When & Where Will Consumers Decide to Buy This Holiday Season?

Consumers have a lot of information at their disposal nowadays, which means retailers have to work harder to keep whatever edge they have. But forewarned is fore-armed, as they say, and our 2014 Holiday Shopping Season Report is chock-full of informational weapons for retailers to wield throughout the busiest season of the year.

While a small fraction of shoppers – mostly Baby Boomers – start as early as September and October, it’s November that is actually the busiest shopping month. December’s not too shabby either.

The three biggest shopping days of the year fall in the latter two months:

  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday
  • Christmas Eve

More than half of shoppers will jump on Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials (especially Millennials on Cyber Monday), but a quarter of shoppers will be scrambling for last-minute gifts on Christmas Eve, so save some deals for them.

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Your Marketing Fails When You Lose Focus

Seniors. Boomers. Xers. Millennials. Posts.

Brands spend a lot of time figuring out how to effectively market to each of these demographics. But is it time well spent?

Understanding audience is essential, of course, but there’s no magic formula. And you can’t possibly market to everybody at once, nice as that would be. Yet that’s what you’re doing when you let yourself get lost in generational theory and abstractions.

It’s like trying to get to a specific address with a map that only shows you what state you’re in. The details are pretty crucial to your success.

Let’s say you have a product or service with broad appeal, and these three potential customers:

  • A single white mom who’s 27
  • A married Hispanic man who’s 31
  • A 19-year-old college student

Can you use the same messaging or incentives on all three? Of course not! Yes, they’re all Millennials, but that one common trait is nothing against all of the things they DON’T have in common.

So how do you reach them?

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Important Facebook Policy Changes from Our Guy Chad

So I have favorites. We’re not supposed to. But… I’m only human. And if you met Chad, he’d be one of your favorites, too.

Many people take their birthday’s off work. Not Chad. He took the day AFTER off. (Brilliant planning, my friend.) He has a cat named Duster. He’s a writer. (Novel pending!) He’s one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet AND he’s seen Joan Jett in concert. I don’t think I really need to say more. I’ve sold you on his coolness.

Chad also sends out epic team emails. Complete with well appointed .gifs. And jokes. And details. And personality. Because Chad. Is. Rad.

The other week he sent a blast out to our team updating us on some of the important Facebook policy changes that were relevant to PunchTab and PunchTab programs. I thought, “That Chad. So helpful. Let’s share this with the world!” So, without further exposition, I give you Chad’s informative blog post on the important Facebook policy changes.

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Retailers and CPG Brands, We Feel Your Pain

Some retailers will never know what it’s like to be the low man on the totem pole. Even during times of economic crisis, people need to eat and put gas in their cars. But when the economy isn’t thriving, most other purchases become secondary, and that makes it even harder for retailers and brands that aren’t providing commonly considered necessities.

We’re all about solutions here at PunchTab, but before solutions can be offered, there needs to be a clear understanding of the pain these two verticals face in the marketplace. Here’s a breakdown:

Retailers

In addition to marketing changes and challenges brought on by increasing use of social media by consumers, retailers are highly susceptible to the whims of consumers, who are clearly spending more cautiously these days.

According to the July 2014 Retail Sales Report by the National Retail Federation consumers are:

  • Torn between spending on goods versus services
  • Reluctant to use credit to make purchases
  • Not spending in key areas such as furniture, home furnishing, and electronics

While July’s retail sales increase of only 0.1 percent over June’s is scary if it’s a continuing trend, NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz believes expectations of annual sales growth of at least 3.9 percent will be met by the end of the year.

“Overall, I still believe the economy and the consumer are headed in the right direction as consumer fundamentals such as positive income, employment and confidence remain relatively sturdy.”

That’s good news. But only if your brand is one consumers choose when they are ready to spend.

CPG Brands

While the above retail data also applies, CPG brands are subject to additional challenges that make it tougher to compete even on a good day. Because CPG brands sell through third party retailers, they end up:

  • Disconnected from consumers, unable to engage and offer a personalized experience
  • Relying on data provided by others to inform key brand decisions
  • At risk of being out-maneuvered by private label brands and fast-moving competitors

And this is all at baseline. Add in the learning curve of the ever-evolving digital marketplace and you’ve got a lot to manage.

They say step one is identifying the problem, so check that off your list. Ready for the solutions? We’ve got tactics for retailers and CPG brands coming your way next week!

Webinar: How Digital Marketers Engage on Social Media

Digital marketers are always-on, always learning, and always wondering what their peers are doing. (Yeah, we know you.)

And we’re in the same camp. We like to know who’s reading what, who’s following who, who’s tweeting the best stuff that we can retweet in a continuing effort to make ourselves look like amazing sources of knowledge, connected to fascinating thought leaders. (Just me?) So we worked with our good friends at Leadtail  to jointly produce a social insights report on digital marketers.

But we’re not over yet.

So we’re excited to announce that we’re co-hosting an informative webinar about our research findings and dive even deeper into what digital marketers are up to on social media.

The webinar: “How Digital Marketers Engage on Social Media” will take place on Wednesday, September 23, at 11am PT / 2pm ET. And we’re excited that our own marketing team member, Sonya Balzer, will be moderating the presentation and discussion!

 

Why digital marketers?

Digital marketers have embraced social media to engage in conversations with peers, discover best practices, identify influencers, and spot marketing trends, but questions still abound regarding how best to reach, engage, and influence these highly influential marketers.

(Here’s the obligatory “what you’ll learn” part…. Ready?)

During the webinar you’ll learn:

  • What topics digital marketers talk about the most
  • Which platforms and apps they use
  • What types of content they engage with
  • Which publications they read and share

We’ll also reveal the top 50 brands and people that most influence digital marketers, and examine their best practices. (So you can run out and go follow them all on Twitter.)

And of course, we’ll leave time to answer any questions you may have. Because that’s the best part. (Feel free to send questions in advance to @Leadtail on Twitter or hello@leadtail.com)

 

You’ll want to join us

Whether you’re a digital marketer or someone that sells to them, wants to be just like them, or wants to understand them- you’ll want to join us for this one-of-a-kind webinar on the social media habits of digital marketers.

Register now: How Digital Marketers Engage on Social Media.