What are the key factors of success during busy shopping seasons?

What are the key factors of success during busy shopping seasons

Black Friday is a highlight of all marketing calendars. The concept was created in the USA and has since become a shopping staple in Europe and everywhere else in the world, impacting the revenue of brands globally. And it is not just about one single day: consumers can benefit from generous offers and discounts starting the previous Monday up until Cyber Monday, the Monday that follows Black Friday and that brings interesting discounts on e-commerce websites.

Other shopping holidays such as summer or winter sales are good opportunities for brands to generate revenue. Here are some important factors of success.

First, it is important for a brand to know how to stand out during busy shopping seasons. As most advertisers communicate around their special offers, a brand should send out relevant and targeted messages that bring added value to the consumer. The second question that marketers should ask themselves is whether their campaigns actually affect sales volumes. During periods that are generally characterized by a peak in transactions, is it possible to say that a specific campaign generated the extra conversions?

Here are five steps that would allow you to be more efficient in your marketing communication.

1 - Build relevant targets

Digital marketing has lowered the marginal cost of communication, but it has also made it more important to adopt an efficient and precise targeting strategy.

Among the types of data that can be used to build targets, behavioural and transactional criteria have a central role: should a brand target its most active customers to boost revenues or should it concentrate its efforts on its least engaged customers in order to encourage them to purchase?

There is no easy answer to the problem of targeting, but it is often relevant to target clients who are sensitive to discounts during sales periods such as Black Friday.

Test protocols allow to score the sensitivity to discounts of specific client segments. These segments are the most likely to enjoy Black Friday communications and find them useful.

2 - Personalize your messaging

An efficient targeting strategy is the first milestone in the process of building a solid customer relationship. Personalizing is the second step.

Many consumers spot products that they want before a sales period begins so they can be the first to order them with a discount. They might, for instance, visit an e-commerce website and go through product pages that are interesting to them. When the time comes, a brand might target those consumers with an SMS, email or display campaign personalized to the product they have already visited.

Product personalization can be enriched thanks to recommendation algorithms that suggest products that a given client is likely to enjoy. But other elements can also be personalized to optimize the brand-consumer relationship using declarative data, interests, geolocation data, preferred contact channels, preferred purchasing channels…

3 - Be omnichannel

Your contacts each have distinct preferences when it comes to communication channels.

The same person can be unreactive to emails but react frequently to programmatic advertising.

The key to omnichannel orchestration is to adapt to individual preferences and to contact people through their preferred channels only.

When you have several ways of reaching a consumer, you must think about omnichannel orchestration. This also allows you to regulate commercial pressure and to avoid sending the same message on all channels, thus being less repetitive or intrusive. There is an optimal volume for marketing communications after which messaging destroys a customer relationship: this is the central thesis of the article “Enough is Enough”, published in 2011 in the Journal Of Marketing by Andrea Godfrey, Glenn B. Voss et Kathleen Seiders.

Adding an extra channel also broadens the reach of a campaign by multiplying the touchpoints between a brand and a consumer. A proper omnichannel orchestration allows you to optimize the returns of a campaign by investing only on the channels to which each consumer is the most reactive.

4 - Master stress timing

Only a few days left for you to master stress timing before Black Friday! If shopping holidays are so successful, it is partly because of the buzz that is created around a restricted time period. The aim for consumers is to get ahold of the best discounts before it’s too late… or before anyone else does.

DCO (Dynamic Creative Optimization) is a method for updating banners or emails in real-time. Think of countdown timers that, when integrated to an email, count down the number of days, hours or minutes that are left for a client to get a discount.

If an offer or a product is available in limited quantities, it is possible to display the remaining quantities in real-time. The content of the email or banner is updated automatically every time an article is purchased.

Stress timing is not necessarily synonymous with stress. On the contrary, if the journey is gamified it becomes a playful tool that boosts customer engagement and offers an immersive experience.

5 - Craft a long term storytelling!

What is true for interpersonal relationships also holds true for relationships between a brand and its customers. Opportunistic behaviours, whether perceived or real, destroy the value of the relationship. Busy shopping seasons are a boon for marketers who want quick wins, but it is also important for those same marketers to sustain these efforts in the long run.

If all communications are transactional and only take place at a certain time of the year, it would be hard to build an efficient client relationship that fosters loyalty and engagement. It is important to nurture engagement during calmer periods. These low seasons are the right time to send relational messages that craft a compelling brand storytelling.

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