Marketing to Women: 5 Tips on Moving Holiday Marketing from Ho-Hum to Ho-Ho-Ho

September 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

While September consumer confidence continues to stay low, marketers are having to gear up for holiday season with ideas on jolting women out of the Scrooge mindset.  The projections for this year’s holiday season only show a 1-2% increase, but that’s better than the past two seasons.

Time for Santas to Get In Gear

According to BIGResearch, “consumers might be in a more positive gift-giving mindset this year, as 5.3% intend on spending more on gifts this holiday season, besting readings for Sept-09 (3.8%) and Sept-08 (4.7%).  32.1% plan to spend the same, while more than a third (35.3%) plan to spend less. One-fifth (22.1%) say it’s still too early to know.”

So what’s a marketer to do to get his fair share?

Five Tips on Marketing This Holiday Season

1.  Focus on the necessities. This is not the year for extravagance under the tree.  If current spending patterns hold through the holidays, the “must -haves” will be more important than the “would like to haves”.  Even those with money are concerned about the future and holding on to what they have.  BIGResearch reports the majority of consumers (53.8%) remains focused on the necessities when spending. However, what is considered a necessity today is changing.  The emphasis will be on electronic devices like tablets, smartphones and other technology that now are an important part of our lives.

2.  Don’t expect credit card usage to fund holiday purchases. Consumers are focused on paying down debt and are using credit cards for necessities like gasoline, groceries and auto repair. BIGResearch shows that fewer than one in ten consumers are using credit more for apparel (9.8%), vacation travel (8.3%), and entertainment (5.5%).  This might be the season to think about a lay-away program or a new way to purchase items individually that complement former purchases.

3.  Value is key to purchase. Value may be different to all shoppers.  Brand names are still important and retailers such as Kohl’s and Target have seen positive impact from offering designer duds at affordable prices.  If your brand is strong, private label offerings will continue to be important to consumers.

4.  Marketing offers must stay aggressive. In a world where Groupon is making the 50% off a standard for a lot of purchases, the consumer is comparing prices with dogged diligence. And the smart shopper has the ultimate shopping tool in her hand at all times – her smartphone.  So prices need to be competitive and there should be an element of surprise in this year’s offering that differentiates you from competition.  It could be something like a gift card for a certain amount of purchase or free gift wrapping or some small gift.  For online, free shipping is a real motivator.

5.  New News Always Wins. This year is the time to reconsider how you have communicated with consumers in the past.  It will be important to get into the consideration set early in the holiday season.  Make sure you are using media, email, and social media to communicate some “new news” to your consumers on a regular basis.  Offer some new service or new product offering.  Use holiday words in all of your social media.  Create dedicated promotional landing pages. Help them out with suggested gift items.  Enhance your loyalty program.  Reward your loyal customers with special limited time offers.  Send your offers to the online deal websites to ensure they are seen other places.   Make sure consumers have a great shopping experience – whether that is online or offline. Reinforce that you understand their needs and you are not just tempting them with items but helping them during this Holiday season.

For more information, see our earlier post on Ten Must-Knows for Holiday Marketing.

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