The holiday shopping season is the most important time of the year for retail and eCommerce businesses across America.
As soon as the clock strikes Black Friday, shoppers are off and buying in a frenzy. This year alone, CNBC reports that sales from the five-day period starting on Thanksgiving totaled $11.11 billion for online shoppers alone, a 17 percent gain over last year.
Although spending with in-store retail hasn’t been as stellar, with some estimating Black Friday sales to be down as much as 10.4 percent year over year, customers are still planning to drop loads of money this time of year – as much as $805.65 on average per person, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.
Direct Response Marketing for the Holidays
Capturing the excitement of the shopping season can be the trickiest part of marketing for the holidays.
Marketing in this omnichannel world means having to quickly surmise which types of marketing are going to work best for the short shopping season. For many marketers, direct response marketing can help yield answers and give a more direct line to customer thinking. The limited time scope and immediate results of this type of marketing make it a perfect vehicle for holiday shopping messages.
Here are just a few ways direct response marketing can be vital for your holiday season sales:
- Increasing your ROI with actionable data on today’s buyer. Although brand marketing can build an image over the long run, the holiday shopping season requires the ability to quickly adapt to your buyers’ needs. With direct response marketing, your customers will tell you if the ads are working – after all, they’re all in a buying mood. For example, you can try a number of different special offers to start the season, then narrow your focus on the ones that seem to be the most effective as the season progresses.
- Allowing you to change marketing efforts on the fly. It’s the season to buy anything and everything that can be bought and given as a gift. That means that if your target audience isn’t responding to your marketing efforts, you have to make a change – and fast. Direct response marketing eliminates long lag times between customer and retailer, allowing you to quickly respond with ads they’ll find considerably more appealing before the season’s out. Even if the beginning of the shopping season is a bust, you may be able to salvage it by retargeting the ads you already have or making minor modifications to appeal to the audiences you’re not capturing.
- Adding brand awareness to in-store items. Sometimes, customers are shy about responding to offers requiring a telephone call. However, if the same item can be found in a retail location, they’re eager to buy. Although direct response marketing isn’t intended to replace brand marketing, this time of year it can certainly help add brand awareness to these items since buyers are hyper-aware of both the marketing around them and the products they see. Connecting that item they saw on television to one they see in the marketplace can increase sales even if brand marketing isn’t the goal.
- Giving you more opportunities to show off your product for less money. Direct response ads are often the most inexpensive options, especially for a short-term goal like increasing holiday sales. When you have a limited budget, you’ll get considerably more mileage from less expensive direct response ads that give actionable information about the demographic seeing them. After all, the holiday season is a very noisy time of year, so you’ll have to shout twice as loud to be heard. In addition, those extra imprints may help you dial in your audience more tightly, especially if your product is untested in the marketplace.
Adding direct response marketing to your holiday line-up can make a very real difference in how well your products perform in the market. While brand marketing is great for the long run, direct marketing is a powerful tool for the here and now.