4 Marketing Tactics for a Successful Holiday Season

As consumer confidence remains low, marketers who understand their customers’ shopping behaviors and preferences are best positioned to have strong holiday sales this season.

But what are your customers’ behaviors? And what are the best ways to reach them based on those behaviors? Experian Marketing Services recently published a report, titled The 2009 holiday marketer: Benchmark and trend report, to help answer those questions. Here are four key tactics from the report:

1. Use digital and traditional marketing channels. Last holiday season, three main vehicles drove more than half of the traffic to retailers’ websites — search, email and links from other retailers, respectively, according to the report. At the same time, 79 percent of consumers said they read or skimmed the direct mail they received last year. All channels can provide value; it’s just a matter of looking at the facts to find the right mix for your company, the report advises.

2. Rethink your strategies. While younger adults are using coupons at higher rates than they did last year, older adults are taking advantage of more incentive-based offers such as free product with purchase and cross-sale promotions, the report says. Also, households without children purchase more from catalogs than households with children.

3. Start early … for some campaigns. Large email promotions, in particular, are expected to arrive even earlier this year. This will be true for all businesses, with some brands having commenced their holiday campaigns as early as July, notes the report. When it comes to search marketing, over the past four years the highest market share of website visits occurred on Thanksgiving, followed by Black Friday. The report suggests a free shipping email offer for a short period of time — one week or less. This is typically more successful than featuring the same offer over a longer term.

4. Incorporate data and plan carefully. To ensure strong sales and lasting customer engagement, all holiday initiatives should follow these tactics. The inherent quantifiable and qualitative aspects of engagement marketing remain the keys to success for businesses worldwide, both this holiday season and for years to come.

Melissa Campanelli is Editor-in-Chief of Total Retail. She is an industry veteran, having covered all aspects of retail, tech, digital, e-commerce, and marketing over the past 20 years. Melissa is also the co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle.