As Christmas draws near, the planning phase begins and you might find yourself excited to begin the most festive time of year or frantically trying to think of some new concepts to help you run your Christmas campaign and at a loss as to where to start. Sound familiar? Well, look no further. In this article, I'm going to share with you five different themes with fresh ideas to spice up your Christmas marketing this year that you can repurpose and implement to create impactful campaigns for your audience.
In keeping with current trends, below are a few thought starters that are appropriate for anyone having to continuously run campaigns and remain relevant over this period. If you need any help, D+M can localise and align these campaigns with your overall strategies and address any significant challenges.
1. Wellness and care
The caring economy: Whether it's self-care, family care, or child care, society is realising that a culture of care is essential to our economic well-being and the wellness of our communities. The care and wellness economy emphasises taking care of one another and safe environments. It is for this reason and the fact that we can finally enjoy being able to properly appreciate Christmas together that this is a definite trend worth considering. Campaigns highlighting the Christmas spirit centred on family for 2022, with messaging around mindfulness, togetherness and the much-needed stress relief to create meaningful moments will create special memories we have all waited so long for.
2. Local community spirit, reflecting the neighbourhood
Building community relationships to encourage local, convenient and safe environments is also a nice post-COVID touch. Through repurposing locations with ideas like pop-ups, hoardings and other forms of activation that can support community-driven ideas. Communities will want to feel seen through strategies and products tailored to their specific needs and surrounding. Focusing on engaging customers and putting them first by uniting them together over a subject that is in line with or directly tied to a brand. Brands should be aware of these trends as they relate to their audiences and be prepared for these changes that have been long overdue for all ages groups across generations, genders and cultures as well as other demographics such as ethnicity or socioeconomic status.
3. Changing consumer expectations
Re-consider the role of your brand and all the different ways consumers are choosing to shop. By leveraging an OmniChannel strategy, you can ensure a consistent ‘merry’ customer experience with every touchpoint. Innovate and surprise customers around changing expectations with respect to delivery and time spent. This marketing approach provides the building blocks to ensure the brand remains relevant and up-to-date – effectively planting the seeds for future changes in the Web3 space. New retail and market demands will cause a surge in digital investment in the upcoming years, but don’t forget the human voice is a crucial component of a successful strategy. There is value in the human experience as a crucial component, whether it be through local consumer feedback or meetings with locals who are familiar with foot traffic, traffic patterns, and peak shopping hours in their postcodes.The social conversationInvestigate the opportunity to promote Christmas initiatives with creator collaborations to partner within a variety of platforms and leverage new audiences and features. This content-driven approach across multiple platforms will drive customers to view and engage in Christmas campaigns.Given the constant changes in social media and sense of self, research and user behaviour indicate that marketers should design moments that inspire young people to accept their flaws. Create authentic, real content, with your online/digital actions, ensuring it is always centred around honesty.
Affordable and the value-add
Many people will prioritise affordability and value-add since the cost of living is rising and is anticipated to persist through 2023. Think about campaigns from the heart to suggest ways to multipurpose, whilst still creating memorable experiences with families over the Christmas period. Conscious planning can leave a warm feeling with your audience stimulating the senses and giving the season a unique touch.
Hopefully, these thought starters have inspired you to further activate your marketing and digital touchpoints during this season, as well as highlight the importance of creating engaging campaigns.
Web3 is still shaping up with a continuum of rapidly emerging capabilities and technologies and my research and work in this area mostly points to the following six topics for marketers to consider in the next 12 months:
Number four of six topics to consider when getting ready for Web3.
The third space, a social place
Online will never provide a human-to-human unique experience, and as retail marketers would know, activations and events are healthy traffic generators for centres when compared to online. Customers are always looking for experiences and places where they can have some fun, belong and be a part of something that cannot be bought online or experienced digitally. Creating spaces for people to come together and enjoy something in common will need to be more innovative as we move further into this space.
This draws on the idea of individuals needing an everyday third place destination from home and work, a concept supported by Starbucks founder, Howard Schultz. Such places are particularly important for socialising, interacting, networking, entertainment and relaxation. Demand for locations that can function as a third-place will likely increase, as remote working has become more common post-pandemic. Centres can own that third space as a way of serving the community and locals. Re-think these spaces creatively, with directions like sustainability, park-style discovery spaces, beautification schemes, learning experiences, workshops, exhibitions, immersive experiences, performances, screening rooms, childcare facilities and hospitality all woven together by integrating technology that will additionally enhance every experience.
The challenge will be to provide the third space consistently and cost-effectively and appeal to targeted groups with bespoke, immersive activations and experiences, paired with the question; ‘what part of it could be digitally relevant or reimagined?’
