Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday. Super Saturday. A blur of holiday shopping, giving and marketing blitzes that can easily leave one dazed and confused. With the holiday season behind us – and our inboxes, hopefully, on a much-needed retail email diet – it’s time to take a look at the “gold star” campaigns of the holiday season.
It’s hard to watch this heartwarming television spot without thinking about Paddington Bear. Evoking feelings of nostalgia and packed full of holiday spirit, this ad reinforces that an emotional appeal and a great story are key ingredients for a successful marketing campaign.
Samsung Galaxy Gear VR
Proving that the joys of virtual reality are ageless, Samsung took a multigenerational approach to Gear VR putting family time at the core of its television spots. While the retailer repeatedly made headline news in 2016 for product recalls and battery fires, this spot diverts consumers’ attention to a new product and sells an experience. Marketing lesson learned: make consumers want to be a part of the experience that your product or service if offering. Let them “buy” that feeling.
While REI first drew attention for its 2015 decision to close all stores on Black Friday, encouraging people to spend time enjoying the great outdoors with their loved ones rather than chasing deals, REI is now encouraging consumers to #OptOutside every day, even going so far as to include functionality on its website to help people find outside activities in their area. Marketing lesson learned: It doesn’t always pay to follow the trend. By joining a movement to #OptOutside, as opposed to shopping on Black Friday, people gain a sense of community and inclusion by going in the opposite direction of the masses.
What do an iconic member of The Muppets and a high fashion actress have in common? They are co-stars in Kate Spade’s #MISSADVENTURE video series. While designed to tease Miss Piggy’s holiday collection in collaboration with Kate Spade, these short videos put the spotlight on the designer’s products and are ideal for social sharing. Marketing lesson learned: embrace humor, tell a story, put the spotlight on your brand and embrace the power of celebrity (and, yes, I mean the pig, not the model).
Is it really the holidays if you don’t hear Hershey’s Kisses ringing like holiday bells, watch the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and spend time marveling at the latest holiday cups from Starbucks? These have become holiday marketing staples and, with or without a new element in the mix each year, they earn a place on the list of 2016’s notable holiday marketing campaigns. The lessons they teach? Set and manage your audience’s expectations to build brand loyalty.
Discounts and Incentives
Another day, another email offer. Is today the big day? Will it go cheaper tomorrow? Is it really the last chance to order and receive your purchase in time for holiday gifting? While many of these email marketing angles and incentives feel tired and bland, they speak to the power of price in driving online and offline purchases. From the emojis in the subject lines, to the teasers for what’s inside and the attempts to stand out in overloaded inboxes, the 2016 holiday season proved that aggressive and persistent email marketing remains a lynchpin in retailers’ holiday marketing toolkits. As for the successes of these campaigns, we’ll let the open and conversion rates be the judge of that.
As we enter 2017, it is only a matter of weeks before businesses will launch their marketing efforts for Valentine’s Day, seeking to entertain, engage and convert consumers both online and offline. As you evaluate how to position your products and services during the year ahead to maximize marketing ROI, remember this: every day may be a holiday but not every holiday is a viable marketing opportunity.