Q4 holds a lot of power when it comes to consumer spending and holiday marketing budgets. When consumers are spending a huge portion of their spending budget within the last three months of the year, brands and marketers need to understand the modern consumer journey, spending trends, and shopper priorities in order to create the biggest impact within this largely saturated time of the year.
Before we dive in, let’s define what holiday marketing trends are…
A holiday marketing trend refers to a specific strategy, approach, or technique that businesses and marketers ideate and execute during the holiday season to promote their products or services across multiple channels when consumer spending is at its highest. These consumer marketing trends often allow businesses and marketers to see the changes in consumer behavior, tech advances, and evolving marketing practices. Holiday marketing trends change every year and need to be started early in order to have a finalized approach by the time holiday shopping begins in September and October.
Holiday marketing trends can vary depending on which industry, audience type, and budget they are targeting. Retail sees the largest focus on holiday marketing. From Black Friday to Christmas, retailers ideate a wide variety of strategies like discounts, bundle offers, shopping and gift guides, and loyalty programs to entice shoppers to head online or make their way to the local shopping centers. This is different than the health-focused industry which may tailor their marketing to achieving health goals and creating resolutions for the new year.
Travel agencies or airlines will take advantage of the post-pandemic travel frenzy to promote travel deals, packages, and accommodations to emphasize the bliss of experiences over material items.
Some trends from past years will always flow over into the next year, but what are the current marketing trends for 2023?
The holiday season is a fascinating time for marketers to learn the unique habits of their audiences or their client’s audiences in Q4. Trends, research, and numbers are what drive marketing strategies to build meaningful connections with consumers to create a thriving holiday shopping season.
A cool trend that marketers are noticing is the growing Social Commerce. People are moving from just chatting and sharing pictures on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to also shopping on them. The mix of chatting and shopping has changed how marketers see and interact with customers.
Social media isn’t just for sharing photos or updates any more, it’s becoming a big shopping place that marketers really can’t ignore. There is a rise of Gen Z shoppers this year. Gen Z is becoming a major force in the retail market, and businesses need to adapt their holiday marketing strategies to reach this demographic. This generation relies a lot on social media, convenience, and business/product reviews more than previous generations.
Businesses need to make sure their websites look great on phones and are easy to use. This way, shopping and buying stuff online is a breeze.
Teaming up with influencers is becoming a collaborative way for brands to get the word out about their products, services, and deals. This holiday season, influencers and brands are becoming real partners, going beyond just basic shoutouts. Influencers are sharing real stories, making brands feel more human, which really clicks with the people watching. This friendship not only makes the brand more popular but also creates a group of fans who keep coming back.
QR codes are making a comeback, and they’re super handy for shopping. They’re like a bridge between the real world and the online shopping world. Just scan them with your phone, and boom! You get lots of cool info and deals to make shopping fun and easy.
To add to the convenient options for holiday shopping in 2023, gift cards are the king of holiday gifts because they’re easy and everyone likes them. As soon as September hits, people are already thinking about Christmas and looking for holiday stuff, from trips and recipes to Christmas trees and more, but no matter if shoppers are heading to the stores in September or halfway through December, convenience is always going to be key.
Shoppers are beginning to care more about buying eco-friendly gifts during the holidays. They’re thinking about how their shopping affects the planet. So, businesses are changing their ways too. Many are using materials and products that can be recycled and are trying to reduce harm to the environment.
When we shop for the holidays now, we’re seeing more green choices. Companies know that this matters to their audience. They’re not just making better products, but also improving how they do business.
Start early, use all of your resources, and track your results
Every successful campaign starts with a plan, and the 2023 holiday season for retailers and marketers is no exception. It’s one of the busiest times of the year for businesses, making starting early not only effective for the business’s team, but for the shoppers, as well. Starting well in advance allows brands to lay a clear and well thought out foundation for their marketing tactics. It’s not just about decking out stores with holiday decorations; it’s about understanding the market trends, customer expectations, and inventory requirements.
