The aftermath of the holiday season: What’s next for your marketing plan?
It's natural to want to kick back and relax after the holidays, but columnist Tony Toubia argues that this is a great time to nurture those newly acquired customers to continue reaping sales and successes from the holiday spending season.
You’ve made it to the end of the holiday season. Now what? Sales are up, and new customers have been identified, but now isn’t the time for marketing campaigns to disappear. Instead, retailers need to ensure they stay top-of-mind and turn seasonal buyers into lifelong, loyal customers.
Shoppers are worn out by December 26 (and so are their wallets). After the holiday rush, retailers are exhausted, too. Oftentimes, brands unintentionally ignore their newly acquired customer pool, assuming they’ve done all they can for the year to rake in the sales and generate leads.
But why would customers stay engaged if they haven’t heard from you? Now is the time to think about how you can keep these customers coming back for more. Whether it’s through post-holiday newsletters to new subscribers or announcing surprise sales after Christmas, retailers can utilize the following four tactics to continue reaping the sales and successes from the holiday spending season, well into the new year.
Onboard new subscribers
Once you’ve acquired all of your new subscribers and purchase registrations from the holiday season, onboard them effectively to create a lasting relationship right from the start. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to any marketer: It’s cheaper and easier to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one. The holidays are a natural time of year to generate new customers, which then makes post-holiday a crucial time to devote efforts to retaining them.
At this point in your relationship with the customer, you essentially have carte blanche, so why not use marketing to your advantage and advocate for your brand? Methods to achieve this can include softening the hard-sells and leaning into product and brand education to create lasting fans and advocates. Following the holidays, most retailers will enter a natural clearance period, so let the low prices be the sales driver, and instead focus your energy on creating lasting relationships with your new consumers.
Ignite post-purchase journeys
After the shopping frenzy of the past few months, your database should be full of recent purchase information. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste. Justify and anchor those purchases by igniting engagement and conversion with consumers, and start communicating with them on how they can start up their own post-purchase journeys. Talk about the ways your consumers can use the products they purchased, how they can get the most from their products, and perhaps even sneak in subtle upsells when appropriate.
Who says a post-purchase journey needs to be one-size-fits-all? If you have major product or service lines, consider custom tailoring post-purchase journeys to those products or services. Nikon (disclosure: client) has done this with some of its most prominent items; for example, subscribers who recently purchased a camera receive the latest tips and tricks to take the best photos.
Now that you’ve reeled in new customers and you’re talking to them, it’s time to show them you’re also listening. No, that doesn’t mean you can bombard their inboxes with dozens of newsletters; that’s a surefire way to turn them off your brand altogether. It’s the new year, which means you can bet nearly every customer will have health and self-improvement goals top of mind, a topic you can leverage to continue communicating with them even after your sales have ended.
This is the perfect time to ask yourself how your products and services can help subscribers and consumers meet or exceed their goals. Being a customer-centric company means creating a real connection with your customers, so meet them on their terms and show that you’re in full support by connecting their recent purchases to ways they can meet their New Year’s resolutions.
By the start of the new year, your C-suite most likely has a good understanding of how the holidays panned out for your organization, so take the good with the bad and start planning ahead to invest in the 2018 holiday season. What worked and what didn’t? Was there an obvious gap in the consumer experience that needs to be filled? Were all of the tools and technology in place to maximize holiday revenue? Continue riding the momentum and energy of the holidays to stay ahead of the game in making a case for what you want to do differently next year.
After all, you do not want to find yourself in October of 2018 trying to make a case for BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store), e-gift cards or predictive product recommendations, so use the stats and success (or lack thereof) of the recent holiday period to effectively present your case to the appropriate stakeholders.
It’s easy to go dark after the hustle and bustle of the holidays has ended, but that’s not the way to create lasting relationships with new customers or to keep your brand’s recognition steady. Retailers need to embrace the aftermath of the season for what it is: a valuable opportunity to keep talking to consumers, maintain excitement with January surprises and rewards, and head into 2018 with impressive revenue gains and a freshly acquired (and active) customer base.