Is Your Media Strategy Ready for the Holidays?

During the onset of the pandemic and throughout 2020, consumers consolidated their shopping trips to fewer retailers. Some did away with unnecessary expenditures due to fear of exposure in-store or newfound financial hardship, while others purchased brand replacements at competing retailers or found more convenient, digital means to procure their favorite products. As a result, brands shifted to a more digital-first strategy and expanded their service offerings to improve the customer experience. Services like curbside pickup, buy online-pickup in store (BOPIS), same-day pick up, free delivery and exclusive discounts became the norm throughout the beginning of the pandemic, but now that consumers have become accustomed to those convenient services and exclusive offers, they’re now expected in order to continue the brand/consumer relationship.

As we move into this holiday season, how are brands looking at consumer-centric service offerings, as well as their media strategy, to stand out in the crowded space of seasonal advertising?

Let’s explore some of the trends from the last year that will continue into holiday season and beyond 2021.

Less physical, more digital

Many national retailers have already communicated that their physical stores will be closed on Thanksgiving day, November 25, but that doesn’t mean sales will stop. Digital deals will be the priority when stores are closed and remain so throughout the holiday shopping season. With consumers having adapted to online shopping over the last year and a half, many now prefer the convenience of clicking or tapping to make purchases, as opposed to visiting in person. And since holiday shopping season has traditionally been associated with long lines and crowds, more consumers will opt to avoid the masses—41 percent, in fact—to save time and feel safer against the continuing pandemic spread.

Retail ecommerce holiday season sales continue to grow and are expected to reach over $206 billion in 2021, according to eMarketer’s Holiday Preparedness Report. That is a 47 percent increase, or over $66 billion, more than the pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

Regardless of whether your brand operates physical locations, consumer demand for digital deals remains strong. In addition, around 40 percent of consumers are looking forward to more digital experiences using AR and VR technology, like home makeovers, beauty product sampling, virtual clothing try-ons, personal shopping, home lighting displays and more.

This growth is being driven by increased ecommerce sales across several categories. Fueled by the return of in-person events, discretionary categories like jewelry, luxury and accessories are expected to see the highest increase at 25.5 percent. Although at a much slower pace, spending on consumer electronics in the form of new devices and wearables is forecast to be the second-fastest growing category at 12.5 percent. Rounding out the top three, strong demand for cosmetics and beauty products will drive a 12.1 percent increase in the personal care and health category.

Earlier shopping season

In 2020, 42 percent of shoppers started their holiday purchasing earlier than in years prior. And this year, over half (53 percent) of consumers will start holiday shopping before November, according to a recent Integral Ad Science webinar.

eMarketer projects the Cyber Five will grow their sales at above-average rates this year while increasing their share of the season from 18.3 percent to 20 percent. Cyber Monday is expected to rake in the most online spending followed by Black Friday and Thanksgiving.

One in three holiday shoppers are planning to spend more this year. Getting early access to discounts and deals is a top priority, with 45 percent of shoppers ranking it as number one on their list.

Advertisers can use the earlier shopping season to their advantage by starting campaigns early and by focusing on connecting with potential consumers at every stage of their journey, from brand awareness to purchase consideration. A partner like Mindstream Media Group can help brands focus on human connection throughout the customer journey, across media channels.

A current exercise we’re conducting is focused on understanding the purchase cycle through a B2B lens.  B2B often has much different needs that normal DTC campaigns don’t encounter such as meaningful lead submissions. This exercise is looking at the business problem, value prop our client offers and their best-in-class solution through creative messaging that reaches not only the final decision maker but influences the other necessary teams.

Loyalty and first-party data

Marketers are now preparing for the demise of third-party cookies in 2022. Brands are developing their own means of collecting data, building out their own consumer profiles and personas and using first-party data to increase ad personalization and relevance to build trust with their audiences.

According to a 2021 Consumer Survey conducted by Outbrain, the top-two factors that drive engagement for consumers are trusted ads that meet their personal interests making personalized and contextually relevant ads important.

