"Retailers have been extending the shopping seasons with promotions, post-recession, so it's not surprising to see that nearly half of all marketers stated they would launch a holiday campaign before Halloween," said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research, Experian Marketing Services. "This year's back-to-school season started in early July as a big promotional month versus last year. Our consumer confidence data shows it as the highest it's been since the recession, so we expect the early promotion trend to carry over into the holiday season with Black Friday deals being offered even earlier than last year."
June popular month to debut holiday campaigns
The majority of marketers began planning their holiday campaigns in the summer months. The month of June earned the title as the top holiday planning month as 18 percent of the marketers surveyed stated they would start then. Overall 69 percent of the marketers stated they started planning holiday campaigns by August.
When it comes to launching the first holiday campaign, almost half (49 percent) of marketers surveyed suggested they will launch before Halloween. The most popular time to launch campaigns overall is the first 15 days of November, right after Halloween but before Thanksgiving.
The shift to cross-channel marketing
Marketers are planning on integrating across channels more than ever this year. Of those surveyed, 83 percent said they plan on running coordinated, cross-channel marketing campaigns during the holiday season, with 55 percent stating they will be coordinating marketing campaigns across four or more channels.
Top marketing channels
According to the survey results, the top three marketing channels that will be used this holiday season are online display (59 percent), email (55 percent) and print (46 percent). Search (30 percent) and mobile (24 percent) are the next top two channels that round out the top five. Despite mobile and search ranking low on marketers' priority lists, learn why these channels should not be ignored when planning this year's holiday campaigns.
Top promotional tactics
More than 70 percent of marketers surveyed said they plan to use some sort of promotional offer for consumers this holiday season. Free shipping offers ranked as the top promotional tactic that marketers will integrate into their customers' holiday shopping experience this year. Thirty-nine percent of marketers surveyed will use free shipping, followed by deal of the day offers (28 percent) and e-coupons (21 percent). Very few marketers plan to use layaway (3 percent) while an astonishing 28 percent plan to not use any type of promotion.
Top social tactics
According to marketers surveyed, sharing is important. When asked, "What are the top three social tactics you are integrating into your customers holiday shopping experience?" almost half (49 percent) of respondents answered that they plan on integrating social sharing tools from their Website. Social advertising (45 percent) and product promotions (36 percent) rounded out the top three.
Top mobile tactics
Marketers didn't rank mobile marketing as a top priority, but many said they will be using mobile tactics during the holiday season. Developing mobile optimized websites was ranked as the top activity by 43 percent of respondents, followed by creating mobile optimized email (37 percent) and using mobile advertising (31 percent). Geolocation promotions will be used by 15 percent of marketers surveyed this season. Engaging consumers through contests and sweepstakes seems to be at the bottom of marketers' lists, with only 1 percent saying they will use SMS sweepstakes to engage consumers.
Source: Experian Marketing Services
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