Build a Preference Platform With Your Customers
Even during exploration phases much of the early marketing focus is conversion oriented, but marketers do this knowing that they can execute marketing messaging outside of the prime buying season. The goal in these early days is often to simultaneously use the same vehicles and channels with different messaging stratagems to both create a path to purchase and to close on the sale. That can be tricky to execute but is a low-cost strategy in a cost per click environment and may garner some early sales to justify the cost.
Even more important, this is the perfect time to touch base with your loyal customers and remind them of your relationship, emphasizing the point with great content, personalized recommendations and fantastic promos to further shore up their established preference. Be as generous as possible and give them an easy mechanism to share. Those early sales have the added benefit of providing fuel for product reviews and links that can help later sales. Many retailers simply get into sell, sell, sell mode early in the season and hit the same note all the way through the season. Long retail experience tells me that you need to build to the crescendo to get the maximum impact.
Later Days = Best Buying Options
If you are a retailer, your best selling approach later in the season depends on your preparation the last few months, the strength of your brand, and the uniqueness of your offerings. Consumers have myriad buying options and have been conditioned to look for and wait for deals. With free or low cost fast shipping options, they have the ability to wait for the ideal offer, promotion or sale and have no incentive to settle for a suboptimal deal unless you have created a strong platform for preference.
Amazon, of course, is the master of the preference platform built on great experiences, convenience, free shipping and breadth of product. Because consumers have so many options it may be difficult to create the urgency which is a hallmark of later sales messaging as shipping days dwindle. Of course, that does not hold true if you have a truly unique or unusual offering or if you have invested in the customer relationship that creates a preference platform. Email is a strong tactical advantage to current customers or interested consumers and should play a role in both early and later phases of the holiday.
With over 20 years of online experience Robin Neifield serves as the CEO of Netplus, a top interactive agency, and as the trusted digital guide for CMOs. She has been widely published and quoted on digital strategy and has been a frequent speaker and panelist at industry events like Search Engine Strategies, OMMA, Ad:Tech and others where her insights are sought on varied marketing topics such as digital strategy, behavioral targeting, social media marketing, search engine and conversion optimization, localization strategies and proximity marketing, mobile gaming and email marketing. You can find her on LinkedIn, or reach her by email or phone, (610) 304-9990.