An early start ensures businesses can think things through, iron out any glitches, and be ready to hit the ground running when the festive season begins in earnest. No one wants to have to scramble when October or November rolls around.
Today’s consumers expect businesses to know their preferences, dislikes, and shopping habits. Businesses have to utilize first party and third party data so they can tailor their marketing messages to resonate more deeply with each potential customer. It’s not just about blasting generic holiday ads anymore; personalized marketing, based on past behaviors and preferences, tends to resonate more, boosting loyalty and sales.
You know what tool everyone has access to and can be pivotal to brand awareness and holiday sales when utilized correctly? Social Media. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest aren’t just platforms for sharing holiday photos; they’re modern marketplaces that can bring a scroller to a brand website in a click of two buttons or complete a full sale within 5 minutes.
An effectively strategized social media marketing campaign organically and through paid ads can greatly heighten a brand’s presence during the holidays. Businesses can use these platforms to showcase new products, share heartwarming stories, or even offer exclusive deals.
Shoppers love incentives and holiday shopping can get very expensive very quickly. Businesses can give a sigh of relief to their customers when they offer discounts. Whether they are for early bird offers or last-minute deals, shoppers are always on the look out for a deal. This explains why Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the most popular shopping days of the year.
Promotional offers, like free shipping or gift-wrapping, can be that extra nudge a hesitant shopper needs to finalize a purchase. It’s these incentives that can make one brand stand out over another in the competitive holiday market. Shoppers are becoming disappointed in the lack of deals they see at stores for the holiday season, so you can catch their eye and keep them coming back for more if your business shows them an extra level of financial support during the busy holiday season.
Giving is one of the main themes of the holiday season. Businesses can harness this generous spirit through contests and giveaways for their shoppers.
This strategy serves a dual purpose. Not only does it generate excitement and engagement around a brand, but it also provides businesses with valuable customer data and feedback. You can easily obtain emails or phone numbers for text and email lists. Whether it’s a gift card, access to exclusive merchandise, or a free flight for a holiday vacation, prizes can intrigue your target audience, get them shopping even more at your center, and create a memorable experience that the shopper will remember when the next holiday shopping comes around.
All these efforts and strategies mean nothing unless you know the impact they made on your brand or business. From monitoring website traffic spikes, analyzing sales data, to assessing social media engagement levels, understanding what’s working and what’s not is pivotal. These insights aren’t just numbers; they narrate a story of customer preferences, market trends, and campaign effectiveness. Businesses or marketers can then adjust their strategies in real-time or make notes for the next season, ensuring constant growth and improvement.
Maximizing Foot Traffic At Your Retail Store
Foot traffic is, without a doubt, a major driving force of holiday shopping and one of the best ways to encourage people into your brick and mortar store is by creating a festive atmosphere. Elaborate window displays, sparkling lights, and beautifully decorated Christmas trees create a space where holiday shoppers want to stay and look around.
Hosting events at your shopping center can be another way to draw people in. For example, events like tree-lighting ceremonies, live music performances, or visits from Santa encourage families and friends to come together and in doing so create more shopping opportunities.
Just as you would share promotional discounts on social media, using your social platforms to showcase your festive decorations and upcoming events can serve as a welcome invitation. By providing a visual glimpse of the holiday magic within your center, you encourage shoppers to come, explore, and fully immerse themselves in the holiday experience.
How COHN Marketing Can Help Boost Your Holiday Marketing Campaign
Navigating the intricacies of holiday marketing can be a challenge, and that’s where COHN Marketing steps in as your trusted partner. Our expertise lies in creating tailor-made holiday marketing campaigns that not only resonate with your audience but also deliver results. Our experienced team will create campaigns that incorporate the latest holiday marketing trends, and tatics ensuring that your business remains at the forefront of the season’s shopping frenzy.
Contact COHN Marketing today and make this holiday season a success!