When it comes to your business, there's nothing that matters more than your brand and the people who support you. The strategy of brand advocacy is still new to marketing planning, but may be the marketing solution that is currently missing from your strategy. For me personally, after running a successful boutique agency for over 22 years, I truly do believe, I would not have survived without my trusted and loyal brand advocates (even though I never implemented an official strategy to nurture them all those years ago). These trusted partners, friends, colleagues, employees, customers and clients, recommend your brand to help build positive awareness. These people are brand advocates because they truly believe in your brand and are an integral part of your business growth and survival. They're the ones you can count on for a recommendation or lead when someone asks for advice about your products, or what your company does. Brand advocates complement your marketing strategy, amplifying your brand even further; helping you grow organically and ultimately becoming successful. (Read: 13 Essential tips to remember when starting a business)
Let me ask you this; one of your friends tells you about a great new restaurant that has tasty, delicious food, an ambient atmosphere and pleasant staff. What do you do? You check it out… don’t you? When you share your experience about this new great place with your friends, you're doing the restaurant a huge favour, contributing to their awareness and ultimately, their business. You are becoming a brand advocate – telling people about how special it was face-to-face or on a social media platform, where other people are exposed to your experience.
The truth is that personal recommendations matter, much more than most people realise. According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising. Even academic research into WOMM has proven its effectiveness in conversion. In the International Journal of Market Research, M. Nick Hajili wrote:
“Trust, encouraged by social media, significantly affects intention to buy. Therefore, trust has a significant role in e-commerce by directly influencing intention to buy and indirectly influencing perceived usefulness.”
And even if a referral doesn't lead directly to a sale, it can still increase visibility, good will and awareness for your brand. Brand advocates are real, genuine people, sharing an authentic experience, who want to see you succeed, because they are loyal and passionate about your brand. When compared to brand ambassadors, brand advocates are informal, real and trusted.
In a world of algorithms, this is an important and essential part of your social media content strategy to spread the word and be seen. The word from a brand advocate is a powerful form of marketing at no cost and are underestimated or overlooked when developing marketing strategies. They need no incentive to share, and only do so as they genuinely love your brand and of course, the experience.
So, how do you integrate brand advocates into your marketing strategy?
Take the time to workshop, identify and find your list of potential brand advocates who are your most loyal and satisfied customers, clients, employees, friends, or family members of your workers. Brand advocates are people from all walks of life, but one thing they share is a passion for your brand and the products or services you provide. The important thing is that they are excited to tell other people all about your brand.
Develop a process/ program that works for your business. That may be some form of personal correspondence that actively encourages your brand advocates to keep your brand top of mind. One thing to remember when developing this strategy is that brand advocates usually choose to share your brand on their own. Simply because they believe in your brand and its products and want others to know about it. So, your program should not be too forceful, but rather simply keep them up to date with the brand along with subtle engagement and rewards.
Ensure they feel valued and make them feel special, listen to their needs and concerns, communicate and provide them with a heart-felt thank you often, reward them with exclusive deals or even freebies and gifts. You can also provide them with perks like discounts or exclusive access on the newest services you might be offering before the general public finds out about it. By making these people feel appreciated and happy to continue recommending your brand to their family, friends, neighbours etc
AND WHY SHOULD YOU?
It is free or close to free - helping to grow organically, your brand advocates powerfully share your news whenever they can, with little or no incentive. Even just one person can make a huge difference. Research shows that those who receive recommendations are significantly more likely to purchase a product or service. When people talk about you online, it means more than just getting more sales: it also improves your search ranking, so you'll pop up higher in SERPs.
It drives traffic to your site - When you only have a few employees and a few clients, it can be difficult to find the time to go out there and attract new customers. And when you're a one or a two-person operation, you can't afford a huge advertising placement budget. That's why having advocates is so important, they help you grow your business without spending a great deal.
Developing brands is not easy, it takes years and sometimes many failures – which is why it's so vital to have a trusted group of people that have your back and are ready to promote your business, spreading the word about what you do. So, it makes sense to use this resource as much as possible in marketing strategies – right?
If you are looking for new ways to grow your business, it’s time to brainstorm some ideas and nurture brand advocates. This can be the best form of marketing; as part of your success and business growth. (Read: 4 thought-provoking insights during COVID) Whilst it might take time to develop a team of brand advocates, along with the essentials like, brand positioning, social content strategy and other relevant touchpoints – it will be worth it. At the end of the day, nurtured advocates will generate leads and that, along with all the essentials, will ensure you hit the right NOTE with your marketing strategy. Need some help with your brand advocate strategy?
Marketing can often be a burden, causing further stress when trying to operate a successful company. We all know that when you focus on everything you are really focusing on nothing and with a forever changing landscape, digital platforms, technology and social channels transforming by the second, it is obvious that the marketing responsibility is becoming more specialised and you need experts on your side who know what they are doing.
Over many, many years, I have weaved in and out of helping all sorts of companies with their marketing to grow and deliver results. I have seen clients stress over deadlines or simply miss them because they have too many other things to worry about when trying to operate, lead and manage a business. Luckily for me (well I consider myself lucky), I live and breathe marketing and I’m grateful for leading an amazing, talented team who are passionate about what we do, and not only like, but love delivering marketing solutions after so many years. (Read: 4 Easy steps to finding your passions) With marketing being a forever changing landscape, it continues to challenge us and our knowledge to keep learning and stay on top of emerging trends, even after 23 years of agency life. From the traditional off-line options into the heavily, submerged digital and socials strategies, one thing always remains, marketing is competitive and you never know what’s around the corner or what may happen in the environment that can influence your strategies to achieve the results you really want – which is why outsourcing your marketing can make perfect sense.
