Marketing to satisfy customers at Christmas - Business Works
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Marketing to satisfy customers at Christmas

by Aneesh Reddy, Co-Founder & CEO, Capillary Technologies In marketing, 'holiday engagement' is not the type of engagement that involves brides and gowns. Itís all about generating holiday sales using different methods to connect with consumers. The recession is fading away and wallets are expected to open wider, with more cash available for holiday spending in 2013, says Aneesh Reddy, CEO of Capillary Techologies.

Marketing competition couldnít be fiercer than during the holiday season. Businesses are competing on a new level by tweaking prices, advertising and leveraging social connections with a new intensity. Price points are always important considerations, but customers are expecting great deals with a bow on top. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind to help you pack in the sales for marketing during the 2013 season.

Christmas Creep

Did you hear an advert for early Christmas shopping in July? Well, almost. 'Christmas Creeps' is a term referring to the pattern of holiday advertising creeping earlier and earlier into the year. Perhaps you grimace (or rejoice) hearing the Christmas music theme come alive over the speakers in your favorite retail outlet. In fact, this year Kmart launched their Christmas holiday television advertising campaigns with an 'animated' creepy gingerbread spokesman-thing. The Kmart Gingercreep was greeting an unsuspecting office worker with the warning, "Donít let the holidays sneak up on you!".

The public response was less than positive when the ad was aired on Kmartís Facebook page. Followers were outraged that the company launched this ad more than 100 days before Christmas. To its defense, it was an advertisement about using layaway to capture sales, but that didnít matter to the social following.

This television commercial aired on 9 September 2013, establishing Kmart as the record holder for the earliest holiday marketing campaign on record. According to Experian Marketing Services, Kmart may have been the first to act, but the competition is happy to follow.

Experian surveyed over 200 companies about their holiday 2013 marketing plans. A whopping 69% of respondents were well into the holiday planning by the end of August. Nearly half planned on leveraging pre-Halloween campaigns across multiple channels using online displays, e-mail and print advertisements.

According to Experian Marketing Servicesí GM for Global Research, Bill Tancer, "Our consumer confidence data shows it as the highest itís been since the recession, so we expect the early promotion trend to carry over into the holiday season with Black Friday deals being offered even earlier than last year."

Top 3 favored marketing channels for the 2013 holiday season

social media in fourth place

What are the popular channels for early holiday marketing? Online displays, e-mail and print media are the top three methods responders plan to use. Television and 'other' came in last place. That wasnít a big surprise, due to the expense of TV commercials, but what was a bit of a surprise was social media hitting fourth place. Consumers love to chat and share updates about the latest deals they've found using social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Customers may get what they want this Christmas

Promotional tactics are closing in on what consumers actually want. While there may be those who really love to do their holiday shopping by visiting real shops, a large percentage of consumers prefer to shop online or through catalogues. The downside of catalogue shopping is that shipping fees take a significant chunk out of the budget.

Retailers have listened to consumer feedback and now free shipping is favoured as the top promotional tactic offered by online and catalogue retailers. A perfect match! Retailers providing what buyers want Ė free shipping!

Number two on the favourite tactics list are the 'deal of the day' offers. This type of promotion is well served by e-mail, but even better via social media advertising channels. If fans are on Facebook then a company should serve up a 'deal of the day' link to the 'deals' page.

Customer service - centre stage

Everyone wants great deals and free shipping, but when people end up with the wrong size shirt, a broken toy or missing shipment, customer service stands front and center to represent the best interests of your customer and business. Make customer service contact information easy to find on all packaging. Make it simple for gift recipients to return goods for a new size or refund. Provide clear instructions on how to return products and hereís another opportunity to stand out - offer free shipping on returns!



Aneesh Reddy is the Co-Founder and CEO of Capillary Technologies/ For further information, please visit: capillarytech.com



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