To the customer of today, experience matters. It really matters.
In fact, it’s forecasted that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key differentiator. The vast majority of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience. Further, customers base 70% of their experience on how they are treated.
Contrast that idea with the time of year we’re in. The holiday marketing season is upon us. Let’s be honest, it’s a busy—if not—hectic few months. For marketers, it represents a period when many of our best practices are forgotten in the dash to meet year-end numbers. And it makes some sense why we act the way we do during the holidays. According to a National Retail Federation survey, consumers will spend 4.1 percent more this year than they did last year for a total of $720 billion.
Even though we know customer experience is vital, the question remains: As marketers, are we meeting our customers’ expectations during the holiday season? Are we providing them the experience they expect?
To answer this question, we partnered with our amazing friends at Oracle Marketing Cloud. Together, we asked more than 400 marketers to critique our profession’s holiday season performance. The answers were revealing, candid and funny.
This year, we want you to give you a slight pause from the holiday marketing season with a set of hilarious, spot-on cartoons that illustrate some of the practices we succumb to in Q4. We hope you enjoy it, and we wish you all the luck in getting through the fourth quarter of 2018. We’ll see you next year.
It’s never too early to start…or is it?
Does the holiday marketing season have an official start date? Every year, it begins earlier than the last. It has gotten to the point where Christmas decorations are competing with back-to-school supplies for shelf space, and marketers are trying to sell the idea of eggnog at Labor Day weekend barbecues. This trend—starting the holiday marketing season sooner and sooner—is our top annoyance. More than 80% of marketers say this practice drives them crazy.
Blink! You missed it!
Nearly 164 million Americans (that’s 70% of Americans) shop at some point during the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. Black Friday is the busiest shopping day with almost 115 million shoppers, and it has morphed from a single shopping day into a season of deals. They’re unheard of. They’re unbeatable. And they’re going fast… really, really fast.
Figuring out exactly how many marketing emails to send isn’t straightforward even for the shrewdest marketing professional. A perfectly fine email cadence for one company can decrease sales for another. Marketers know this to be true, which is why we test and improve our email approach again and again. During the holiday season, all that wisdom stops, and only one rule matters: email all the time and as much as possible.
Can’t buy me love
Customers create wish lists throughout the year on websites large and small. They’re valuable to marketers and our customers. Maybe it’s a wish list’s usefulness that makes it an attractive holiday marketing tool. Maybe it’s the fact that customers move wish list items to their shopping carts. But—perhaps—we need to leave the emotion out of it.
Twas the night before Christmas
The word “twas” first came into our vernacular in the late 1560s. It stuck around for a couple centuries—long enough to be used as the first word in the poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas. But, like most things, “twas” had a shelf life, and it was replaced with the phrase “it was.” Except during every single holiday marketing season. During the holiday marketing season, you’d think twas the year 1602 because many marketers can’t help but use (and reuse) this archaic word.
Sugarplums, Fairies, AR, VR, AI, and More
Throughout the year, we discuss our audiences. We work to understand their needs and beliefs. We live by our customer. Our audiences drive our marketing decisions. We want to communicate to them and connect with them. During the holiday marketing season, this wisdom goes idle. We easily fall prey to the idea that if our marketing campaigns represent every holiday theme to every single person out there, we will somehow, magically, appeal to everyone.