- Early preparation was a key to 2016 holiday marketing success, with 62% of surveyed retail marketers reporting a head start on content and promotions was the most helpful holiday resource last year, according to a Campaigner "Christmas in July Survey" made available to Marketing Dive. Campaigner found those results to be 38% higher than having a mobile responsive website; one-third of retailers who began preparing before September reported having a very successful 2016 compared to 22% who began preparing in September or later.
- Email marketing was seen as the most effective marketing channel by 66% of respondents followed by social media (41%), SEO (20%) and print (12%). Of the 66% that found email most effective, 59% are expecting an even better holiday season in 2017.
- Within the social media category, Facebook was far and away the leader, with 72% of respondents citing it as the most effective platform. Twitter and Instagram were the next closest at 7% each. Marketers are planning on ramping up social media in 2017, Campaigner said, with 42% reporting they are planning more social media integrations.
While email seems to get a lot less mindshare than other digital channels these days, the Campaigner report underscores its staying power in capitalizing on yearly staples like the holidays, and it was described as the "sole medium that allows this unparalleled ability for retailers to engage consumers" by EJ McGowan, general manager of Campaigner, in a statement. However, personalization remains key in optimizing email marketing efforts, cited by 40% of survey respondents as the most effective measure to ensure success.
Another tactic highlighted in survey results was promotions, with 59% of retailers saying they plan to leverage tactics like discounts this holiday season. Despite that emphasis, marketers shouldn't be overly-reliant on discounts and deals in their messaging, as that was cited as a major reason why holiday campaigns sparkled a little less brightly by analysts last year.
Campaigner also found that just 8% of surveyed retailers are most concerned with tech issues — a perhaps surprisingly low figure considering that major brands including J. Crew experienced website outages that caused consumer frustration and likely stymied e-commerce sales last year.