Unwrapping Engagement: Creative Ways to Enhance Holiday Marketing Campaigns
Just because you dust off the same string lights every year doesn’t mean you should do the same with your holiday campaigns. Brands should instead embrace new marketing tactics and leverage digital trends to engage consumers on their preferred channels and reward them for their continued loyalty. With 90 percent of consumers expecting special privileges for being a long-term customer, it’s essential marketers create memorable campaigns and prioritize surprise-and-delight efforts to make consumers feel special. From unboxing to Snapchat sweepstakes, from spontaneous rewards to user-generated content, here are some exciting ways brands can adopt a personal approach to spice up holiday marketing and create lasting impressions with consumers.
‘Tis the Season to Surprise and Delight
Everyone likes to feel appreciated every now and again, and consumers are no exception! This winter, brands should embrace the season of giving by rewarding shoppers with exclusive sweepstakes and memorable experiences.
WestJet had the holiday spirit in mind when it launched its Christmas Miracle campaign. Just in time for Christmas, Santa Claus appeared on life-size screens at boarding gates in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, and asked passengers what they wanted for Christmas as they scanned their boarding passes. Passengers were delighted to converse with Good Saint Nick, but little did they know the real magic would happen at baggage claim at their destination, where they were met by giant gifts bearing their names. With 82 percent of consumers citing special gifts around the holidays as a desirable reward, WestJet not only surpassed travelers’ wildest expectations, but its promotional video garnered over 45 million organic views to date, framing the airline in a positive light.
MasterCard’s long-running Priceless Surprises campaign also made a splash on social media, inviting cardholders to tweet or post to Instagram with the hashtag #PricelessSurprises or use their card for a chance to win tokens of appreciation like cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, free Uber rides, or meetings with Justin Timberlake and Ellie Goulding. With nearly 20 years under its belt, Priceless Surprises consistently demonstrates its devotion and appreciation for its customers while further bolstering loyalty to the MasterCard brand.
Don’t have the budget for a celebrity appearance? Retailers can create shopper profiles based on a customer's purchase history and surprise them with personalized gifts based on their specific interests. Brands can also employ social listening across Facebook and Instagram to surprise shoppers in need of a pick-me-up. If a customer tweets about needing coffee on a busy Monday, a coffeehouse message back offering them a cup on the house is sure to lift spirits.
The Art of Unboxing
Unboxing videos, which garnered more than 1.1 billion YouTube views in 2015 alone, have taken brand appreciation to a new level. From toys and collectibles to fashion, unboxing puts prospective customers in the driver’s seat, giving them an inside look at brand offerings as enthusiasts take products out of packaging and survey them in great detail. In the past year, unboxing has exploded. Disney recently hosted a live, 18-hour unboxing marathon tied to the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” while GQ unboxed Yeezy Boost 750s on Snapchat.
To riff off the success of unboxing and reward fans for their purchases, brands can include a unique code inside the box for a chance to win exciting prizes and experiences. By creating a buzz around unboxing, brands can effectively extend the shopper journey beyond purchasing while fostering long-term loyalty.
Though the youngest of the social media giants, Snapchat is the fastest growing, with 150 million people using the app each day. Given the ephemeral nature of the app, brands looking at how to use Snapchat must think outside the box on ways to spur engagement beyond 24-hour stories.
Sephora was among the first brands to introduce sweepstakes on the popular messaging app. Back in February, shoppers were encouraged follow Sephora on Snapchat, take a picture of themselves and draw fake eyebrows on the photo using the app’s doodle feature for a chance to win a $500 gift card. Participants were instructed to send the picture to Sephora’s Snapchat and then upload it to Instagram using the hashtag #SephoraSnapsSweeps. A truly multichannel campaign, consumers were required to follow Sephora on Instagram as well. Brands seeking a quick fix can also host a secret hashtag sweepstakes, sharing Snapchat stories that reveal a secret hashtag to be shared on Twitter or Instagram for a chance to win exclusive prizes.
With e-commerce sales jumping 20 percent last holiday season, the value of memorable campaigns is more evident than ever. As retail’s biggest season rapidly approaches, brands should vow to think outside the box, embrace technologies and create campaigns sure to put them on the nice list.
Meghan Holmes is the senior director of strategy and insights at HelloWorld, a rich engagement platform that empowers marketers to motivate and measure consumer behavior through promotions, loyalty solutions and mobile messaging.
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Meghan Holmes is the vice president of strategy and analytics at HelloWorld, a Merkle company. Meghan leads a team of strategists who design custom solutions for today’s top brands in retail, CPG, technology, and more. As a published thought leader in digital engagement, Meghan is often tapped for her expertise in promotions and loyalty strategies that leverage the latest technology to meet a brand’s challenges. For more on HelloWorld, please visit www.helloworld.com.