Ecommerce holiday sales are projected to reach a whopping $210 billion to $218 billion this season, up 11% to 15% from the 2020 holiday season. Inevitably, with increased spend comes increased competition from new and growing online retailers. Add to that the supply chain issues that have exacerbated online retailers’ bottom line this year, and you’ve got quite the challenge.
With port delays, extended delivery times and increased consumer demand, what can retailers do to salvage the 2021 holiday season? Over the last 20 years of holiday shipping, we’ve seen how the most successful online retailers prepare for a stellar holiday selling season.
After retailers finalize all inventory shipments and secure holiday storage, it’s time to implement a strong integrated digital marketing strategy. Focusing on an integrated digital marketing campaign can be the factor this year to a successful holiday season.
What is an integrated digital marketing campaign? An integrated digital marketing campaign is a unified, consistent message across a variety of platforms including social media, search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), email and content marketing. Using similar visual elements and consistent language across all platforms can solidify your message, increase consumer recollection, improve brand awareness — and ultimately lead to higher conversion rates and sales. Note that while an integrated digital marketing campaign provides audiences with familiar content across platforms, it does not use the same ad across all channels.
Social media advertising and how to leverage it. There are more than 3.6 billion worldwide social media users across all platforms. With such a large and diverse audience, how can a retailer take advantage of these platforms? An easy way to start is with the ad manager available through most platforms. Social media ad managers allow you to target by audience demographic, location and past purchases. As mentioned earlier, it’s important that the overall theme of your ads be consistent across channels while the specific messaging fits the social media platform’s user base.
For example, Facebook ads will need to be vastly different from TikTok ads. Audiences are very different between these two platforms, and they will not respond in the same way to the same ad. Tailoring the visual elements and content to a specific channel while conveying the same overall message is essential to a successful campaign.
TikTok is one of the most downloaded social apps for Gen Z and millennials. Your short-form video on TikTok will need to be created with this younger demographic in mind. In contrast, the typical U.S. Facebook user is around 40 years old and responds better to a video ad with product description content.
A well-executed integrated digital marketing strategy can address both audiences. For example, let’s say you are selling indoor hydroponic gardens like Gardyn. The concept behind this retailer is simple — grow your own food in your house. How can this product appeal to both millennials and Gen Xers?
Gardyncan appeal to all generations. The health benefits of fresh vegetables and greens is important to everyone. But how does a Gen X justify the cost? Why would the millennial purchase an indoor garden? For Gen X, the message may focus on cost savings over time. With inflation eating away at pay, the long-term savings of growing your own food can be justified. For the millennial, the message may be tailored to the lessened impact on the environment or the lack of pesticides in the growing process.
The integrated digital marketing campaign can focus on similar imagery, such as the consistent message of “Join the Home Grown Food Revolution,” with a slightly different sub-headline.
Leveraging social media with a tailored approach can be integral to your success this holiday season. It’s easy to set up a business account and start taking advantage of the advertising tools available on popular social media platforms.
What is content marketing? Content marketing has been a buzz phrase for years now. Recently, it has become even more important due to several privacy changes from Google and Apple. Most notably, you may have heard of a “cookieless” future. As Google and Apple begin to take actions to protect their users’ privacy, in the cookieless future consumers will not receive targeted ads based on their search history — a big win for consumers and a conundrum for marketers. Enter content marketing.
Content marketing leverages materials including eBooks, case studies, blogs and social media posts, to name a few. These pieces of content are not purely sell-pieces. Instead, they are meant to provide the consumer with detailed information regarding products, which also can contribute to improved SEO rankings.
Let’s go back to Gardyn. How could the company leverage content marketing?
The company has an active blog, consistent social media posts and video testimonial reviews on its website. All this content can be leveraged across different platforms — social media sites such as YouTube, industry publications such as Modern Farmer and business publications such as VentureBeat. This exposure increases brand recognition, ultimately leading to more website traffic and conversions.
Can I do this for Holiday Season 2021?Absolutely! Getting started on some content production right now is one of the most important things you can do. Once your content is ready to go live, get your message out there. Social media advertising and Google Ads are both great tools to leverage. As a friendly reminder, make sure you always edit and proof your work. And target your audience — the worst thing is to create an integrated digital marketing campaign and not target your audience. It’s always best to start with a highly targeted audience and see what your conversion rate is and then expand from there.
Integrated digital marketing campaigns can take weeks and weeks of planning and prepping, but it is not too late to create and execute a successful campaign this holiday season.
Happy selling and cheers to your best Q4 yet!
Sarah Smith is the Director of Marketing at Rakuten Super Logistics (RSL). She attributes her career’s success to her strong analytical background, marketing expertise and common sense. Smith has achieved consistent year-over-year growth since joining RSL in 2017, with 2021 growth coming in at over 300% revenue increase to date.