In addition to building trust with potential consumers, better ad personalization and relevance pays off. IAS research shows that 76 percent of consumers will maintain or increase their holiday shopping budget from last year. And holiday shoppers are looking to digital ads to contribute to their shopping experience, with 88 percent agreeing that online ads are helpful and important to their gift search.

While some brands already have established their own means of collecting first-party data, others are finding it more challenging to build a strategy to maximize their personalization efforts. Whether marketers are just getting started on the road to a cookieless future or already have data collection methods or loyalty programs in place, there’s no doubt that first-party data will transform the future of advertising.

Utilizing CRM tools has proven to be extremely powerful for a Mindstream client in the fitness space, creating efficiencies and making our ad targeting very precise. Using first-party data from the client, we can create lookalike audiences which profile a set of data points and target users who fit a certain threshold of attributes. We’re able to exclude consumers who are already in the brand’s CRM, eliminating waste, and we can also include consumers who have cancelled memberships, inviting them to come back to the brand after a set period. We can also retarget new customers for additional purchases, such as accessories for their initial purchase.

“Partnering with clients that provide access to their first-party data and key business insights is like a cherry on top for holistic media planning. It helps us create better integrated strategies and that drives better results for the client, so it’s a win for everyone,” says Mindstream Head of Integrated Digital Strategy, Meagan Cox.

Looking to 2022

As more campaigns shift toward personalization and improving the customer experience, we’re certain to see more convenience-related services, virtual brand experiences and consistent evolution of digital ad technology to catch the attention of consumers.

If your brand needs a partner to help improve your marketing effectiveness and fast-forward growth, please reach out to our team.


Prime Day 2021

My favorite season is upon us and while shoppers prepare to snag the best deals, retailers are preparing for their biggest year yet. Amazon’s 48-hour Prime Day event kicks off on June 21 and sales from the promotion are expected to approach $12 billion worldwide. While annual growth will be slower again this year, Prime Day 2021 will still smash last year’s sales record by nearly $2 billion.

Prime Day Sales Worldwide

eMarketer laid out their outlook:

  • In 2021, U.S. ecommerce sales across all retailers during the Prime Day sales event will grow by 17.3% year over year to $12.18 billion, per our estimates. That’s an increase of almost $2 billion in spending compared with 2020.
  • We expect Amazon’s share of U.S. ecommerce sales during Prime Day to stay almost the same this year as last year, despite competition from other retailers.
  • U.S. ecommerce sales on Amazon will account for 60.0% ($7.31 billion) of all U.S. retail ecommerce sales during Prime Day 2021, compared with 59.4% ($6.17 billion) during Prime Day 2020.

What’s Different

As if 2020 and 2021 weren’t upside down already, Prime Day is moving up in the retail calendar from traditional mid-July timing to late-June which is likely to find shoppers in a summer state of mind. As a result, forecasts are estimating higher sales in summer apparel and gear for outdoor activities. However, it could also prompt an earlier start to the back-to-school shopping season with forward-thinking college students and parents getting a jump start on supplies shopping.

While the focus of Prime Day sales might be on an apparel and outdoor goods, “revenge shopping” is likely to enter the equation as well. The newly coined term has been used to describe a rush of post-pandemic discretionary spending and could result in a boost to luxury brands and nonessential product categories. Although the pandemic is still a factor, the impact this year will be from the release of pent-up demand for products not purchased as a result of lockdowns and restrictions.

Amazon is also giving small businesses on the platform a boost by offering additional exclusive promotions. Prime members can now purchase from over 300,000 small business sellers worldwide and get a $10 credit from Amazon to use during Prime Day.

Amazon Domination

A whopping 60.4 percent of U.S. households were Prime users in 2020. After a 15.7 percent increase in membership last year, subscriptions are expected to grow just 4.8 percent in 2021 bringing the total to 81.4 million households.

