It’s Time to Zero in on Holiday Outreach With Zero-Party Data
The most wonderful time of the year is quickly approaching. Prior years might have had a somewhat leisurely “brush a leaf off your sweater/carve a pumpkin/get ready for the holiday season” rhythm. However, this year, the holidays begin … now. That’s a combination of careful consumer behavior from last year (when according to the National Retail Foundation, a record 61 percent of consumers had started their holiday shopping by early November), and the desire to beat this year’s raging inflation.
If that calendar speed-up is the bad news, the good news is that a marketing shift should lead to consumers being partners in building a stronger bottom line. Tired of being tracked all over the internet by ads for products they don’t want, consumers are willing to help brands “meet them where they are.” Imagine a world in which you knew what your customers planned to buy in the future because they told you.
Those consumers are willing to share their data if they see value in doing so. They will directly share their wants, desires and motivations — collectively referred to as “zero-party data” — if they receive something in return. That value can be entertainment, a discount, social kudos, loyalty points, and/or a deeper personalization of their experience.
Of course, the exchange must be made within the context of a strong and authentic relationship, which is where relationship marketing comes in. Today’s consumers are concerned about privacy, so they want to work with partners they trust. Research from Cheetah Digital shows that once trust is established, the majority of consumers (57 percent) are willing to pay more to purchase from a trusted retailer.
Now is the time to begin making that value exchange. With the use of price comparison tools increasing (9 percent according to the NRF), engaging customers as soon as possible to get those wish lists started through polls and quizzes ahead of your holiday marketing campaigns is essential.
Collecting opt-ins and engagement ahead of the holiday rush will help to improve your email deliverability as you increase your send volumes. You don’t want an internet service provider to interpret a sudden spike in send volume as spam.
Another consideration ahead of the shopping season is lost/abandoned sales. One of the top causes of cart abandonment is heightened shipping costs. Therefore, move to capture early sales with free shipping for purchases during specific dates.
Put down that pumpkin or cinnamon spice beverage, roll up your sleeves, and ask your customers their intentions — nicely. They’ll be happy to exchange information if it means they won’t be followed by creepy and unrelated marketing tactics. The info you gather early on will help fuel personalized email recommendations, resulting in better engagement and more revenue.
No one likes a party host who doesn’t listen, and the collection of zero-party data follows that same rule. The key is to remember that there’s a person on the other side of the conversation, and to follow a friendship model: ask, answer, listen and offer. The rewards can be immense, both for consumers, who can have their best shopping experience yet, and for your business. Your best holiday season ever — truly the most wonderful time of the year — starts now.
Ben Diehl is senior vice president of client success at CM Group, a company that offers a suite of world-class martech solutions that help marketers deliver value across the entire customer lifecycle.
Experienced business leader with demonstrated success in delivering value for my clients across industries, including B2B SaaS, Utilities, Healthcare, Travel/Hospitality, B2C Ecommerce, and many more. Deep focus and experience in Customer Experience Design and Optimization, Voice of Customer, Contact Center Strategy and Execution, Customer Success, IT Strategy, and Sales and Account Management.