3 Key Tactics For D2C Marketers This Holiday Season

Talking about the holidays in August always feels a little strange, but planning ahead is more important -- and challenging -- than ever.

For marketers, the holiday season represents a time when media opportunities and product seasonality converge in a perfect customer acquisition storm. But this year is complicated: How can companies revise creative to stay with the times, without seeming performative? What will happen to media traditionally consumed during our commutes?

The tactics below are among the most powerful for direct-to-consumer brands, and each offers room for growth amidst the uncertainty of Q4.

I am not the first to say it, and won’t be the last: The power of podcast advertising is real. The trends in this space, while staggering, aren’t surprising. EMarketer predicts U.S. podcast ad spending will surpass $1 billion in 2021, compared to less than half that in 2018.

The popularity of podcasts isn’t slowing down, and platforms like Spotify attribute much of their own growth to investment in this space. The consistent increase in listenership, coupled with success against brand goals, solidifies podcasts as a much-needed reliable advertising source heading into Q4.



Partnering with podcast hosts for personal endorsement has long been the gold standard, but now, developments in audience-based buying have unleashed new scale potential within the medium.

Another environment where consumption and ad revenue continue to climb is digital video and OTT, where viewers access premium video content via internet-enabled devices including connected TVs and streaming hardware.

Top streaming platforms are experiencing continued growth in active accounts (Roku now surpasses 43mm!). Thirty-two percent of U.S. TV households have cut the cord from traditional TV services

Platforms like Hulu and YouTube have invested in live content (ahem, sports), which helps make their services competitive with traditional cable. Concerns about financial stability during COVID-19 are driving viewers to reevaluate home entertainment expenses and turn to lower-cost options. The trajectory of this medium, and an array of opportunities ranging from highly efficient to ultra-flashy, make OTT a can’t-miss tactic.

During a time when differentiation defines brands, partnerships play an integral role. Custom content and sponsorships can evolve traditional advertising into an organic part of pop culture.

Partnerships tap into the human element of media buys. They allow for topical storytelling and content that is relevant to the current climate, without needing to rework creative assets.

We are seeing opportunities for shorter-term commitments and advantageous pricing.

Selecting partnerships requires methodical research and negotiation, but the outcome can be incredibly powerful for both awareness and customer acquisition. Whether it’s through sponsoring an athlete or developing a storyline integration, the impact of partnerships is unmatched.

The changing landscape -- economically and politically -- has introduced countless new variables for marketers to consider. Investing in multiple avenues for advertising with an audience-first approach helps brands speak to their target regardless of media habits. Flexibility in creative messaging and strategic alignment ensures companies have a platform to make a statement.

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