What’s noteworthy here is the increase in the younger demographic flocking to the ease and allure of Prime membership. According to an April 2021 survey conducted by Insider Intelligence and Bizrate Insights, 79 percent of U.S. consumers ages 18 to 34 said they were Prime members or someone in their household was a Prime member, compared with 69 percent of consumers ages 35 to 54 and 61 percent of consumers 55 and over.

Although competing retailers like Walmart and Target will have deals of their own during the Prime Day window, Amazon will continue to dominate sales. In fact, the ecommerce giant is expected to rake in $7.31 billion or about 60 percent of all U.S. retail ecommerce sales during the Prime Day event.

One thing is clear, Prime Day offers tremendous opportunities for brands and consumers alike. In addition to its ecommerce platform, Amazon has also secured its stronghold in the advertising landscape and is the third-largest ad seller in the country. At Mindstream Media Group, our Amazon Certified Programmatic Traders help clients maximize return on ad spend with programmatic display, audio and video ads placed through the Amazon DSP. Click here to learn more about the platform and how we can help.

Contributed by Meagan Cox, Senior Media Planner. As much a strategic thinker as a certainty to make you laugh, Meagan knows the ins and outs of digital and traditional media, is consistently contributing to client growth and can transform an otherwise business-as-usual discussion into a joyous occasion by adding in her own unique brand of humor.

Instacart’s Explosive Growth Means Opportunity for Progressive Marketers

When the first wave of COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders went into effect across the U.S. in early 2020, Instacart quickly adapted to meet consumer needs and became an essential part of daily life for many. With the ability to place online grocery orders from their local stores—and have them delivered contactless to their homes—Instacart resolved an immediate challenge for consumers. In the first half of 2020, Instacart saw a 500 percent increase in order volume and a 35 percent increase in average basket size.

Through this exponential growth, Instacart has secured partnerships with over 350 grocery chains across 25,000 stores in over 500 cities in the United States and Canada—and it continues to grow by launching its own advertising platform.

For marketers, Instacart’s advertising platform means insight into a vast amount of purchasing data and targeting capabilities. As one of the first agencies to implement this advertising platform for clients, Mindstream Media Group has the insider information to help you determine if your brand should be taking advantage of Instacart’s benefits.

Basics of Instacart

Instacart is one of the largest, most widely available grocery delivery services across the United States. The delivery app partners with most supermarkets, local specialty shops and even pharmacies in the user’s proximity. Shoppers create a virtual shopping cart, filling it with grocery foods and household goods, which is then fulfilled and delivered to their home by a “personal shopper.”

Instacart was founded primarily in grocery services and partnership stores; however, as consumers continue to adopt and depend upon on-demand “personal shopping,” Instacart has branched out into non-food entities, creating connections with and access to personal everyday goods for consumers, like beauty, home and office products.

Instacart Ads Platform

During mid-year 2020, Instacart created a by-invite-only self-service advertising platform for brands to better reach their target audience. Via this ad portal, marketers can manage Featured Product campaigns that appear across the Instacart marketplace. These campaigns function similarly to paid search, leveraging user keyword and phrase searches to identify potential in-market customers. The platform then holds a bidding auction for advertisers under the payment terms of a cost-per-click model. The best part? No minimum ad spend required.

Source:  Instacart

How Brands Can Benefit from Instacart

Brands utilizing Instacart’s platform can benefit in multiple ways, like leveraging the partnership of an experienced agency partner, getting real-time performance data and arguably the most important—driving sales growth.

Leverage Agency Expertise

Mindstream Media Group has been granted an Instacart Ads license, which enables our clients to be at the forefront of an extremely high-demand and cost-effective form of advertising for consumer packaged goods (CPG).

Valuable (and Timely) Insights

Brands in the CPG category find the platform’s capabilities especially valuable and even critical as it enables real-time performance insight into advertising efforts’ impact to sales in the form of platform-reported return on ad spend (ROAS). Too often, brands are dependent on retailer-reported weekly—or worse, monthly—sales summaries, which must then be extracted or sent individually from each point-of-sale entity. This creates a lag in assessing the effect of paid media support on the lift in overall sales, making it even more difficult to quantify the rate of return relative to campaign spend.

