Why can’t Holiday 2020 be business as usual? How to do marketing right this year.

The COVID-19 outbreak has upended the lives of consumers worldwide. Most notably, it has limited the ability of people to gather together in large quantities. Deciding on what to do to be safe, especially when you consider large celebrations such as holidays, can become an anxiety-inducing process.

Governments have pronounced an explicit message that COVID-19 poses an invisible threat to people, and large gatherings outside the house right now are really frowned upon. 

Stay-at-home orders from the government have dramatically changed the way consumers will observe major holidays in 2020. As such, a consumer’s purchasing behavior will also adjust to these limitations.

With consumers facing restricted celebrations, companies need to adjust their holiday promotional strategies to support their customers better and attract new ones.

Reassessing and Readjusting the 4Ps of Marketing for Holiday 2020

The COVID-19 disruption had many businesses scrambling to adjust their strategies and pivot quickly to adapt to the situation.

The 4Ps of Marketing provided a framework which can also serve as a meaningful and straightforward checkpoint for reassessment and readjustment whenever a black swan crisis like COVID-19 occurs.

MarketingProfs, a website resource for marketing professionals, discussed how organizations could re-organize their own 4Ps with an effective and decisive strategy.

·   Product

One of the most pressing challenges that organizations need to sort out amidst the COVID-19 disruption is product-related decisions, particularly in terms of balancing the short-term and long-term needs of their consumers.

Organizations need to ask this question for themselves:

“What product changes can we implement now to best serve our customers and communities without negatively impacting what we can contribute in the longer-term?”

To manage the COVID-19 disruption, organizations need to temporarily narrow their selection of products to focus on “essential items” and alleviate supply chain burdens. If possible, organizations can also allocate a portion of their production resources to deliver crisis-related goods.

Consequently, the changes in consumer behavior due to COVID-19 has also compelled adjustments in product road maps for the 2020 holiday season. As businesses set themselves up on the road to recovery, companies need to shift their resources to provide more support, security, and functionality to consumers celebrating at home for the holidays.

·   Place

COVID-19 has drastically changed how buyers physically engage with businesses in terms of purchasing and receiving products and services.

This is the primary question that businesses need to answer:

“How can we adjust employee and customer interactions to maximize safety and still deliver what customers want and need?”

There is no “standard answer” to this question. If you consider businesses from various industries with different operating models, there would be no one-size-fits-all solution. However, there has been some best practices that organizations can emulate for the holiday season:

a. Implementing chat support if it wasn’t present before, or expanded chat and phone support hours.

b. Virtual video demos to previously in-person or sales-guided activities (e.g., sales demos, self-guided demos, how-to videos).

c. Expanded delivery and touchless options for product receipt and service implementation.

d. Increases in online educational content and FAQs to support consumer engagement and information gathering virtually.

·   Price

With the economic uncertainty brought by COVID-19, consumers are naturally exercising more caution before making instant purchase decisions. Though the price may be a dominant aspect to purchasing decisions, expenditure, and timing are also other crucial factors that businesses should watch out for.

Businesses need to ask themselves:

“What pricing adjustments, offers, or changes to buying terms can we extend to put prospects more at ease with procuring what they need?”

To help businesses recover for the holidays, these are some approaches that will help companies entice purchases for their consumers:

a. Removal of or changes to ancillary fees (e.g., shipping and handling) to encourage online purchases.

b. Allowances for delayed or deferred payments with increased financing options.

c. Extended free trials and broader cancellation condition options.

d. Lowered or bundled pricing to support higher average order volumes at lesser margins.

·   Promotion

Organizations need to assess not just the approaches they use to engage with consumers but also the context of the messages they transmit to various channels.

As such, organizations need to be prepared to answer these two questions:

a. “Will audiences seek information related to my product or service in the same ways they always have?”

b. “What do they need to hear from us in those messages?”

Businesses need to make the apparent shifts in their promotional spending by paying close attention to where consumers are shopping for products right now. Performance metrics of consumer behavior for the past Easter Holidays and even Father’s and Mother’s Day will set the tone for the 2020 holiday season. It can signal what marketing strategies need to be applied to entice at-home consumers to make their purchases.

The Prediction: How COVID-19 will shape customer experience for the 2020 Holiday Season

There is never enough time to prepare for the upcoming holidays for companies and brands. Due to COVID-19, the holiday season is not like how it was a year ago. Consumers around the world are riddled with uncertainty. As such, this poses several challenges for businesses during the upcoming peak of the holiday season. Salesforce, a cloud-based software company, made five bold predictions regarding the 2020 holiday season:

PREDICTION 1: COVID-19 will set a new precedent in eCommerce penetration.

Up to 30% of global retail sales will be made through digital channels this upcoming holiday season.

