Twenty years ago, the holiday season media plan for retail marketers was simple: Go big on TV and, to a lesser extent, print.
Modern retail marketers are taking a more sophisticated approach, meeting their target viewers with a sequenced, data-driven message that moves customers through their purchase journeys to boost sales during a key sales period.
A retail marketer's goal is still to be everywhere consumers are during the holiday season. In 2019, the challenge is reaching fragmented viewership. Retail marketers can't reach everyone by buying the 25–54 demo through a few major TV networks anymore. The proliferation of services — AVOD, OTT, TVE, and more — has resulted in scattered pockets of viewers. The average consumer subscribes to three streaming services, according to Deloitte research. By some counts, consumers have to subscribe to four services to get the same content that used to be on one platform. And with Disney+ and Apple TV + gaining steam, and others launching in 2020, it's not going to get easier to reach unified audiences anytime soon.
How can a retailer meet potential customers with a relevant message everywhere they look this holiday season?
Starting with an understanding of modern viewers is crucial. There are the advanced cord-cutters who only watch on-demand TV, and there are people who still like to tune in to linear TV for a set amount of time. There are also transitional viewers, those who fall somewhere in the middle: sometimes watching live TV and sometimes watch on-demand. In the 2019 holiday season, retail marketers have to orchestrate unified campaigns around constantly changing consumer behavior.
Data-Driven TV: A Holiday Marketing Centerpiece
The Holy Grail of digital and TV is leveraging the data and insights from one channel and bridging it to another for continued success. With overall spend growing for both digital and paid social (increasing by 17 and 16 percent, respectively), the opportunity for bridging digital and TV is rich. Unfortunately, data silos are all too common, and strategies for TV and digital remain squarely separate.
Today's smart retail marketers can use audience-based buying technology to truly bridge the gap for cross-screen success. When consumers engage with social media, for example, they invariably reveal things about themselves of interest to marketers. Engaging with certain hashtags shows an affinity for a product or activity; engaging with #CycleChic reveals that the user is interested in cycling, while tagging social media posts with #Camping and #Hiking shows an appreciation for the outdoors. Marketers can use this insight to sequence messages and control frequency through data-driven TV, keeping their brand top-of-mind with prospective customers and further spreading its message during the holiday season.
Likewise, retail marketers can reverse-engineer their efforts, using addressable TV advertising as an extension to digital by applying data to TV. A retail marketer can place a pixel on their website to track exposed TV households that visit their sites. Afterward, they can target those visitors on TV again to reach them with a message specific to whatever stage of the customer journey they're in. Putting all the data together, a marketer can get a much better idea of a consumer's wants and interests than they would otherwise.
An Omnichannel Experience, Beginning With TV
"Marketing plays [an] important role of certainly holding up this iconic brand, but also driving the business and driving traffic to our stores," Target executive vice president and chief marketing officer Rick Gomez told Adweek.
Today's retail marketers know that seamless customer experiences, from online shopping to in-store pickup, are critical to driving sales during the holiday season. And TV, with its ability to reach customers at scale with relevant messages, is still the most successful medium at engaging a wide swath of audiences with a message and driving results. Linear TV can drive awareness of a promotion or particular items offered on Black Friday, for instance. Through data-driven TV, retail marketers can reach households during the consideration phase of their journey, such as customers who previously bought a competitor's products or lapsed in purchasing and could be influenced to buy again.
Addressable TV can be used to target viewers with relevant messages at the household level. And addressable campaigns return plenty of insights post-campaign, including the incremental impact of addressable TV against a brand's KPI, such as return on advertising spend (ROAS), lift in penetration, share shift, and foot traffic to store locations.
An orchestrated approach to holiday retail marketing is critical this year and will be for years to come. Retail marketers today understand customers are shopping on devices and in brick-and-mortar shops, and they're consuming content in a variety of ways.
TV viewers today watch more premium content across more channels and devices than ever before. A holistic approach to retail marketing during the holidays spans the full customer journey, from awareness to action across all of them.
For more on retail marketing campaigns, get in touch with us.
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