A real-time performance dashboard is assigned to each brand account showcasing direct response campaign metrics like Impressions served, Clicks, associated Click-through Rate, relative Spend and ROAS. This view allows media managers to keep an eye on performance and delivery trends to assess the overall market landscape and track return.

Source: Instacart

Summary tables of each campaign Ad Group present a detailed breakdown of investment, overall sales volume and revenue generated respectively. Clicking into each Ad Group drills into the specific user searched keywords and/or phrases that triggered activity against each product category.

Source: Instacart

A Recommendations dashboard outlines where opportunity lies for media managers to bid up on specific user search queries that are trending related to the brand’s campaign Ad Groups. Although this is a useful tool, it is very important to evaluate each recommendation relative to existing Ad Group performance. Suggested Bids are typically much higher than what your current bid is clearing at, meaning that increasing your bid may actually bring down your ROAS!

Source: Instacart

Capture Sales

Instacart users have high average order values and frequently make repeat purchases, which presents brands with a favorable environment for capturing immediate sales. On average, customers conduct 20 searches per order, of which more than half result in an addition to the shopping cart, leading to a purchase. Thus, it is critical for brands to engage users often by queueing up all available products and inventory, and by bidding smartly on Featured Product campaigns.

Source: Instacart

Advertising Goals Supported by Instacart

The primary advertising goal supported by Instacart is sales. Brands can reach users in the shopping environment as they are curating their orders for immediate purchase. Keyword targeting and the pay-per-click auction model tailor the Instacart Ads platform as a ROAS solution for advertisers.

For example, Mindstream Media Group’s current Instacart campaigns for a CPG client consistently return 3.5 average ROAS and have even strategically and successfully effected 5.4 ROAS during pinpointed product pushes.

Consideration is the secondary goal, after sales. Keyword targeting allows brands to position themselves among similar categories and competitors that the consumer is actively seeking.

Types of Clients Best Suited for Instacart

While Instacart started out as primarily a CPG space, it continues to expand its partnerships with other retail category types and product goods such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Sephora, Best Buy and many others. The platform will undoubtedly continue to grow as consumer demand for convenience remains a top priority.

Source: Instacart

Whether you’re just getting started in ecommerce or are an experienced brand looking to accelerate growth, you could benefit from the help of an experienced marketing partner like Mindstream Media Group. Please reach out to start a conversation.

Read more about client growth in the CPG category: [Case Study]: Redefining CPG Media Mix for Immediate Growth

Learn about recent campaign success in Shopper Marketing: [Video]: Accelerating Sales With Shopper Marketing



‘Tis the Season – 3 Holiday Shopping Trends for 2020

At this point it is cliché, however true, holiday shopping this year will look a little different. While Black Friday has traditionally marked the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season, even that has been upended. When Amazon bumped their infamous Prime Day sales event to October, other major retailers responded with their own deals, creating an extended holiday shopping season. In fact, research shows 49 percent of consumers plan to start their holiday shopping by Halloween or even earlier. As a result, October is now being included in holiday forecasting for the first time ever. The ongoing pandemic, upcoming presidential election and uncertain economic conditions makes projecting sales difficult. However, survey after survey says that most consumers are looking to spend the same as they have in years past even in the current climate.

Safety will continue to be top of mind prompting retailers to remain focused on safe shopping options like online ordering, curbside pickup and contactless payment in addition to implementing in-store safety precautions. These considerations will play a big role in holiday marketing strategy. Those plans will look different by region based on variations in behavior due to the pandemic, making it more important than ever to leverage research and real-time data to influence the consumer journey. As retailers strive to deliver convenient solutions that meet consumers’ needs anytime, anyplace, anyway and anywhere, we anticipate three shopping trends to emerge this holiday season.

