Five tips for marketing at Christmas
With more than half of annual retail sales occurring during the three months leading up to Christmas in the UK, and a large proportion of these happening between Black Friday and Boxing Day, the festive season can quite literally make or break brands.
To make sure the festive season goes with a bang, some brands are spending more and more on big, flashy Christmas TV ads and campaigns to reach shoppers in the run-up to the big day, however not every brand has the budget required to take part in what many now refer to as the ‘Super Bowl’ of British Advertising. But fear not! As with Christmas presents what counts is not what you spend but the thought that goes into it making your gift, or marketing campaign, really relevant and personal.
So, with so much at stake, and just a few months until the big day, what steps can marketers take now to ensure that their brand is at the top of the wish list this Christmas?
Create emotive content
To cut through all the noise, marketing campaigns need to spark conversations that are evergreen in quality and continue growing and developing long after seeding – and the best way to do that is by using emotion. John Lewis’ Man on the Moon and Sainsbury’s Mog TV commercials provide great examples of how to capitalise on human emotion. The first focuses on the less publicised side of loneliness experienced by many at Christmas, and the latter applies humour to unexpected, catastrophic events, whilst both also integrate the relatable ‘time for sharing’ theme to deliver a heartfelt message.
Although each campaign was entertaining and successful in gaining many millions of media impressions, it is less clear whether they encourage the buyer to make a purchase, choose one brand over another or simply leave viewers with warm and fuzzy feelings. Without spending £7 million, there are many other ways for brands to get their products onto Santa’s sleigh at a fraction of the cost.
Outsmart the competition with a clever and creative SEO strategy
With online shopping now accounting for 27 percent of the UK’s entire retail market, a solid strategy for SEO is crucial for helping the search engine spiders to recommend and index your website. Marketers should ensure that online content revolves around providing answers to trending queries rather than simply telling the audience what you want them to hear. Smart content uses your assets, is entrenched in research, will contain useful information and be ahead of the curve. And importantly, it will help to drive traffic to your website and grow conversions.
Make sure you’re mobile friendly
Search engines rank websites based on their inherent authority, for example, are your pages being linked to by third party sources, as well as components that communicate positive attributes like the website’s speed, efficiency and general user experience. They also look at how mobile friendly your website is.
Today, some 39 percent of people use smartphones as the primary mode of research for products and services (up from 19% in 2013), and purchases made using mobile devices are predicted to reach $1.915 trillion worldwide by the end of 2016. With that in mind, it’s important to make sure you are offering mobile users a great experience on your website, while also considering mobile users carefully when planning your ads. For instance, it is well worth adding geo-targeting to the mix to not only enable you to serve real time ads to nearby, potential customers but it also provides you with meaningful and identifiable insights on what people want, need and are interested in during the festive season.
Show off your products effectively online
Product Listing Ads (PLA’s) are continuing to go from strength to strength. Cost Per Clicks (CPC’s) remain low, yet conversion rates and average order values are almost as high as pure brand, and the ROI is excellent. So how do you make the most out of PLA’s at the most important time of the year? Marketers will need to ensure all of their products are in the feed, named and include prices. Each product should have its own line and all text and images need to be ‘crawlable’ so the links can be discovered and indexed. Your feed will have to be updated daily and product titles must be 70 characters or less and in this instance, the description lines must include relevant keywords.
Be smart about how you target shoppers on social
Social Media is constantly evolving which is making it more useful and relevant to marketers, but also more difficult for brands to use to their advantage. Having millions of followers does not necessarily mean engagement. At a time of the year where brands should be trying to reach the right customers with the right message, it is vital to properly know and understand them. 55 percent of all FTSE companies’ followers on Twitter appear to be fake or inactive which means that content often isn’t even reaching ‘real’ users. Marketers need to dig deep when finding out where their target audience is spending time online and take advantage of data driven tools and proven advertising platforms to obtain results based on tangible business objectives and not just brand awareness, likes and shares.
With the average household spending approximately £800 on Christmas shopping, including gifts, food and drinks, marketers need to plan early, set clear objectives and ensure all channels are working together simultaneously. And in most cases they won’t need to spend £7m on a TV ad.
Re-defining the economics of CX in the new customer journey
There’s no shortage of customer service channels for the enterprise to select from today. Regardless of the many new metrics that have emerged – such as customer success, or empathy – cost reduction is still a primary driver in selection criteria.
There are many articles dedicated to how companies can turn customer service and customer experience (CX) from a cost to a revenue centre. The problem is, if you stop there and don’t look beyond cost reduction, you’re limiting the scope for CX to become an even bigger economic contributor in the enterprise.
There is every opportunity for customer service and CX to significantly influence the front end of business, particularly amongst direct-to-consumer subscription-based products and services, such as popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, as well as sports subscription services like DAZN.
In these products and services and others, there are new customer journeys that may drive business growth and revenue. They start earlier and may last a lifetime, so getting things right at the start of the journey is key so that customers have the best experience from day one.
