Apart from all this great information on marketing during the holiday season, the webinar also uncovered over 25 astonishing stats about consumer behaviour during the holiday season. To watch the entire webinar, visit the webinar page.