Ecommerce Will Remain on Top

Over the last few holiday seasons, ecommerce has continued to see large increases. The ease of shopping on your couch, getting the gift quickly and not having to deal with crowds are only some of the reasons why ecomm over the past few years has seen a 10 percent increase year-over-year.  In Q4 2020, ecommerce will be king with over 60 percent of consumers saying they will spend more online this year than they have in the past.

When polling our own staff, many discussed that although they may not be shopping for any particular items, they do plan to make many of their purchases online.

Shopping Trips Will Be Limited

Due to the pandemic, many consumers have limited their in-store trips since March. Previously, many consumers would go to multiple stores for their every day and large purchases alike in order to make sure they got the best deal. Shoppers are now less likely to browse, making store visits much more intentional. A survey by Ubimo found that when consumers venture from the safety of their homes, 93 percent now have a specific plan in mind of what stores they will visit and what they need to buy, as opposed to only about 63 percent who did so pre-pandemic. All this planning means fewer in-store visits. As a result, Retail Dive anticipates a 25 percent drop in in-store holiday traffic this year as shoppers plan ahead and consolidate trips in an effort to limit potential exposure to the coronavirus.

Consumers Will Shop Local

The one silver lining (if we can find one) of the current environment is that “shopping local” has new life. Many consumers are looking to support local businesses this holiday season, more than ever before. We have all had a hard year, and many shoppers are rallying around their favorite local businesses that have been hit hard in 2020 due to stay-at-home orders and decreased traffic. The National Retail Federation reports that 49 percent of consumers have made a purchase specifically in order to support their local businesses. That support is expected to become a long-term behavior. A poll conducted by Nextdoor found that 72 percent of members plan to continue frequenting local businesses more often even after the crisis ends.

This sentiment is echoed by Mindstreamers as well, many of whom note an intention to be more mindful of purchases this year and plan to shop locally or via small online shops to support small business in their communities.

Like they say, the only constant in life is change. This year has definitely had more than its fair share of uncertainties that have turned marketing calendars and media plans upside down. Brands have faced brutal marketing challenges forcing them to break out of the mold and adapt strategies on the fly, making speed and agility paramount. Radical changes in media consumption and new pressures impacting consumer behavior have necessitated marketing mix shifts and made (multiple) contingency plans status quo. But one thing remains the same, we’re here to Fast-Forward Business for our clients and agency partners. If you’re looking for a bold strategic advisor fueled by data and driven by insight to advance your brand, let’s connect to discuss the possibilities.

Amazon Prime Day 2020

In a year of unprecedented circumstances and amid a backdrop of a global pandemic, Amazon Prime Day (October 13-14) is gearing up to be the biggest shopping event of the year. With COVID-19 impacting how shoppers purchase in store it’s not surprising to see forecasts showing the e-commerce giant flourishing from its Prime Day event yet again. Sales in the U.S. are predicted to reach upwards of $6 billion with worldwide sales hitting $9 billion. While Prime Day has historically kicked off mid-summer and back to school shopping, this year will be focused on holiday deals.

Prime Day Planning

With the pandemic throwing our lives for a loop, online retailers are finding planning Prime Day to be more challenging in the face of fluctuating consumer demand. However, according to a survey conducted by Profitero in late March, 56 percent were optimistic that Prime Day would be successful given that consumers were already shopping online due to coronavirus concerns. COVID-19 is still very much a part of our lives, making Prime Day lightning deals and heavily discounted products especially attractive for deal-seeking shoppers. As of August, a poll by Piplsay found about 48 percent of U.S. consumers were budgeting to spend the same or more than last year on Prime Day and 31 percent were planning to spend less.

While consumers are adapting to a new way of shopping, Amazon is adjusting to the new needs created by the pandemic. Once mundane online purchases like household goods, cooking and office equipment have become some of the top demanded products. “Similar to the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, we expect the top performers on Prime Day to be electronics, toys and games, beauty, health and personal care, home, appliances, and other pre-winter categories, as consumers continue to shelter at home during the winter months,” said Dani Nadel, President and COO of marketplace pricing analytics firm Feedvisor.

