Hone in for the Holidays: Tips for Advertising During the Spending Season
For many in retail, the holiday season — or the fourth quarter in its entirety — can be a major revenue booster. Some companies even bank on the profits during this time to make up for lower earnings the rest of the year. But what drives success in such a competitive landscape? Is it ad dollars, digital promotions, timing, traffic in brick-and-mortar stores, or something else entirely?
As it turns out, it's all of the above. While some retailers choose to put all their eggs, or dollars, into one basket, there's actually more earning potential with an integrated, nimble advertising approach. Due to the season’s unparalleled competition for eyes, interest and wallets, companies need to modernize their marketing strategies. In order to do so, they need to get in the holistic mind-set and be ready to pivot to what works. Here’s four tips to help:
- Capitalize on early activity. Regardless of the holiday, brands should pre-empt the influx of competition by advertising early, if possible. Some consumers prefer to do their research well in advance and may select products, prices and purchases even before deals are released. By building momentum and awareness, companies can become the preferred choice when holiday buying hits its stride. Products that consumers are likely to spend more time researching (e.g., TVs, high-end cosmetics, big-ticket items) should be promoted more and even sooner.
- Highlight differentiation in messaging. With all of the noise and activity from a multitude of advertisers fighting for the same ears of the consumer, it's important for companies to break through the clutter with their messages, whether that be branding or promotional focused. Focus on what makes your brand or product unique, or tie your promotions to behaviors around gift-giving or family and friends. Develop calls to actions that tap into consumers existing desire to make holiday purchases.
- Diversify advertising channels. Retailers hoping to capitalize on holiday spending need to think omnichannel. It isn’t about one television spot or digital ad; it's a combination of brand hits that capture audiences. For example, a radio call to action pairs well with the reach of TV and digital, especially when considering consumers may be traveling for family during the season and can receive multiple advertising messages on-the-go.
- Take advantage of digital flexibility. While TV spots, especially upfront buys, are locked in, digital media and multitouch attribution techniques (as part of a unified approach) can be nearly real time during the holidays. Take advantage of addressable media to make strategy changes quickly in the digital space. These adjustments are extremely valuable due to the increased sales potential and decreased window to sell. High ad costs can be justified with higher lifts in sales.
While these four tips can bolster any company’s advertising during the holidays, the most important thing to remember is that there isn’t a magic bullet. There isn’t one thing that will ensure organizations realize their revenue goals. It takes weighing and investing in a variety of channels, like TV, radio and digital. It takes looking at share-of-voice and competitive spends — and if competitors’ buys are ramping up, being able to push and pull, as needed.
Measurement programs that combine multitouch attribution with marketing mix can support advertiser efficiency for retailers. Taken together, a holistic measurement approach can tell retailers what’s working and what’s not, provide greater control over inventory, and help inform necessary pricing adjustments. And in a condensed buying cycle with huge potential, it will be the seasoned retailers that reap the revenue rewards.
Joshua Bayne is a director at Analytic Partners, USA, an analytics company that delivers strategic consulting, marketing analytics and software to support planning and strategy needs.
Joshua Bayne is a Director at Analytic Partners. Joshua has over 9 years of analytics experience delivering strategic consulting services and customized solutions to clients across a wide range of industries, with expertise in Retail & CPG. Joshua leads a number of key analyst teams that provide strategic insight through analytics and thought leadership to several clients across the globe. Joshua is passionate about providing AP’s clients with the tools and skillsets necessary to drive meaningful business decisions. Joshua holds an MBA in Business Management from Sacred Heart University.