Here are 5 of the main reasons why you should consider outsourcing:
1. Save time and money
Marketing your business requires expert knowledge in areas of strategy, brand, web, digital, content, copy writing, design, research and social media (just to name a few) marketing functions. Outsourcing will save on time and money VS trying to do this yourself.
Marketing is a strategic process involving the planning, organising and the delivery of the right mix to achieve specific objectives; your employees would need to be on top of, as core purposes to really leverage the most out of your marketing budget.
If these people are employed inhouse it takes time, money and resources into retaining and upskilling them. Building and paying for that marketing person or department is risky and time consuming and if you have unsuccessfully been down that path before, you would know it causes an enormous amount of stress.
Engaging the right creative partner with the expertise and ability will save money and further headaches of employing others and hoping for the best, it will get it off your ‘to do’ list so you can focus on your core business.
2. Receive the right advice from the experts
Imagine the ability to scale up and down with additional resources as required to deliver the latest in marketing trends that work and campaign components, using tools and systems that you’re unlikely to invest in or may not even know about.
It's difficult to be sure you are implementing the most relevant marketing strategies that will deliver. When you hit that point, this is the time to consider partnering with the right marketing team who should know what is working in the marketplace and what audiences are currently responding to.
They come on board with a load of talent, a clear mind and fresh ideas for your company, overcoming any internal politics and challenges, as they are not employees.
They remain focused to deliver upon a powerful marketing strategy for your business and are not being used by other team members for projects that are not directly related to growing awareness for your company. You also get access to the full resources of an experienced, experts with a specific skill set.
3. Ensure you have the right strategy mix and content
Outsourcing pays for the services of experts who are well-versed in the continually changing landscape of marketing, and who will research, create, and implement marketing strategies or produce compelling content designed specifically for your brand.
Successful marketing will bring rewards to any business, but different products and industries require different strategies to help leverage the marketing budget and get results.
There are many different low-risk and low-cost ways to implement and boost sales or build awareness, it’s just a matter of knowing. With a variety of options available, when you put the right heads together, clever marketing that thinks outside the box is applied.
After workshopping the key issues and challenges, a performing marketing outsource agency should be able to offer a new perspective and offer fresh, exciting ideas and strategies that you may have not known about.
To give an example, after a planning discussion, I advised a client to run a brand advocate and referral program as part of the marketing strategy. Brand advocates are trusted partners, friends, colleagues, employees, customers and clients, recommending your brand to help build positive awareness, because they truly believe in your brand and are an important part of your business surviving and growing. They're the ones you can count on for a recommendation or lead when someone asks for advice about what your products are about, or what your company does. Brand advocates complement your marketing strategy and coupled with a referral program, target happy customers, who will refer you to family and friends. This strategy successfully elevated the brand and further growth for our client. It was clear the business had never invested or even considered this kind of strategy in the past, which proved to be valuable, driving traffic at a low cost. (Read: Brand Advocates - An essential part of your marketing strategy)
4. Have complete control
Moving into the future with digital platforms, technology and social channels transforming by the second, it is obvious that the marketing responsibility is becoming more specialised and new positions are being created to meet the very specific and demanding marketing functions for companies to grow. Outsourcing will ensure you have complete control as;
using a set package approach means you have complete visibility and control over your marketing spend, with set pricing that adapts to your strategies and touchpoint requirements;
you will only receive the marketing requirements needed for the business with a results reports allowing you to measure and review performance, ensuring the right strategies are in place;
you will have the flexibility, time and insight to make decisions based on the performance of your marketing. Every business is different and has different needs.
5. Make informed business decisions, based on the performance of your marketing.
Most entrepreneurs and business leaders, don’t have the time to dedicate to marketing their business or brand efficiently and would be much better off spending their time on leading the entire business, instead of just the marketing.
When outsourcing your marketing, your role as an owner becomes more strategic, allowing you to make decisions based on the performance of your company marketing and sales; rather that getting bogged down in the ‘doing’ of your marketing or getting the right marketing talent to be across all marketing functions. As the old saying goes, ‘work on the business not in the business’. This will provide the ability to dial up the right marketing strategy as needed.
Growth will be the priority looking at the business performance to make informed decisions.
Leave the latest research and trends for the experts to learn and advise upon. Remember, it is in their best interest for your company to perform, if you perform, so do they; it’s an all-round ‘win win’ for everyone.
These 5 reasons are amongst many, as to why outsource marketing may be a good fit for your growing business. By engaging an expert marketing partner with a consistent and proven reputation you save time, money and further headache from trying to do it yourself or employing someone full time. The approach will also ensure you have the answers, some of which you may not have known. Marketers who ask the right questions will put forward the right strategies from dedicated and passionate experts who know how to get the results, for your business to grow, providing the control to review results and take the marketing function off your to-do list.