Amazon Advertising

Although dwarfed by giants like Google and Facebook, Amazon’s newish venture in advertising is a fast-growing pillar of the company. While Prime Day focuses on Amazon’s suite of products, other top name brands are tapping into Sponsored Product Ads. These keyword search-driven product ads are used by millions of sellers leveraging the third-party marketplace to drive sales at a favorable return on ad spend (ROAS).

Amazon ranked the highest (36 percent) among respondents to a December 2019 Feedvisor survey that asked brands which platform drove the highest ROAS. Paid social and Google came in second and third with 29 percent and 27 percent of responses respectively. Among brands selling on Amazon, the disparity was more pronounced, with Amazon commanding a whopping 59 percent of responses. Amazon’s reputation for effectiveness and demonstrable ROAS has lead an increasing number of brands to advertise on the platform. In fact, the percentage of U.S. brands advertising on Amazon jumped from 57 percent in 2018 to 73 percent in 2019. It is no surprise that Amazon’s ads platform has weathered the COVID-19 storm well with an expected 41 percent growth in digital ad revenue YoY.

Prime Day and the Holidays

Prime Day has long been known as “Black Friday in July” but with COVID-19 pushing the event to October, it’s now every brand’s risk and reward to lay a foundation for a successful holiday season. Due to supply chain issues, brands run the risk of depleting inventory with little hope of building it back up before the Cyber 5 (Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Saturday, Cyber Sunday and Cyber Monday).

Brands are leveraging Prime Day to read the room for consumer habits in both online and in-store trends in an effort to forecast the latter half of Q4. It’s more important than ever to stay flexible and quickly adapt media strategy based on real-time data from consumer trends. If your brand needs help keeping pace with the ever-changing media landscape, connect with us to learn how Mindstream Media Group can Fast-Forward Your Business through perspective, capabilities, a CRUSH IT culture and the pricing insight $500 million in scale brings.

Marketing The (Shorter) 2019 Holiday Shopping Season

The holiday shopping season is here!

Yes, it’s only October, but retailers are already decking the halls and rolling out the deals in hopes of spreading the holiday cheer early on, and of course, maximizing consumers’ holiday spending.

In simpler times, before the ubiquity of connected devices and the convenience of buying with a few quick taps of our thumbs, the holiday season officially began the day after Thanksgiving. But as retailers have made it oh so easy to buy through compelling offers and making free shipping pretty much a standard practice – not just at holiday time – there’s less of a reason to wait for that ultimate post-Turkey Day deal.

And, marketers are definitely getting more creative in their methods of reaching holiday shoppers. Ultimately, isn’t that what marketing is all about?

Why wait until Black Friday?

The holiday season is beginning earlier and earlier every year, and that’s partially thanks to Amazon’s Prime Day. It’s credited with kicking off the shopping season early in Q3 with about half of Americans making a Prime Day purchase; and 70 percent of those people included a holiday gift in their order.

Half of Americans make a Prime Day purchase; 70% of those include a holiday gift

Of course, in the spirit of competition, other retailers jumped on board with their own July deals and created somewhat of a buying frenzy that can only be matched by Black Friday. And with all these summer deals, why not go ahead and get some of that holiday shopping out of the way?

While retailers are indeed concerned that the six-day-shorter timeframe between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year will hurt their bottom line, Black Friday is still expected to be the top shopping day for 2019, with Cyber Monday coming in second and Cyber Saturday rounding out the top three.

Although shopping season has already hit the ground running, there’s still a great opportunity for marketers to win the holidays by minding some of the current trends outlined below, as well as thinking outside of the box (ahem, holiday gift-wrapped box) to provide a unique, memorable customer experience.

thinking outside of the box

Mobile’s continued growth

Digital commerce has undeniably been on a trajectory of growth in recent years, thanks in large part to our mobile devices. Mobile spending share of total digital retail commerce continues to grow at a higher rate than desktop. According to a comScore State of Retail report, in Q4 2018 (last holiday season), mobile commerce had grown 44 percent over the previous year, while desktop had grown just 13 percent.

