“Hope is Trending” & Other Hot Holiday Tips for Marketers

Activations|Beyond Traditional|Retail Marketing|Thought Leadership|Trends|

‘Tis the season of jolly shopping and, as we approach the uncharted territory of COVID-cautious holiday celebrations, it’s time to find some creative solutions for those can’t-miss traditions. While an article by CSA notes that “[p]ractical splurges and gifting driven by guilt will be the big sales drivers” this year, a social listening exercise by Material+ found that hope is trending across audiences. In their “Redefining Empathy for an Uncertain 2021” webinar (October 2020) hosted by AdWeek, they shared, “Hope is the most-expressed emotion in people’s conversations about this year’s holidays.”

From a practical perspective, this could be the push marketers need to ditch some of the traditional tactics with diminishing returns. An Adobe Advertising whitepaper revealed that fewer than 1 in 5 shoppers are likely to purchase from a new brand during this holiday season. Instead of dumping dollars to cast a wide net for new customer acquisition, consider content-rich retargeting and geofencing to engage your existing shoppers and offer them a genuine value for returning. The whitepaper also shared that nearly 3 out of 4 Boomers declared search engines to be their primary “channel” for gift-buying. Given the demographic’s high levels of disposable income and brand loyalty, it may be worth weighting your ad spend to favor sponsored shopping results with Google. 

Elsewhere, businesses are adjusting to stay in front of their audiences with authentic experiences that refocus the holiday spirit inward. Due to social-distancing mandates, there won’t be the hours-long wait to see Santa this year. For Tanger Outlets shoppers, the magic isn’t lost — they’ve partnered with JingleRing, a one-of-a-kind video service, that lets you book virtual visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus and enjoy story time right in your living room. (It even comes with a keepsake photo!) What’s truly magical about this invention is its inclusivity for all children. JingleRing proudly employs a wide cast of Santas to suit any family’s needs based on preferred faith, ethnicity and language – including American Sign Language. These private, in-home video calls also make it much easier for little ones with Autism or sensory issues, and anyone with mobility issues, to fully engage and enjoy the magic of the North Pole. 

Another one of our clients, Promenade at Coconut Creek, is bringing a winter wonderland to South Florida. On November 21, they’ll celebrate the first-ever Holiday Lane; a very merry drive-thru experience, with falling snow and appearances from Rudolph, Santa’s elves, and St. Nick himself. Neiman Marcus stores are keeping Santa busy this year, as well. Saturdays from November 28 through December 19, he’ll personally deliver every curbside pickup straight to your car. Neiman is also upping their legendary concierge-level service with an online Gift Finder for curated shopping as well as access to gift advisors via text, email and phone. 

For the third year in a row, e-comm icon Amazon is throwing it way back to the days of circling your faves in the Sears Wish Book. This year’s full-color, printed toy catalogs feature dozens of product stories with captivating copy, nostalgic styling, cute winter-themed activities — and scannable QR codes that take you straight from the IRL wish pages to the Amazon listing (complete with “Free 2-Day Prime Shipping” plug). While no marketing tactic has had a comeback quite like the 2020 regeneration of the QR code, Amazon’s scan-to-shop catalog is a lasting solution to bridge the gap between wishlisting and gifting. Didn’t get one in the mail? You may be out of luck but they’ve got you covered with the Holiday Toy List categorized by age and interest, including a seemingly endless array of STEM and Arts & Craft products. 

This year, we’re all more eager than ever to make the holidays special. In the same social listening activity by Material+, one commenter summed up the kid in all of us, “[We get] to sleep in, wear our pajamas all day, cook whatever we want, play with the new presents we got one another [and] watch whatever holiday movie we want.” Other consumer trends that are gaining traction everywhere from the subpages of Reddit to the covers of lifestyle magazines include gameday tailgating via Zoom and Ding-Dong Pot Luck dinners. Multi-person video calls quickly eliminate the geographical boundaries of getting together with extended family and friends — by cheering on your favorite teams from your own living room, everyone has dibs on the best seat in the(ir) house and on the last slice of pizza. For meals that just aren’t the same without those special recipes, families that live near each other are cooking big batches of their signature or sacred dishes then dropping off smaller servings at one another’s houses. That way, they share the same meal they’ve looked forward to all year while minimizing the risk of unsafe gatherings (and skipping the major kitchen clean-up, too!) 

As our team preps for sign off before the big feast, we sincerely wish you health and happiness this holiday season. For more market trends and takeaways, keep an eye out for our upcoming Year in Review post.

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