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Albert Einstein once said that “reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” Coming into the 2018 holiday season, we all had our own perception and perspective of how holiday campaigns should and would be ran. However, once in the crux of things certain aspects of Einstein’s statement came forward, especially regarding the illusion versus the persistence.

Coegi collaborated with a major retailer in the beauty space to execute their 2018 holiday campaign. The primary goal of this initiative  was to drive in-store sales at major retailers, as well as an ecommerce component. That being said, like many brands, the biggest goal was sales but the reality of the in-store and online objectives are actually very different and required a unique approach. While having retail and holiday campaign experience in the past, this program personally reiterated the importance of purchase autonomy, nimbleness and data illustration; acting as reminders for running retailer campaigns during the holidays. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Certain people will, when given the choice, always buy online. In fact, yours truly is one of those people as my reality of dragging a toddler to Target the week before Christmas was not on my to-do list. Instead, I easily and conveniently made my purchases from the comfort of my own home. Conversely, there are people who enjoy hand-picking products from a brick-and-mortar, buying the majority of holiday gifts via a physical location. This is why a combined approach (one with both in-store and ecomm) is often the most beneficial for a large retailer and a key part of the overall goal of sales. People want the autonomy to buy off a device, while others prefer the in-store experience. Sometimes the sales will lean one way over the other, but balancing both of those needs requires flexibility and quickness which leads me to my next reminder.

  2. Working in digital requires adaptability, across all verticals. Retail, in particular, requires nimbleness and agility as it is entirely dependent on other humans and their actions. While you might be thinking “yeah, no kidding” or “what’s that got to do with the holidays” the key component to this is during the designated time frame of 6 weeks (give or take), people’s mindsets change. They are often open to trying new products for themselves. or most often purchasing for friends and family. Additionally, the time and frequency in which people will actually make said purchase has no set variable. Maybe it aligns with a pay period? Or perhaps the use of remaining vacation days at the end of the year? Either way, while trends can be identified the reality is people are going to make purchases on their own time and in their own way. We must have flexibility not only from a media perspective on how you reach and target, but also how we optimize towards these different people and the time periods which might not have been previously identified. The other part that is needed regarding flexibility is to pivot media during this high-purchase time periods, or even towards the frequent purchaser. What we found was our “Gift Giving” audience, those who are identified as being in-market for products to give rather than obtain for oneself, performed extremely well so we pushed as much as we responsibility could towards these users. Given all these variables, how do we plan or account for these changes? The answer is data, and how we look at the numbers before us.

  3. So let me remind you, data is just data until you can understand what it actually means. For me, the illusion of what it means turns into an illustration through the help of data analytics. We are very proud to partner with our analytics arm, RADaR, who created  extremely insightful visualizations of the success of our media. In particular, when looking at foot traffic to the brand’s partnering retailers, we were able to see which geographies and with what frequency our top performing locations existed. Similarly, we were able to look at the same audience across each of our initiatives and see where that user was interacting the most, and make changes towards or away accordingly.

Now that we’ve gone through these reminders which touched on Einstein’s of reality and illusion, what about persistence? If you take nothing else way from this article it is this: be persistent in your optimizations and your analysis. Each brand within retail is different, and again while trends may be known consumer behavior from year to year or even day to day can change. Hopefully these takeaways serve as helpful reminders moving into campaign management during holiday seasons, because here’s yet another reality…before we know it we’ll be planning for holiday 2019!

Author: Brittney Monroe, Client Strategist @ Coegi