Updated: Oct 25, 2022
30% say inflation means they’ll spend less this year
The impact of governmental and social response to the Covid pandemic has changed everything when it comes to marketing and advertising. The resulting inflation and price increases for necessities, such as food and fuel, mean people will spend less on the holidays and respond more to deals, according to leading analysts.
A recent Gartner survey reported by the Association of National Advertisers found that nearly 50% of respondents already started their Christmas shopping and 16% said they now shop year-round for holiday gifts to take advantage of the best deals.
U.S. holiday shopping has long been linked with big sale days like Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving), and Green Monday (the second Monday in December. Amazon’s strategic positioning of its Prime Day on different days – often unannounced until the last minute – and Walmart, Target, and other big retailer responses to Prime Day also are shifting consumer buying patterns.
WD Partners EVP Lee Peterson, said e-commerce has flattened out the holiday shopping season. Black Friday has become Black November, which he thinks will lessen pressure on price and sale deals in December.
Less Spending on Gifts
Gartner reports about a third of shoppers say they will be spending less on Christmas this year. The hard economic reality is that consumers will continue to spread the cost of holiday gift giving over longer periods, and for more consumers, that period will become a year-around effort.
The consequence is that the battle for attention and sales will become even more intense and will extend over seasons that are now being redefined by consumers. Another research giant, Forrester, advises businesses to audit channels, tactics, and audience targeting to optimize holiday and other marketing. Forrester VP Sar VanBoskirk suggested identifying underperforming programs, including legacy targeting and ad-serving, to trim unfruitful spending.
Even as consumers are shifting, Carmen Nestares Pleguezuelo, Amazon Store’s CMO North America marketing, encourages brands to run deals and coupons during the holidays to make it easier for consumers to discover your store or services. Deals still attract consumers, she says. The twist now, though, is that the dramatic consumer shift to e-commerce in the wake of the pandemic and the potential of greater exploitation of pandemic hysteria means small businesses should always be marketing.
As the traditional holiday shopping seasons flatten out – a phenomenon that has been happening over the past several years – connecting with consumers when they are buying will be critical to marketing timing.
Direct Mail is Always Good
Your marketing and advertising should connect with the specific customers who are either discovering or in the process of considering buying what you are selling, whether a product or service.
The most effective campaigns start with assessments of who your customers are and why you want to reach them. The beauty of direct mail is that your advertising can be focused to small geographic areas or scaled across the nation.
For small businesses, direct mail is especially effective in targeting ZIP codes within specific marketing areas. That means you don’t waste advertising spend on people who won’t come to your store or business office or don’t want what you’ve got.
Direct mail marketing can target specific customer types within a market area or hit every door in an area. By using consumer data, a business can identify specific customer types by various segments that match who you are looking for. Newly married couples, new homeowners, age and household demographics, and other factors can be identified and segmented out so you can customize your message directly to that household or customer.
If you are creating a grand opening, special announcement, or other messaging that you want to reach a broad cross-section of prospects, you can send a message to every door in a ZIP code.
Direct mail continues to attract strongest investment because it works. People respond and call, visit, or email you – depending on your strategy and plan. Olde School Marketing works with clients to develop a specialized strategy based on multiple factors that apply to your situation:
Are you in a low- or high-income area
Do you need homeowners or renters, automobile purchasers?
Where are your customers located relative to where your business is?
Organizing these factors into a marketing plan is based on years of marketing and direct-mail experience designed to help you maximize your open rates and responses. Combine hybrid marketing that includes email and other digital media to ramp up response and get people calling or connecting.
Create your strategy and plan within the larger scheme of what consumers are experiencing now and how your product or service fits into that scheme. Build your strategy not only on the immediate need of the holiday shopping season, but also on your need to build traffic, fill a sales pipeline, and generate meetings during and after the holidays.
That will be a strategy that works.