Marketing mediums that shine during the holidays

It is every retailer’s favorite time of the year – the beloved holiday season. And as we wind down what has now become Black Friday “weekend,” there are some mediums that I feel are helpful in keeping consumers in-the-know about sales and such at the most appropriate times.

Radio
That’s right, I said it. Radio, which many marketers feel is a waste of budget, is helpful during the busy holiday season. People are in their cars, in and out of the stores, with making purchases on the brain. They want to get the scoop on where they need to be to get the best deals. For larger companies, radio ads during peak travel hours can be a good way to reinforce the TV spots and circulars that you’ve been pushing out. For smaller businesses, a radio spot during the holidays can be a great investment to call attention to the great items that you have to offer, along with any promotions that you have.

Online – SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
The internet has become a HUGE resource for the holidays. From gift ideas, to hunting down gifts, to pricing them out, people are using the internet like never before. Increasing your website’s visibility in search results can mean the difference between a consumer turning to you or a consumer turning to your competitor.

Online – Social Media
Sites like Facebook and Twitter allow marketers to promote posts so that they appear in consumers’ feeds. This presents a great opportunity to meet your consumers where they already are so that you can let them know how you can help them with their holiday shopping.

MobileSMS and MMS (Short Message Service and Multimedia Message Service)
While I personally struggle with the intrusiveness of mobile marketing, I cannot deny that it is a great opportunity to reach consumers and deliver relevant, location- and time-appropriate messages through a medium that is more times than not guaranteed to get the message through. For the holidays, I’d focus particularly on SMS and MMS with concise, hard-hitting messages that get the point across. Tell the consumer what he or she wants to hear, for example – “Save 50% on the entire store Thursday – Sunday at all North Carolina locations.” I would also provide users with the opportunity to “unsubscribe” to text messages to avoid the risk of running off those who are uncomfortable being reached via their mobile device.

Television
This time of the year brings millions in front of their TV screens with prime time TV shows well into their seasons, holiday specials, and countless NBA, NFL, NCAA Basketball AND NCAA Football games showing all day and night. TV ads, of course, are very expensive; however, if this is a medium you can afford, this is definitely the time of year to use it. Be smart in your media buying and select programs that will reach your target audience and deliver quality content.

What mediums do you think are most effective for marketing during the holiday season? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Commit to your marketing strategy

Whenever you set out to do something important, one of the first things you need to do is to decide what and how much you are willing to commit to it. Marketing is no different. Once you have a marketing strategy set, you need to decide exactly how much time and money you are willing to commit to it and you need to stick with those commitments. I have witnessed companies set strategies in place and then decide to jump ship in reaction to a competitor’s strategy, or they are not impressed with the sales a couple of weeks into the strategy and so they bail. The result? A rushed and ill-planned alternative route that likely everyone is not onboard with or aware of. The result of that? Inconsistencies in the way that the company speaks to consumers.

While some marketing strategies yield immediate sales, some efforts are most effective with leaving an impression with the consumer and nurturing relationships that may result in brand ambassadors (super-loyal consumers who spread the word about your brand just because). So don’t get so caught up in whether or not your numbers are shooting through the roof after you initiate a strategy. You have to give it time to run its course, especially if you haven’t even gotten any metrics on your efforts. That’s why you should set a minimum time commitment and stick to it. Don’t bombard your audience with messages because you change your strategy on a whim. Trying to keep up with the Jones’ and lacking dedication to your strategy can hurt you tremendously in the long run.

If you work at a larger company, jumping ship from strategy to strategy can be really discouraging, frustrating and confusing for your team and the company. When people spend so much time and energy to produce work for a given strategy, only to see aborted, the damage to their morale can be huge, especially if it happens often. You can’t expect your team members to get excited about working and ready to give their all if they have been shown that their work won’t live long or be given the shine they thought that it would receive.

I realize that sometimes things happen and you have no choice but to change up your strategy. Situations that involve legal issues or situations that unknowingly alienate or insult a significant group of your consumers are examples of times where changing your strategy may be necessary. However, reactions to the competitive environment or lackluster sales are not reasons to abort strategies that you and your team have worked hard to develop and implement. Plain and simple, commit to your strategy.

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