Back in the day, I spent my time marketing for a chain of nightclubs, it was a blast! But Christmas always caused havoc, especially if you hadn’t begun to think about it by at least March for that year! Now that’s when we were worrying about X Factor stars going on tour so inevitably we were always close to missing the boat. And I mean literally. If you hadn’t ordered the Christmas paraphernalia by May then you missed the slow boat from China with all the bargains aboard.
Anyway, what’s that got to do with digital marketing you ask? Everything! You have to plan your strategy in advance, and just because it’s digital (as opposed to a slow boat from China) it doesn’t mean you have any more of a lead time. The Christmas period, in most industries, causes a huge spike in revenue and you want to ensure you capitalise on that fully.
So you’ve got your initial idea (snow globes are all the rage this year aren’t they?!), all your merchandise is on its way, so now’s the time to start thinking about advertising.
The all-important question then comes, when do you start advertising your Christmas campaigns to your customers? You don’t want to do it too early, or you’re in danger of annoying those who aren’t interested. You also don’t want to run the risk of boring your customers in a long winded campaign that takes the festive fun out of the holiday.
So the quick answer to the question is, what does your data tell you? I appreciate that’s answering a question with another question, but the data you hold on your customers is powerful stuff, use it! To get started, why not take a look at Christmas browsers for last year. When did they start really looking at your products? This isn’t the date you made your products available, but when you saw, an unprovoked, significant spike in traffic to the applicable pages. These customers could make a lovely segment of data to launch your Christmas campaign to.
The next level on this is to look at the purchasers. Who are your super organised customers? The ones we’re all envious of when they say they’ve wrapped all their presents and written all their cards in October! These are also a lovely segment of customers who you could start to build that discussion with about your Christmas launch.
From here you build upon the customer’s interaction with the campaign. You could use website personalisation to identify those customers who have clicked a Christmas email for example, and present them with a specific page on their next visit to the website. If your customers don’t interact with that email, or they don’t call the call centre after you’ve sent them a discount code in a piece of direct mail, then respect their interaction and lay off the Christmas communication for a while.
You could also think about asking them specifically when they would like to hear about Christmas, with a small survey perhaps. This could be sent to a wider audience so that you can showcase your intentions to respect your customer’s preferences. A preference centre is an interesting idea, make it one which is built in to the unsubscribe process and you could reduce the number of customers who may have chosen to unsubscribe completely. But make sure you actually use the preferences you collect from your customers. There’s nothing worse than being asked if you’re interested in men’s/women’s/children’s fashion, setting your preference to womenswear and still receiving communications about men’s and children’s clothes!
So with the countdown to Christmas creeping up on us (eek, better start shopping!), now’s the time to start thinking about the data segments you’re going to put into place to ensure this Christmas provides your customers with not only the Turkey but all the trimmings too!