Crush it This Holiday Season with 10 Great Tips

Whether you’re a seasoned vet or newbie, you know firsthand how important marketing is for the holiday season. Now with the holiday season quickly approaching, an integrated marketing strategy is even more important for customer satisfaction and company profits. Here are my top 10 initiatives to implement immediately:

1. OPT IN APPEND. One of the easiest and most effective ways to enhance your mail strategy is to score your housefile with email opt in addresses from your ESP. Customers who are engaged with your brand, via email, perform anywhere between 23% to 200% greater than those who do not have an active email presence (all the more incentive for optimizing your email program!). Below is an average of multiple clients whose email segment performed 116% greater than those without an opt in address.

Returns begin to diminish in the older segments, however, (typically around 25 to 37 months) which leads me to point #2 below.

2. BROWSE REACTIVATION TOOLS. Advancements in digital browse technology continue to create new opportunities for incremental gains in ROI. Since only about 20-30% of your housefile will have an active email flag, score your housefile using NaviStone or 4Cite reactivation tools. By understanding lapsed customer browsing behavior, we can score lapsed names and identify “active lapsed browsers” who would mostly not be selected to receive a direct mail piece based on traditional RFM data. Typically, we see a 30% or greater lift in performance when mailing a scored lapsed customer.

How would you like to get a 5X to 10x return on any investment during your core season? Just like the old “requestor” programs that are still working today, turn-key postcard programs such as NaviStone and Boomerang allow mailers to reach previously unidentifiable website shoppers via the power of direct mail. Postcard content is tailored to the individual shopper based on their behavior on your website, and postcards can be mailed within 24-48 hours of the site visit. Contacting these browsers soon in the lifecycle yields very significant response – just like hotline buyers!

4. NAVISTONE PROSPECTING MODELS. As the pioneer and leader in understanding and integrating online intent, CohereOne’s partnership with NaviStone is second to none. NaviStone is a powerful prospecting program that identifies and understands meaningful browse behavior. We typically see a match rate of 60-70% of your previously unidentifiable site traffic to Postal names and addresses, and then use the intent data left by those visitors to identify high-response prospects for your direct mail campaigns. The low duplication rate against other outside lists (5-10%) indicates that we are finding a source of prospects that co-op competitors cannot.

5. ABANDON SITE RETARGET AND STATIC ADS. Many marketers make the mistake of operating their digital and print marketing programs within a silo environment. According to the 2017 Marketing Intelligence Report from Analytics Partners, incremental gains of up to 50% can be achieved by aligning offline/online channels. Unlocking this potential means breaking down silos and increasing your brand awareness. This happens through creating an integrative social media presence by re-engaging and thereby driving consumers to the e-commerce site. Facebook retargeting remains one of the most powerful and effective forms of online display advertising because advertisers can target people who have already expressed active interest in their product or site. Advertisers can apply Facebook retargeting efforts to Dynamic Product Ads as well as traditional Facebook ads such as Static Ads.

6. A PENNY IS DAMAGING YOUR BRAND. While email marketers will tell you this is the most profitable program in your marketing arsenal, it’s likely that way because it only costs around a penny to send an email to your customer/subscriber file. The bigger question is how much that penny is damaging your brand! The active holiday season only aggravates the diminishing returns on your email program. Resist sending more emails this holiday season and work smarter with more relevant and targeted emails rather than just blasting your entire email file every single day! Replace your Business as Usual (BAU) emails with targeted messages based on:

Reactivation series
Abandon cart and site trigger programs
Customer favorite series
VIP programs
Key Marketing Series (Pre-Black Friday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, 12 Days of Christmas, Catalog on the Way, New for the Holidays)

7. CREATE 1X REACTIVATION JOURNEY. Utilizing customer analysis, segmentation, and relevancy brands can better understand a variety of key points along not only the customer journey but across the entire customer lifecycle. The Single Buyer series is one of these programs!
Every company has spent valuable time and money on acquiring customers in the first place. According to MarketingSherpa, upwards of 75% of email subscribers are inactive creating large pools of 1x buyers. As these 1x buyer numbers continue to rise, a well thought out and timed Single Buyer contact series will help drive down those rising numbers. Re-engage your audience relatively early in the holiday with a special catalog cover and promotion. Then time emails to non-purchases at both 30 and 60 days while also increasing your promotional offer.

Reference prior engagement, best products, merchandise propensity, or other data so that the customer recalls their relationship with your company.

8. DIAL IN YOUR ABANDON CART EMAILS NOW. Most e-commerce platforms offer some basic abandon cart programs, so be sure to capture emails early in the checkout process or use third party vendors to tag your site and send offers on your behalf. Using personalized recommendations unique to each potential customer is key to higher conversions. This is also the best way to add immediate and incremental revenue to your holiday sales. Remember to contextualize your creative to reflect the holiday season, if appropriate. Doing so builds continuity of creative and messagings that should align with other holiday marketing efforts.

A good overview of key points is indicated in the right image. Follow these outstanding creative rules and dial it in now!

9. SYNC AND SEND CATALOG MAILINGS. Today, we can now synch catalog mailings with Facebook targeted audiences to expand our social media engagement. With a recent men’s apparel offer, we scored the mail file to determine how many records were engaged in social media. We then created similar audiences on Facebook and timed targeted ads to mirror the catalog in-home dates. The results below suggest the housefile respondents are more likely to respond with an integrative presence and prospects indicate a whopping 42% increase in performance.

For most businesses, 20% of products is driving 80% of demand. Yet many of those best products are not highlighted in marketing programs. Focus marketing programs (email, print, digital) to optimize and merchandise your programs and website around products that drive demand! It’s really that easy.

BONUS: MOBILE FIRST; MOBILE BEST! According to Consumer Technology Association’s™ Path to Purchase Using Mobile Devices Market Research Report, almost two-thirds of consumers now use mobile on the path to purchase. Holiday creative (and site functionality) should be optimized for a mobile-first; mobile best experience. As catalog, email, and PPC efforts drive a greater percentage of mobile experiences, ensure landing pages and your website experience don’t miss out on those all-important holiday sales.

Have questions or want help implementing these tips? Contact me at

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