Tips For Making It Through The Holiday Season

With retailers counting heavily on this season to tide them over through next year, it has become critical to make it a successful trading period. Many retailers have already incorporated mobile and voice campaigns into their holiday marketing mix, recognizing that these media are increasingly accepted by U.S. consumers as welcome and preference-based communications.

For retailers, the ability to deliver welcomed messages that provide value at a time when consumers need it most -- is key. And for the company's clients, who make up many of the country's major retailers, speed to market and significantly low advertising costs is what they want right now.

To support retailers and existing clients, SmartReply has released an industry guide called "How to Survive and Thrive the 2008 Holiday Marketing Season," outlining steps that businesses should action right now to make it a successful holiday season:

  1. Know your customers' media habits and maximize them. Be sure you have a clear understanding of how, when and where your customers use media. Then create an integrated marketing campaign that will engage them through the channels of their choice at a time when it is most relevant for them.
  2. Speak their lingo. You have more than one type of customer and you will generate increased effectiveness and revenue if you speak directly to their individual needs. Understand your customers' attitudes, lifestyle and behaviors and maximize them in your message and in the channels you use.
  3. Prep your program. Sixty days prior to your campaign launch is a good time to start cleansing your data, reactivating inactive customers, soliciting new opt-ins, and testing. By the time the launch date arrives, your campaign - and your database - will be polished and ready.
  4. Permission granted. Get on it. Don't wait. When a customer opts in to receive communications from you, don't wait. Respond immediately in the same channel they opted in from.
  5. Engage, but don't push. Today's customers want to feel that they are a part of the relationship and the product choices they make. Get them involved with surveys, viral campaigns, and social media that help them connect with their friends and family.
  6. Help them manage their lives. Your customers are the ultimate multi-taskers. You can ensure you're one of the few brands they enjoy interacting with by helping them organize their lives with alerts, early bird wake-up calls, store locators, and more.
  7. Customize, localize and make it relevant. To conquer media fragmentation, you must ensure that you're message stands out enough to capture your customer's undivided attention. Target your customers' emotional hot button; aim to solve a problem they're struggling with; or feed a need.
  8. Make it viral. Coupons, surveys, mobile blogs, text games, even photos of the latest fashions...if it's important or fun to them, your customers will share it. And there's nothing more trusted than a message from a friend. Encourage and incentivize your customers to share your message.
  9. Come full circle. Use each medium to drive business in another medium. Customers active via multiple channels result in longer brand engagement, deeper interaction, higher spending and higher customer lifetime value.
  10. Keep the relationship burning strong long after the holiday rush is over. The holidays may be gone, but the valuable relationship you have with your customers is ongoing. Since your brand is fresh in their mind, continue to keep them engaged.
  11. While there is no simple way to recession-proof the holiday season, there are some business and marketing practices that just make better sense. And cents.



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