Not only will this help in making customers less likely to reach out for issues-based support further down the line, but these customers will be much less likely to churn, and much more likely to take up new services as they are offered throughout the lifetime journey.
So, what does the new customer journey look like for these services?
Opportunity waiting for the likes of Netflix & Disney
While consumers may have previously regarded customer service as a way to mitigate the inconveniences in their lives, the customer journey is expanding in scope every day. Today there are many more touchpoints available that put CX in a position to drive revenue.
For one-off purchases, traditional CX deployments have not changed significantly in the past few years. However, if you look at the change in the CX relationships we’re seeing with subscription-based products and services, particularly media-based streaming services, it’s clear that these companies lead what quickly become very multifaceted relationships with their customers. These have serious potential to evolve over time for increased economic benefit.
For any sort of subscription-based business, customer lifetime value is paramount, and the requirement to actively manage a continued positive customer experience is critical.
Every interaction is an opportunity, and every data point is a chance to offer more value. Introductory offers can convert to longtime customers. Longtime customers may take up opportunities to upgrade to more premium products or services. They may also appreciate incentives to invite family and friends to become customers. Consumers who like a particular service, for example, may appreciate a recommendation for another similar or complimentary service.
It all starts with customer interaction, and the customer experience journey becomes an opportunity to strategically affect the user base and resulting revenue - which is a far cry from the limitations of call center cost reduction or churn metrics.
How do companies support the new customer journey?
More and more, customers look at the new customer journey as engaging with brands as part of their lifestyles. Many companies are making brand ambassadors available before the traditional customer journey even starts, which is a marked change from a purely transactional relationship associated with a one-off purchase.
These ambassadors, who are often independent users of products or services, are providing trusted pre-sales advice, and that same trusted advice can also function to nurture the customer journey in a subscription-based relationship. Call it ‘GigCX’ or ‘crowdsourced customer service’ or even ‘peer-to-peer customer service’ - it doesn’t matter.
The key is in providing impartial, trusted advice from real users. Think about it: who would you rather get advice from? Someone who has used a product or service extensively, or someone who has been trained to provide customer service surrounding that product or service?
For services such as streaming media, advice from trusted experts with real product know-how could be invaluable. This may not be limited to technical issues, such as what to do when you can’t access your favourite show, or how to access services across various devices. It could be parents helping other parents who are concerned about how to restrict adult content from child viewers, or simply customers who have similar taste in programming who can comment on the benefits of upgraded or premium products. The point is, these experts are easily available at any touchpoint in the customer lifetime journey, creating more chances to add value.
It’s also about tipping customers from ‘passive’ to ‘promoter’ in the NPS scale. It’s an opportunity to turn neutral customers who may be vulnerable to competitive offerings into loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and referring others, fuelling growth. It may ultimately help drive even further revenue by creating customers that are helping to sell the brand itself.
And, while chatbots and automation may play a key role, they are often not able to handle the more complex support needed in the new customer journey. Conversational AI is rarely as conversational as it claims to be, and in the new customer journey, most companies are finding that a mix of automation and people-centric service is an ideal way to nurture the many new touchpoints created.
It’s no longer about trying to replace human capital with automation: it’s about orchestrating a uniquely personalised CX, and proactively engaging during the customer lifecycle to enhance the experience, and to create more long-term value.
At the moment, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the power to affect the economics introduced by the new customer journey. We’ll no doubt see this evolve rapidly particularly amongst streaming companies as they use human-centric connections in CX to support the full potential of customer lifetime value.
About Roger Beadle
Roger Beadle is an entrepreneur and business leader who is reinventing how customer service is delivered via the gig economy. After establishing several businesses in the contact centre industry, Roger co-founded Limitless with Megan Neale in 2016. Limitless is a gig-economy platform that addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by the contact center industry: low pay, high attrition and access to new talent. Previously, Roger and Megan helped to build one of the largest privately-owned outsourced contact center business in Europe, before selling the business to the global conglomerate Hinduja Group. Roger is an outspoken proponent of digital ethics, worker’s rights and the ‘good-gig:’ which encapsulates gig work for incremental pay versus full time work, skilled gig work, no unpaid time/downtime and zero expenses.
Named a Rising Star at Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program, Limitless is a gig customer service platform, combining crowdsourcing and AI to help global businesses address their biggest customer service challenges – rising costs, increasing attrition, variability in demand and the need for diversity. Brands like Microsoft, Unilever, Daily Mail Group and Postmates are using Limitless’ SmartCrowdTM technology to connect with their most engaged customers, and reward them for providing on-demand customer service that can flex in line with demand. Limitless is one of the world’s first global tech platforms to introduce localised platform terms to protect the rights of its gigging workers. Backed by AlbionVC, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures, Limitless is empowering people worldwide to earn money for providing brilliant customer service for the brands they love.