Holiday Insights: Mission-Driven Messaging and Customer-Driven Strategy

Each month, Street Fight sources experts insights from the businesses in our ecosystem on our theme. This month’s theme is the Hybrid Holidays, and our experts share their takes on mission-driven messaging, customer-driven strategy, the blurred B2B-B2C divide, and consumer preferences.

Amy Williams, Founder and CEO, Good-Loop, on Mission-Driven Messaging

The holiday season this year will bring challenges for retailers with supply chain issues, changing consumer behaviors driven by the pandemic, balancing online and offline consumer journeys, and much more. But above all, brands should be thinking about how they can stand out by advertising with purpose – doing good not just for themselves, but for the world around them.

Consumers are increasingly aware of their power to convert consumerism into social good, and they are looking to shop with brands that align with these ideals. Consumers are more likely to shop with and advocate for a brand that has a purpose – they want to feel like they are doing good (especially during the holidays). The brands that lead with purpose and focus on giving back will see higher engagement, higher ad recall, increased brand affinity, and loyalty from the customers they want most.

Vitaly Pecherskiy, Co-Founder and COO, StackAdapt, on Customer-Driven Strategy

It’s no secret that shopping today is dominated by e-commerce. The pandemic accelerated the trend toward online shopping that had already begun—with delivery models heavily weighted towards delivery, click-and-collect, and curbside pickups. Being just a few weeks away from the busiest shopping event of the season, most retailers are facing the same challenges and opportunities. 

Thankfully, there is no shortage of tactical tips, tricks and hacks covering everything from what the next best advertising channel is to what a revamped funnel should look like. These insights pale in comparison to the impact that retailers can have on their businesses by speaking to their customers and learning what matters to them. 

With limited time to execute on surveys, consider segmenting your audience into broader demographics around age or location. Ask these customer segments questions that can help you uncover underlying pain, fears, and gains. Then, use their feedback to inform the messaging on your landing pages. This can help to drive up conversion rates and predict demand for certain products so that retailers can avoid running out midway through the holiday season. 

With the end of the year quickly approaching, it’s looking like there is no end in sight for evolving consumer behavior and market changes. To keep up with the changing landscape while continuing to grow, stay in tune with your loyal customers and find new customers at scale by leveraging insights from your audience segments to drive awareness and sales.

Neelika Choudhury, Chief Data and Privacy Officer, Data Axle, on the Blurred B2B-B2C Divide

The major challenge for these holiday isn’t necessarily consumers’ desire to spend but rather the fact that the marketing and media landscape has been completely upended in terms of where and how people connect with retailers and brands. In other words, your 2019 holiday marketing plan is of no use here.

In discussing shifts in the retail landscape, we spend a lot of time talking about growth in ecommerce behaviors. But believe it or not, there’s an even larger shift in consumer behavior that’s going to be especially meaningful for retailers this time of year: the fact that shoppers’ professional and personal lives have never been more entwined. Home offices are here to stay. And even for those who have returned or will return to the office, the work-personal division mentality has still vanished almost entirely. For retailers, this represents a monumental sea change in how they need to think about their audience data. They need a new understanding of how customers and prospects are fluidly slipping between their personal and professional time, and they need to be able to activate those insights in their media plan. 

The retailers that are able to unlock B2B-B2C data linkages for this holiday season are going to set themselves apart from the rest. Being able to expand your media plan to speak to customers and prospects appropriately in both the personal and professional channels that capture their attention in a given moment will open tremendous new opportunities to engage—ones that will fundamentally differentiate your brand from the immense amount of holiday marketing noise around this time of year. 

Yes, retailers need to make sure their e-commerce offerings are able to meet consumer expectations and demands this holiday season. But also, and perhaps even more importantly, they need to make sure their audience data and personas are capturing a true, complete picture of today’s blended B2B-B2C consumer lives. 

Ayal Steiner, Vice President, Advertising, Outbrain, on What Consumers Want

Covid brought more buyers online but also raised the competitive bar. Customers demand more from their online shopping experience: quality visuals and videos showing the product in action, best price guarantees, fast shipping, easy return policies, and great customer service. These now are considered “must-haves” instead of “nice-to-haves.”

In a recent Outbrain survey of consumers ahead of the holiday shopping season, respondents highlighted the blueprint for marketers to address customer top-of-mind needs and wants in their messaging strategy. Consumers ranked speed-of-delivery first in their decision-making process (52% of respondents), while 61% of consumers identified watching a video about a product as the most important format when considering what to purchase. In the US specifically, 66% of consumers prefer having information about a brand stating brand values (“what do you stand for?”) and sustainability (“how environmentally friendly is your product?”) as key factors influencing their decision.

Smart marketers will pivot their advertising and communication strategy both in ad design as well as on the product landing page. Ads that speak directly to the heart of consumer wants and needs will resonate and attract more customers, leading to more sales as a result.

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