The Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Engage Customers: Tips for Holiday Marketing

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Marketers, are you ready? It’s that time of year again. With the National Retail Federation expecting holiday sales to increase between 3.6 and 4% from last year, consumers will be shopping more and spending more money, meaning marketers and brands must work harder to connect prospective customers before their competition does. But, to attract and retain consumers during this season, brands can’t miss a moment with their audience.

Here are some of the technologies and techniques marketers must adopt to win over customers this holiday season:

1. Get Relevant or Get Ignored

This won’t be the last time you hear this saying. When you personalize the customer experience, your customers will understand you respect their time. Have you ever found the perfect gift for a loved one, added it to your cart, forgot about it, and sadly found out it was sold out the next time you logged on? It’s unfortunate but happens far too often.

Amazon constantly wins when it comes to personalized customer experience. If a shopper puts an item in the cart and logs out, Amazon reminds her it’s there, but selling quickly. Additionally, the company integrates recommendations across the buying experience: from product searches to the final purchase, showcasing a seamless process and demonstrating its understanding of customers’ needs.

A retailer that also stands out when it comes to relevance is Neiman Marcus. The brand reaches its customers by delivering real-time, personalized videos to passive browsers of its website and transforms them into active shoppers by highlighting specific designers, seasonal promotions, and a buy-online-pick-up-in-store service. This campaign drove incremental online revenue and increased brand awareness with a highly targeted audience, revealing the power of personalized videos.

2. Mobile Will Still Dominate, but Experience Matters Most

Every marketing message should be optimized for every device. However, with 76% of mobile shoppers changing their mind about who to buy from based on the user experience—not just how it looks on the device and optimization—user experience plays a huge role in the purchasing decision this holiday season.

This holiday season, a barely personalized message or video about a product or service consumers want—or want to give their loved ones—won’t persuade them into buying anything. By contrast, a personal video probably will, if it taps into an anticipated experience, such as a video showcasing how much use they will get out of the ski gear they’ve been eyeing. In fact, we have found that personalized videos that relate back to something a customer is experiencing or will experience can drive up to 20 times incremental revenue growth, a 22% reduction in customer churn, and a 19% increase in digital adoption. 

3. Create Video Content That Taps Into Emotion

Over 50% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI, and that number is only growing. Video is the most compelling storytelling medium, with a combination of sight, sound, and motion that captivates viewers and evokes their emotions.

Think about the last time you watched a video and shared or liked it over social media. What was the reasoning behind the engagement? Did you laugh? Feel sentimental? Emotions are contagious, and consumers—people like you and me—love to watch and share content that inspires us.

And, the holiday season is that time of year where brands battle it out to win over customers through “giving back” and “feel good” campaigns. I always think back to last year’s John Lewis #BusterTheBoxer video. To this day, it’s still one of the most widely shared holiday videos. But, imagine if you can personalize or make that video relevant to a specific viewer. It can spark emotions that drive purchasing decisions and brand loyalty.

4. Embrace Consumer Laziness This Holiday Season

I don’t mean this in a negative way. Thanks to innovations like Alexa, Siri, Google, and Cortana, consumers’ habits have completely changed—people will take the easiest and most hassle-free path to get what they want—especially during the holiday season. The issue is marketers are only slowly catching up and not capitalizing on human laziness.

The way consumers shop is constantly evolving. Think about it: you’re ordering your favorite brand of wine for your holiday party through Alexa. All you need to say is, “Alexa, order me [insert brand name here] bottle,” rather than go to the nearest liquor store to pick it up or even order it online. Marketers need to keep up with this evolution. Catering to customers and getting them what they want, when they want it, with the least amount of effort on their end will be essential this holiday season and into the next year. As such, marketers need to develop these automation strategies now.

The holiday season is competitive but mission-critical. Consumers are distracted. For retailers to shine brightly this holiday season—despite technology evolving and competition heating up—they must deliver content in an entertaining, valuable and relevant way. Video isn’t the only medium, but it’s the most successful storytelling medium with the potential to combine big data and automation with the emotion of sight, sound, and motion.

What holiday marketing plans do you have for your business this year? What has worked in the past for you? I would love to hear your plans in the comments.

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