2012 Holiday Marketing: Public Opinion

No matter what you do, how you do it or when you do it, you’re just a small part of the seasonal promotional onslaught that drowns the retail market in November and December. With all the noise, campaigns become indistinguishable and customers tend to look for the bargain. As far as your online presence goes, it shouldn’t be just about another ‘deal’, and in November – there’s certainly more to plan for than just Cyber Monday.

What’s A Deal to One – Isn’t A Deal To Another

The online ‘Deal’ Genie is truly out of the bottle. Just a few short years ago, the premise of a ‘collective-buying-power’ site seemed a foreign and ‘will never catch on’ upstart in the online world of overnight retail stars. Groupon’s international growth, billion dollar revenue and spawn of imitators led to the company to be valued at around $25 billion in April 2011. A year and a half later and its value has plummeted to around $3 billion, still not so little for a five-year-old company, yet this trend indicates the real effect of consumer fatigue. With imitators clamoring for their share of the pie, the Groupon or Livingsocial style of deal isn’t as rosy as it once was for online retailing.

Discounting your products or services on such sites can wreak havoc on your brand image and could cut into profit you may already receive from current customers. This can also lead to devaluing your brand over time. For many retailers using Groupon and other similar sites, it’s a loss-leader promotional tool – you don’t necessarily make money – but you get local or nationwide exposure. If you’re looking to take part in a Groupon or LivingSocial type deal, make sure you’ve done your homework and consider it as part of a marketing plan, not an income generator.

Twitter To Tills

Online promotions can drive revenue while deepening customer relationships with your store – especially if they’re fun, interactive and you’re not overtly selling. Social media platforms provide unique opportunities to attract fans and followers through innovative contests and promotions.

Increase your Twitter following and draw in a new consumer base through a Twitter-based campaign. Host a trivia game related to your locale or product, where followers can earn discounts or even receive prizes by solving the daily/weekly riddle. This will help promote your brand without devaluing it, and also draw the consumer to your store.

Is The House In Working Order?

If you have a website and this November (especially around cyber Monday week) are offering limited time coupons or discount codes, make sure you’re all set on the back-end of your site. Take the extra step in regards to quality assurance on all promotions. Make sure your links work and that following instructions produce the expected result. There’s nothing worse for a customer to be excited about a great deal, only to be disappointed by a malfunctioning coupon code or a promotion that they couldn’t access as promised. Also, keep your associates informed, make sure they know what you’re promoting and that they understand any terms and conditions that may apply.

By mid-November consumers are receiving an average of 10-15 emails per day from stores/sites they’ve signed up to. Many of these start sending out daily emails as the season approaches – this isn’t the best long-term customer retention plan. Respect your customers, and maintain the relationship that existed prior to holiday. If you’re sending out email blasts, make sure they’re relevant and of value to the reader. A prefect example would be an email offering a limited time offer, or an upcoming event., with maybe a single reminder just before it expires or takes place.

Lastly – if you’re planning a specific time-limited promotion bear in mind that online – top days for holiday sales conversion are:

  • Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving): 23%
  • November 28: 17%
  • November 30: 17%
  • December 6: 17%
  • Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving): 16%

Next week: Value added benefits and promotional packages that will ensure that this season, your jewelry is the gift that’s sparkling bright under the tree.