Mobile commerce has grown 44% YOY while desktop has grown 13%

TIP: Take advantage of those large-screened devices and optimize your mobile experience, so you’re not leaving money on the table.

Retailers stepping it up

Currently, only about one in three Americans are even aware that there’s a much shorter shopping season this year. But, not to worry: 44 percent of retailers will call out the shortened time frame in their advertising this year, 54 percent will run the deals earlier and 55 percent will deepen their discounts even greater than they normally would.

Retailers to call out shortened holiday shopping timeframe

TIP: Don’t wait. It’s better to start communicating your deals now, as opposed to waiting until Black Friday. And if your price isn’t necessarily the lowest, focus your advertising on the benefits to your prospective customers – the value they’re getting for their money should be clear and undeniable.

Shipping: Free required, fast negotiable

Thanks to Amazon (again), consumers have become accustomed to fast and free shipping. They expect to receive their purchase within a matter of days, or in some cases, hours. While other, larger retailers have been able to compete on the “fast and free” level, smaller retailers sometimes have to choose – and research shows that “free” prevails over “fast” with over 84 percent of holiday ecommerce transactions in 2018 offering free shipping.

But that’s not to say speed isn’t unimportant, either. Fast shipping speed was ranked number one (at 62 percent) when digital shoppers were asked how they define positive experiences with digital brands or retailers, in a recent Avionos survey.

Another case for free shipping? RetailMeNot’s Holiday Insights guide shows that 58 percent of holiday shoppers will not complete an online purchase without free shipping.

Fast shipping is the most important factor

TIP: Do we need to say it again? Offer free shipping to make it on consumers’ nice lists this year – and make it fast if at all possible.

Channel overload

While email messaging is the O.G. of digital marketing, offering the highest returns for marketers at an average of 42:1 return on investment, the sheer volume of other channels and growth of digital media options overall can leave advertisers a little lost on how to best choose the right channels to reach their prospects at the right time.

Email has the highest ROI for marketers at 42:1

eMarketer’s Email Marketing 2019 report shows that email is still a top digital activity for consumers, as well as a preferred means of communication with brands. Virtually all age groups use email, and around half of all emails will be read on a mobile device.

TIP: Definitely use email marketing since it’s an owned channel for your brand, with great ROI potential and has an opted-in audience. For guidance on other channels, consult a professional to help optimize your holiday strategy.

See also: Top Ways to Win at Holiday Email Marketing

Let’s make a deal

Before we dive too far down the rabbit hole of “do this, not that,” let’s summarize the overlying theme of holiday marketing success: deals rule. Seven in 10 shoppers say that price is the No. 1 factor when purchasing holiday gifts.

7 in 10 shoppers say price is the no. 1 factor in purchasing holiday gifts

TIP: Offer a unique deal in which customers can see the clear value and benefit they will receive. Holiday shoppers will no doubt research deals for the items they’re seeking, so make it easy for them to find the best offers.

Time will tell

In summary, marketers must look beyond Black Friday advertising (although still a crucial part of your strategy) and find a creative approach to making your brand stand out from the competition. Consumers want value, not just in the form of lowest price, but also in the buying experience and brand interaction.

Technology has enabled better brand experiences – through social channels, personalization capabilities and advanced targeting tactics, just to name a few – but at the same time has made it more challenging for marketers to identify the most efficient and effective strategies to reach potential customers.

This holiday season, there’s no doubt we’ll see marketers employing unique, creative tactics on one end of the spectrum, to dependable, less exciting methods on the other, in order to try and win their share of the holiday budget. Chances are that most marketers will be using a mix of approaches, and ultimately, consumers will decide which brands make the nice list.

Need help connecting with consumers? Contact Mindstream Media Group for digital, traditional or holistic media strategies that deliver the results that matter most to your business.