The obvious impact of a large-scale digital eCommerce marketplace is the anticipation of high levels of digital traffic and online orders. Companies need to be prepared to conduct load testing and plan for the surges in digital activity. Consequently, excellent customer service support is necessary to ensure a smooth customer experience. Companies need to manage the “digital surge” throughout the entire customer journey to gain loyal consumers. 

PREDICTION 2: Holiday demand will be pulled earlier, thanks to a later Amazon Prime Day.

Amazon’s Prime Day event in October could potentially steal up to 10% of Cyber Week’s digital revenue. With merely 50 days between Prime Day and Cyber Week, the reality is that consumers will finally make holiday purchases earlier in the season.

This prediction implies that more consumers will likely purchase their holiday gifts during Prime Day due to the potential of store closings and the risk of infection. Unpredictable demand this year could potentially create supply and demand challenges on popular items. As such, consumers will likely buy early to secure the products they want. Companies need to take advantage of Prime Day to pull traffic and sales to their online marketplace.

PREDICTION 3: Last-mile delivery is predicted to run out of capacity.

Parcels shipped by traditional delivery providers will exceed capacity by 5% across the globe between the week before Cyber Week and Boxing Day. That’s potentially 700 million gifts that are at risk of not arriving in time for the holidays. 

The ability of packages to arrive on the doorstep this holiday will most likely be constrained. Based on the increase in parcels being shipped in digital orders and social distancing measures in distribution centers, traditional delivery providers are predicted to run out of last-mile capacity during the holidays. Companies need to thoroughly plan how to prevent these expected delivery issues as the 2020 holiday season is set to ship a record number of packages.

PREDICTION 4: Stores will be critical again this year, as fulfillment centers.

Companies offering store pickup — curbside, inside, drive-through —  will see a 90% increase in digital sales over the previous holiday season.

As companies are gradually shifting from manual “scrappy” operations to “scale” with streamlined, automated in-store capabilities, customer experience needs to be enhanced, and operational costs reduced. Thus, establishing agile and flexible fulfillment options should be a priority. Brands need to incentivize their customers to use these fulfillment options, instead of shipping. These options should be communicated and reiterated well. They can also provide store-level inventory visibility via digital channels in real-time.

PREDICTION 5: Marketing media mix will dramatically shift to personalization and localization.

We predict that 10% of mobile orders will be through social channels (with peak days reaching between 12%-15% of mobile orders). 

Companies need to focus on audience segmentation for the 2020 holiday season. They need to learn how to reach the right consumers, in the right location, at the right time. Social media is predicted to be the most important platform to engage with consumers this year. It is essential to plan and implement intelligent localized marketing. The messaging for customers living 3-5 miles from a store should be different from those living 50 miles away.

Shakr Local can help your brand plan early with locally relevant video campaigns at scale for your brand. Shakr will help create a unique and customized creative video that can be deployed to multiple locations during this year’s holiday season.

Plan for Recovery with Readjusted Holiday 2020 Strategies

With physical stores operating at a limited capacity and people staying at home, marketing for the 2020 holidays has fundamentally changed. The traditional channels that companies have relied on for so many years are now out of commission. Thus, companies need to adjust their strategies to be prepared for recovery by the peak of the holiday season. McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm, suggested several tips to help businesses recover:

STRATEGY 1: Rethink strategies and media plans.

Consumer purchasing behavior and their attitude will continue to change in the coming months. Marketing strategies and media plans should be tailored to follow suit. Companies need to reassess their products and services so that they can deliver value to at-home consumers who are celebrating the holidays.

STRATEGY 2: Win battle for brand awareness with video campaigns.

Companies should start revisiting what their brand means for their consumers. Agile marketing that focuses on video campaigns needs to be adopted at the brand-building level. Focus on the message of what the brand can do for consumers this holiday season. Start with that and then manage communications to test, learn, and refine video ads for continuous improvement.

STRATEGY 3: Adjust marketing strategies to where consumers are now – ONLINE.

As early as now, brands need to aggressively adjust their marketing spend, track performance, and reallocate the budget to reach online consumers. With stores at a limited capacity right now, a shift to the online marketplace is an inevitable reality. Quickly pivot and be both committed and creative about how to use digital channels for the 2020 holidays.

STRATEGY 4: Refocus brand to connect and be relevant to consumers using video marketing.

Consumers will recall brands that behaved admirably in response to COVID-19. Companies should tap into the elements of their brands that are relevant to the situation and use video marketing to show how they can make a difference with their consumers and the rest of the world. By stepping up to help society in general, companies have not only done the right thing, but they have also raised their brand awareness to connect with potential consumers.

STRATEGY 5: Prioritize the most relevant product categories.

