When I think of effective holiday direct marketing trends, I’m always reminded how each year I look forward to my ‘free coffee’ days when my favorite local coffee shop offers me a complimentary drink in hopes that I come in for my free beverage, relax, and ultimately, purchase more things from them. This technique really works as I usually come in for that delicious hot drink, plan my Christmas list, and fulfill many needed (and some just wanted) gifts and holiday hosting must-haves like gourmet coffee beans right there at their store. Brilliant marketing!
Even amongst ads and deals from other cafes and coffee shops, my local shop stands out. They make it easy to remember them with multiple means of communication ranging from emails to text reminders and consistent branding. But the reason they win my business, in the end, is their use of imagery (they always feature a hot steaming cup of their coffee against a winter backdrop), personalization, and message placement featuring buzz words like ‘free.’
These techniques make for great marketing all year round, but are crucial around the holiday season. If you’re one of the businesses that are looking to stand out against other ads, try following my coffee shop’s example. Use direct mail to augment online and, vice versa, and keep your messaging consistent to highlight your offer. One good use of this is placing gift cards as the offer within a direct mail piece. This is a successful and growing trend that encourages the potential customer to act and in return he/she gets to activate a valuable gift card.
And like any other holiday activity, holiday marketing requires planning ahead to ensure a stress-free season. Many verticals mail heavily during the holiday season, which can feature some of the heaviest mail volumes of the year. Marketers need to be sure to appropriately plan and execute their programs (especially supplying front-end items like art and data) to ensure meeting in-home windows during this high volume period.
We often see mail volume continuing at holiday levels into January, as marketers try to mail as much as they can before the annual postage increase. This price change usually falls in late January, but 2015 will be a unique year with no price changes until at least March or April. Based on what we are seeing, it appears that marketers will take advantage of this and build higher volumes into their Q1 plans—hang on to your hats as 2015 may prove to be quite interesting.
Feel free to contact me for other ideas on how to make your holiday direct marketing stand out. If I’m not at the office, I probably ran out for a cup of coffee.
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