Smart marketing is relevant marketing, and with the quantity of rich, contextual data available to marketers today, it’s easier than ever before to engage with customers at the right time in meaningful, relevant ways. That’s especially true post-holiday time when customers begin tailing off.
During any holiday season, people tend to step away from their normal routines, such as work social media, emails, and more. Customers may also use this time after they’ve stored away their menorahs and taken down their trees to purge what they don’t need. This alone makes it difficult to increase brand loyalty during the holidays.
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For this reason, it’s important to keep messaging softer and take on a more entertaining tone during these jolly times. Instead of aggressively promoting your new products, let that tactic take a back seat to sharing a story about your company relating to the holidays. Focus on your customers with short, entertaining or educational communications to keep you top of mind.
“Your promotional messages should be centered around big events and holidays. After the holidays are over, the vast majority of your messages should be centered around storytelling as well as creating content that helps your potential customers,” said Jacob Landis-Eigsti
owner and chief marketer of Jacob LE Video Production. “While you want to tell some stories about your brand and your company, you also want to tell your customers’ stories. Your customer should often be the hero of your stories. Place the focus on them and their achievements.”
It’s critical to form emotional connections with potential customers through storytelling as they’ll likely feel more emotionally drawn to your brand.
“Infusing storytelling in promotional messaging is a powerful strategy to utilize because it uses pathos to create an emotional and persuasive response in customers,” Leo Friedman, CEO of iPromo, said. “Customers will remember stories that are relatable, shareable and actionable.”
If the story captures customers’ attention, there’s no need to insert a pitch that’ll read more as desperate than engaging.
The Art of Storytelling
Sarah Tourville, CEO and founder of Media Frenzy Global, noted that today’s consumers don’t want to be sold to, but rather take part in an experience. Brands struggling with this will be left in the dust in favor of a new wave of consumer-friendly companies, especially where Gen Z is concerned.
“Through all of your marketing channels—from social media and activations to content marketing and media relations—you must tell an overarching brand story,” she said. “A story that pulls consumers in and captivates them. They should want to buy from you, not because you are telling them to, but because they feel a connection with your message.”
The use of influencers, she added, can further expand who interacts with the brand. A great example of this was Pepsi’s campaign at the recent Super Bowl in Atlanta. Pepsi placed a statue of its founder Caleb Bradham next to the iconic statue of Coca-Cola founder John Pemberton outside of the World of Coke museum, right in the heart of all of the Super Bowl festivities.
This sparked the #ColaTruce, a trending topic on social media that spread throughout Atlanta and the nation.
“While Coke may not have been thrilled about the stunt, the playful nature of it struck a chord even with devote Coca-Cola drinkers in the South,” Tourville said. “Pepsi took this a step further by pledging to donate a meal to the Atlanta United Way for every retweet of their #ColaTruce tweet.”
Pepsi told their brand story in a unique way and won big when the odds were against them. Other brands can duplicate this strategy during post-holiday times when there’s less “noise” from other companies.
A Mobile Message
CMO of Swrve, Tara Ryan, said that when designing mobile campaigns post-holidays, she encourages marketers to approach their messaging as storytellers—identifying customers at the beginning of their journey and providing relevant, engaging content until they reach the point of purchase.
“Marketing interactions, whether they’re on mobile, social or web-based, should serve to surprise, delight and entertain customers,” she said. “We’ve seen that companies that engage their customers across channels in meaningful, relevant ways see much higher conversion rates than those who spam their users with boilerplate push notifications, posts and spam emails.”
One major European airline, for example, wanted to check in with passengers as soon as their flight landed.
“The perfect moment is the 20 seconds between when a user switches off flight mode, and before the phone connects to a network—and the deluge of calls, mail, social, etc. hits the phone,” Ryan says. “To target the right passengers, the marketing team set up their app to take information directly from a customer’s boarding pass.”
This lets them know exactly where and when a passenger was landing. With this knowledge, the marketing team targeted customers at precisely the right moment. This led to a whopping 70% completion rate in their customer satisfaction surveys when sent via pre-cached push notification, compared to just 1% completion rates when sent over email after the fact.
Instead of “selling” or pushing their products, brands must think outside the box and find different ways to connect with their audience. Risk-taking is rewarded, and those that blaze their own path will see far more brand loyalty.