Read Time: 3 mins
Q4 is perhaps the most important period for retailers, with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas sales taking up the tail end of the quarter, and we know getting your strategies right is crucial to setting you up for success. We heard from Alice Malthouse, NMPi; David Maddison, HSBC; Derek Freer, Webgains; and Simon Boice, Lovehoney as they discussed how to make the most out of the season.
What are the big consumer trends affecting marketing both now and into the future?
Alice highlights that the way users are consuming media has changed over the last few years, and video is now playing a very central role; with users even going to YouTube to check out reviews. Google has released new formats to help advertisers and brands take advantage of this growing trend.
Other trends our panelists called out were Insta-Checkout from Instagram, consumers going back to basics, and a fundamental shift in customer loyalty.
What tactics can be used to promote retention?
Retention of customers is always important, but during the holiday period, you’re likely to come across customers who only visit once a year – to buy for a loved one. First-party data will play a central role here, especially when it comes to building awareness ahead of the buying season, which then allows you to create audiences that you can serve offers to later on.
What can advertisers do to mitigate the problems of Brexit?
With uncertainty at the core of Brexit negotiations, transparent communication with your customers will help to maintain trust. Simon highlights that this is part of Lovehoney’s strategy: if deliveries are running a few days late, then the team make sure it’s on the homepage to manage expectations.
Should brands be engaging in Black Friday this year?
The question here should really be “can brands afford not to?”. Put simply, even if you yourself don’t want to engage, retail as a whole will be. Your competitors will almost certainly be planning on ramping up their activity – and you’ll have to respond. Nevertheless, remember that you have January and February still to come, so don’t worry about putting all of your eggs in one basket.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to devise a new offer for Black Friday, though. We see many brands repackage their existing offers as Black Friday deals. Consumers are still in a mindset of conversion during this period, so regardless of whether it’s a brand new deal or you’re just repackaging your existing offers, you have to be there for your consumers.
Finally, consider preparing your strategy for Black Friday immediately after the previous one. Knee-jerk reactions kill your margin, whereas using your insights while they’re still fresh will help you to go further.
How do you see the drive for more sustainable ecologically friendly products and business practices playing out?
Environmentalism is a growing consumer demand, and it is inexcusable not to be working towards plastic-free packaging now. On top of this, being at the forefront of lobbying efforts is also in businesses’ best interest. If you have to react to legislation, the PR fallout of not reacting quick enough can be deadly.
But, if you’re on the right side of environmentalism, it is a handy tool that can be a part of your marketing strategy, especially to those generations where it is a big factor of their lives. Being proud of your efforts, having an environmental policy that you can use, or a badge that can go onsite are all handy marketing tools as they reflect a shared concern and interest with your consumer.