The holiday shopping season may start in November for consumers, but for retailers, planning consumer engagement early is vital in order to come out of the season as a winner. In the 2011 holiday shopping season, over half of all consumers had at least one-quarter of their holiday shopping completed ahead of Black Friday. And November 28, which was Cyber Monday, was one of three days last year that had more than $1 billion in online sales.
In addition to early planning, using your own proprietary customer data, or first-party data, helps guarantee holiday success. For example, deploying display advertising that incorporates your customer data allows you to build on relationships established with customers from the last holiday season. The effectiveness of display advertising has been shown to be directly proportional to the personalized relevance of the ad, and the biggest advantage this holiday season will go to retailers who integrate their first-party customer data across all their marketing channels.
With your data in tow, here are other key factors that can contribute to successful holiday marketing.
1. Establish key performance indicators and measurable goals
Effective and accurate measurement of performance -- especially in the digital display space -- is critical to understanding what is working or isn’t working, how one channel is performing versus another, and where your biggest return is coming from. You can’t improve if you can’t measure. It’s critical to understand what you need to measure to evaluate your success and to ensure that you have the right measurement tools in place.
2. Commit to a digital advertising budget, with significant focus on mobile
Display, search and email advertising all help retailers to succeed during the holiday season.
The powerful wild card in an advertiser’s portfolio this year is mobile. Last year, 44% of last-minute gift searching was done on a mobile device. This year, the estimates for mobile device gift searching are expected to top fifty percent, and mobile devices are expected to account for at least 15% of day-after-Christmas sales.
3. Subscribe to flexible campaign management to leverage real-time opportunities and trends
Real-time intelligence is especially important in digital display. You can know what channels are getting the highest engagement, the most click-throughs and view-throughs, and most importantly, where you’re getting the lowest cost per sale. As the dynamics of customer behavior change, you want the flexibility to change accordingly to maximize reach, minimize cost, and stimulate the greatest number of sales -- not only across channels but also across devices.
4. Think of your advertising portfolio as a relationship engagement tool
Making the best use of the tools available to you -- both online and offline -- requires a customer relationship perspective. How have they interacted with you before? What have they purchased? How often do they visit your site? What emails have they responded to? Using your customer data and insights to not only plan your media, but to also drive your creative and the messages you deliver can multiply the results you experience not only during the holidays, but throughout the year.