Reaching Consumers with Relevant Messaging for the Holidays

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Each month, Street Fight sources expert 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 optimizing email campaigns for relevance, taking advantage of OOH, and cookieless solutions.

Keith Petri, Founder and CEO, lockrMail

In prior years, 317 million+ marketing emails were sent just in the days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. With the deprecation of third-party cookies, that number is expected to double this year, as brands and marketers are leaning more heavily on email as their preferred marketing channel. As an email filtering service, we can infer unique insights on consumer email behavior. Our most popular filter after ‘Order Updates’ is ‘Discounts,’ indicating that brands will need to be competitive with their promotions this holiday season in order to grab the attention of their consumer base and encourage early holiday shopping to prevent a supply chain crunch in December.

However, beyond remaining competitive with their promotions, brands must also ensure that they remain relevant in their communications. This year, more than ever, brands should be less concerned with clever gimmicks and catchy subject lines, focusing instead on being pertinent and applicable to their audiences. Grabbing the attention of consumers this holiday season isn’t just about getting into their inbox but also ensuring an email is opened and read.

As consumers get inundated with more and more email communications and begin to utilize email management services, such as lockrMail, brands will need to be more targeted with deals and messaging. Calling out specific categories, deals, and products will provide brands with a better chance at getting in front of their target audiences and not pushing consumers towards the “unsubscribe” or “block” button.

Marissa Bernstein, Director of Marketing, Vistar Media

Between the major constraint on media inventory as well as consumer travel and purchase patterns shifting and supply chain concerns — all due to the pandemic — brands are thinking about holiday campaigns earlier. 

We’re seeing this in key verticals with telecom, retail store, health/pharma, finance and alcohol brands, in particular, who have played a part in the 47% increase in Q4 spend through the Vistar Media programmatic platform compared to Q4 2019 (pre-pandemic). This was before even entering Q4 this year.

Furthermore, we’ve seen campaigns come in from shipping companies turning to OOH to recruit employees ahead of the holiday rush.

With the continuation of the pandemic still leaving uncertainty and ever-changing consumer patterns, brands need a medium that allows them to be flexible and nimble with their campaigns in order to reach the consumer where they are: out in the world. Brands can do this with the data-driven capabilities available via programmatic digital OOH — such as audience targeting, flight dates/times and creative/messaging changes — at any point during the campaign. 

Barbie Koelker, VP of Marketing, Spiketrap

As retailers scurry to fill shelves and fulfill orders amid supply chain uncertainty, their marketers are scrambling to reach the right audiences amid martech uncertainty.

Can a cookieless ad targeting solution reliably reach the beholders of abandoned or would-be shopping carts? Hesitancy abounds among D2C marketers, and the pressure to drive a strong ROAS in Q4 looms overhead. Nevertheless, we are seeing an increasing number of advertisers explore contextual and cookie-free solutions this fall, and early campaign results — with KPI-shattering click-through and conversion rates — may leave the cookie where it belongs: on a plate for Santa.

Tim Rogers, SVP and Global GM of Omnichannel and CRM, Criteo

This year’s shopping holiday season is expected to extend for longer than ever before: between 45 to 75 days. In fact, when looking at our data from August and September of this year, sales were already up by 22% compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Because of this, retailers need holistic audience strategies in place to drive commerce outcomes across all key channels. The onus is on retailers to understand their consumers, whether they’re current customers or not, and personalize content accordingly.
For example, constant commerce is driving a perpetual consumer journey as consumers spend more online than ever before. Last year, our data found that for the one-quarter of consumers who had the longest path to purchase for Black Friday, there is an average of almost one month from their first touchpoint to their Black Friday purchase. Therefore, it’s imperative to engage consumers throughout their purchase journey to understand where they sit in their path to purchase as the extended holiday shopping season. Doing so may provide marketers with an opportunity to accomplish both core marketing strategies — acquisition and loyalty — during the same season.
Lastly, with lingering effects from the last year of the pandemic, including supply chain issues and shipping delays, marketers should be a source of value to consumers by helping them navigate disruptions. Lean into personalization to help manage expectations about what products are in stock, when consumers can expect to receive orders, and stay agile to provide value to existing and new customers. Planning your audience strategy to drive acquisition, retention, and loyalty will be imperative to win market share in another elongated holiday season.