In the middle of this holiday shopping season, there are some strong indications that it could be record-breaking for many companies. Amazon reported a Cyber Monday shopping record, surpassing its own previous record earlier this year on Prime Day. And for the five-day period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, the retail giant sold more than 180 million items. More broadly, Adobe Analytics estimates that consumers spent nearly $8 billion total on Cyber Monday alone.
Marketers everywhere are pressing to get their company’s share of those consumer dollars. In the midst of the reach for record revenue lie opportunities for some marketers to press for success during the remainder of this holiday shopping season and beyond. Here are a few opportunities you should make space for to get the most out of this year’s campaign, and build on that success in the year ahead.
Get on the ‘good marketers’ list for next year’s holiday season.
While looking back on the year can be a great strategy for improving your brand’s marketing, don’t wait until the new year to start your review. Go beyond mental note taking to capture what’s working and what’s not. Writing an abbreviated outline for next year’s strategy based on this year’s performance can be a tactical way to build on strategy. Ask yourself what you and your team might have differently this year–and apply those lessons learned as you sketch out a plan for next year.
Having taken good notes and applied them to next year’s plan before the holiday shopping season is over is a great way to rest easy on the holidays, since you’ll have already gathered the information that can improve your 2019 campaigns, and begun sketching out next year’s plan. Doing it in the moment also means better information retention; even if your notes don’t get looked at for several months, they will be sharper for having been captured in the holiday marketing moment.
Don’t just talk, but remember to do some observing as well. For example, social listening that’s tuned in to your customers’ moments of delight or dissatisfaction can help inform what should be sustained or improved in your future marketing plan.
Brush up on your marketing knowledge
This one merits a clarification first: Yes, when it comes to the holidays, there’s nothing wrong with leaving work at work. But for many marketers whose holiday plans are moving along as intended, the final part of the holiday shopping season can leave them with extra time that can be used to keep improving themselves and their team’s competitive position. If your winning holiday marketing campaign is humming along like Santa’s sleigh on a snow-encrusted rooftop and you find yourself with a little extra time, you’ve got the opportunity to press for a competitive personal and professional advantage.
Using this extra time to pick up a book about the changing data economy above, to study new uses for AI in marketing, or the impact of new marketing channels like VR and AR can be a great way to keep your competitive edge. It can also be a good time to check out conferences for the coming year (and maybe even secure a discounted spot). By not letting your skillset freeze over, you and your team will be better positioned for 2019.
Many of the best marketing leaders wouldn’t consider this one quite so optional: Saying “thank you” to customers remains a key part of any brand strategy throughout the year, and especially so during the holiday shopping season. Even for marketing leaders who have wisely taken this into account, it can be easy to lose sight of the others who make your work successful. Take time to thank your team members and strategic partners with a small gift, a handwritten note, or a video message. Gratitude is one of the best forms of marketing, and those gestures can enrich and prolong relationships on all sides.
Take stock(ing) of the new data economy.
The economy of consumer data is changing. Due to increased competition and regulatory concerns, an increasing number of companies are bringing some or all of their data collection in-house, rather than outsourcing it all to the large data providers like Facebook, Google, and Amazon. Declared data firm Jebbit notes that “relying on transactional or behavioral data requires you to draw conclusions about your audience’s wants and intentions.” But, “unlike transactional data, declared data is information willingly and actively given by consumers, often about their motivations, intentions, interests, and preferences. Declared data strips away the complexity and uncertainty of inferring, and leaves you with exactly what you need: your consumers’ own thoughts.” By collecting narrower sets of declared data that is voluntarily given by customers, marketers can simplify operations, take the guesswork out of their strategizing, and alleviate some of the concern around data breaches, since less data on hand means less damage in the event of a hack. And it can be relatively simple to collect with engagement tools like quizzes and gift guides.
Of course, the large data providers will still be a key in many marketing strategies, from segmentation and targeting on platforms like Facebook to Google’s algorithmic ad targeting. Whether your brand collects its own declared data from customers, outsources to the large players, or has an advanced AI strategy, the remaining part of the shopping season is loaded with potential for the right marketing leaders to set the stage for success through the holiday shopping season and into the new year.