Seasonal marketing campaigns may look a little different this year. Marketers might find that they need to modify or even totally upend commonly used tactics this holiday season to reach consumers who are in a very different mindset and facing a whole new set of circumstances.
We asked Forbes Agency Council members about the forces they foresee impacting consumer behavior this holiday season. Here are 11 of their best insights into how marketers can evolve standard seasonal marketing practices to achieve success this year.
1. Aim To Fill Gaps In Emotional And Human Connection
The obvious difference is that families won't be coming together, so that messaging has to shift and change. Zoom is one thing, but really, how do you focus on filling the gaps in emotional and human connection for your customers? Even if your product doesn’t have anything to do with connection, your brand does, and every marketer should think first about what their consumers need and build from there. - Craig Greiwe, Rogers & Cowan
2. Blend Digital And TV Experiences For Interactive Engagement
We’re in unfamiliar territory right now, but uncertainty equals opportunity. Seasonal campaigns will turn more digital and will be more interactive. Some people are spending more time on their devices, and some are spending more time watching TV. There will need to be a blend of digital and TV experiences that engage and promote seasonal offerings from brands. - Ashlee Lange, Lotus Digital
3. Start Holiday Digital Marketing Campaigns Now
Consumers are going to start their holiday shopping earlier and almost exclusively online, so start holiday digital marketing campaigns now. This year, major retailers such as Target and Amazon are starting holiday sales in October. Data of past holidays already noted a shift to e-commerce. Be mindful of cost concerns and make shopping online as experiential and exciting as brick-and-mortar experiences. - Lon Otremba, Bidtellect
4. Promote The Basics Of Kindness, Peace And Gratitude
During the holidays this year, consumers are going to be feeling a great deal of anxiety about Covid-19, their finances and their health. Family gatherings will be rife with stress. Any campaigns should focus on kindness, peace and gratitude. I think now is the time to promote the basics of feeling grateful for family and friends as well as for being at home in a safe and nurturing environment. - Nancy Marshall, Marshall Communications
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5. Expand Online Options And Focus On Local-Market Keywords
Both marketers and companies will need to make more online options available, whether that be for customer service communication, shopping or other services. For marketing campaigns, focusing more on keywords that accommodate the above as well as local businesses, such as “online,” “near me,” “local,” etc., can help appeal to consumers facing these unprecedented times. - Larry Gurreri, Sosemo LLC
6. Clarify Changes And Increase Cart-To-Delivery Touch Points
Clarity will be key this holiday season. In-stock products, shipping timelines and delivery dates have drastically changed. While consumers’ behaviors have shifted, many still anticipate pre-pandemic service. Adding clear language on product pages and increasing touch points from cart to delivery will be crucial to keep consumers happy. - Donna Robinson, Collective Measures
7. Center Campaigns Around ‘Celebrating Together From Afar’
E-commerce is the only winner of the pandemic, and brands that embrace that are going to win too. Campaigns should center around the idea of celebrating together but from afar: family members opening an envelope or carton from loved ones under a tree or sharing the moment over Zoom. That’s going to pull the right heartstrings. - Paul Canetti, Bounce House
8. Use Digital Retargeting To Maximize Online Sales Opportunities
Black Friday will likely be more online-focused this year than in the past, eliminating the desire or need to head to physical locations to score seasonal deals. Finding ways to maximize the opportunity to make a sale, such as retargeting through email, sponsored social media content and other online digital marketing, will likely move to the forefront of marketers’ strategies. - Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions
9. Don’t Rely On Overused ‘Empathetic’ Messaging
This year’s seasonal campaigns will no doubt be much more empathetic in nature, but we are already seeing messages about the current circumstances coming off as trite, packaged and overused. This can result in campaigns that miss the mark or, worse, lead to negative views of your business. That’s why it’s important to tread carefully, as consumers grow tired of the same “empathetic” messages. - Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.
10. Leverage Every E-Commerce Capability To Boost Convenience
One tactic that has not been as critical in the past but will be a cornerstone this year is upping the convenience factor. Think frictionless purchasing, availability, guaranteed delivery or touchless pickup options. Leveraging every e-commerce capability this year will be crucial, considering everyone wants to shop but everyone also wants to remain safe. - Bernard May, National Positions
11. Focus On Authenticity In Influencer Campaigns
Holidays are going to be more traditional and nostalgic in nature this year, with less travel and more focus on the home. We’re likely to see trends toward DIY-gifting and crafting along with increased interest in small, local, independent and Black-owned businesses. Savvy marketers should turn to influencers to share campaigns centered around these themes, with a strong focus on authenticity. - Danielle Wiley, Sway Group