Companies need to know what to prioritize for the 2020 holidays. They need to emphasize particular product categories that are relevant to today’s current situation. This means taking resources from the less relevant categories and quickly moving them to categories with active or potential demand.

STRATEGY 6: Redefine product loyalty.

Winning the 2020 holidays means that program benefits and the usual promotions and incentives that worked last year are unlikely to succeed this year. Companies need to get the input of their loyal consumers to understand what they expect to see from brands this year, since what they value may have changed due to COVID-19. Investing in personalization and marketing localization strategies will drive more relevant brand interactions, coupled with offers, benefits, and promotions that can build loyalty with new consumers and fortify it with existing ones.

Best Video Marketing Campaigns from Renowned Brands Amidst COVID-19

Heineken’s Stadium in a Box

Professional sports leagues were put on hold for a few months, and now professional soccer season is returning with a shortened schedule. To help soccer fans celebrate, Heineken launched “Stadium in a Box” to push Major League Soccer (MLS) fans a chance to win prize packages while wearing their favorite team’s logo. Fans can go to Twitter and tweet Heineken with a picture of themselves cheering for their team at home.

This promotion allows Heineken to add a twist to the traditional sports marketing strategy while still scoring points for soccer fans at home. Since there’s no set timeline for when people will be allowed to watch sports games live again, Heineken can extend this campaign to other sports events for the rest of the year.

Honda and Disney’s Enchanted Odyssey

Honda’s social media campaign highlights its 2021 Odyssey minivan features while featuring a family that reminisces Disney characters and Disneyland attractions. The “Enchanted Odyssey” campaign rolled out around the same time that Disney started reopening its attractions in the US. Honda also created a Disney playlist with the greatest songs from Disney movies to highlight the Odyssey’s in-car entertainment system.

Honda and Disney’s campaign is aimed at younger social media-consuming parents. However, this video marketing push can resonate with consumers of all ages, especially those who are fans of Disney movies.

Doritos’ Crash from Home

Just in time for the National Football League’s (NFL) return in September, Doritos is giving football fans a chance to become a star in ads that are set to air during the live games. The Crash from Home campaign offers fans a chance to create their own snack commercial at home and submit them online to win a prize.

The NFL’s return is a widely-anticipated sports event in the US. As fans anticipate a semblance of normalcy at home for the football season, Doritos ensures that avid fans can play a role in the live broadcast by celebrating their love for sports and snacks at the same time.

Domino’s Homemade Film Festival

Domino’s launched a virtual film festival entitled the Homemade Film Festival where fans can submit homemade videos for a chance to win a year’s worth of free pizza. The pizza brand created a microsite for the campaign filled with inspiration and tutorials, such as how to wait for contactless delivery or what to do with their pizza leftovers.

Domino’s fan film pizza festival can captivate at-home consumers who are hungry for some entertainment. With the rise of video content on social media like Instagram and TikTok, Domino’s could turn this cinematic pizza festival into an annual tradition even after the pandemic ends. 

Miller’s International Beer Day

Since international travel is not possible in the US these days, beer brand Miller Lite brought global destinations to the states as part of their International Beer Day campaign. The promotion covered the cost of beer for consumers in cities that were named after countries across the US.  Consumers may not get to travel abroad this year, but Miller Lite’s campaign can at least make them pretend that they did in exchange of free beer.

Shakr is here to level up your video ads game for the 2020 Holiday Season!

We’re here to help you ramp up your video campaigns with Shakr Local. Shakr Local at Scale can help businesses connect with people in a whole new meaningful way with our top-notch hyper-local campaign creative at scale.

Locally relevant ads are perceived to be highly personalized and can dramatically increase the consumer engagement of local businesses. Schedule a discovery call with us now!

References:

Adjusting Holiday Promotional Strategies for COVID-19 – Key Takeaways from Easter. (2020). Retrieved 20 August 2020, from https://www.numerator.com/resources/blog/adjusting-holiday-promotional-strategies-coronavirus-covid-19-key-takeaways-easter

Eiler, T., & Terrett, A. (2020). How COVID-19 Will Shape the 2020 Holiday Season: 5 Predictions on the Future of Retail. Retrieved 20 August 2020, from https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2020/07/covid19-holiday-readiness-retail-commerce.html

How marketing leaders can both manage the coronavirus crisis and plan for the future. (n.d.). McKinsey & Company. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/how-marketing-leaders-can-both-manage-the-coronavirus-crisis-and-plan-for-the-futureThe 4Ps of Marketing Amid COVID-19: Strategy Reassessment and Adjustment. (2020). Retrieved 20 August 2020, from https://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2020/42801/the-4ps-of-marketing-amid-covid-19-strategy-reassessment-and-adjustment

Slye is an inbound marketing professional who specializes in content marketing and omelets. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Shakr. He may be contacted at contenthacker.co.

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