First, the sheer mass of information in the mailstream generates a wave of insight into other retailers’ marketing plans, offering strategy and merchandising decisions. This rare look into customer communications across the entire email landscape provides more than just a glimpse at what close competitors are doing. Messages in adjacent categories, from top performing brands, and even by senders that aren’t retailers, show the outcome of months of testing and preparation for seasonal campaigns. At the very least, others’ tactics can help validate holiday marketing plans; in some cases they can reveal that campaigns addressing specific competitors or situations are off-target and need to be adjusted.
Second, seeing what other brands are sending to their subscribers is only part of what makes the opening days of the holiday season a strategic opportunity. Seeing how competitors' subscribers react to specific campaigns is vital to turning those observations into revised plans. Marketers with the capacity to model other brands’ tactics and resulting subscriber engagement to their own tests and campaigns can apply what they learn to make adjustments, but there’s a way to dramatically increase confidence in these decisions. Monitoring how shared customers or subscribers engage with different messaging to see which promotions, products, pricing, and presentations resonate when they compete directly for attention yields strong, clear direction. Think about a case where subscribers ignore messages offering a specific product at a discount, but actively engage with other messages in their inboxes offering the same product in a bundle or with free shipping.
This is a rapid response opportunity. The marketer in this example can follow better-performing competitors, reset the price, promote a different product, or take other corrective actions in successive email campaigns and improve performance almost immediately. The email team can even share these results with search marketing groups and others that can pivot quickly and use insights like these to respond to competitive tactics.Not all marketers have the ability to gather intelligence during the first weekend of the holiday season and take corrective action to maximize revenue during the next 10 to 20 days, but those that do can shore up weak efforts and exploit newly discovered competitive advantages to outmaneuver competitors within this incredibly competitive three-week window. For them the key to a successful holiday season may be spending first few days after Thanksgiving analyzing subscriber engagement data instead of counting orders.