Before You Create a Seasonal Campaign, Answer These Questions

A multichannel, multiple-impression marketing approach—a seasonal marketing campaign, if you will–is far more effective than the traditional “one off” promotions that are conceived and executed in a vacuum. This is particularly true in complex environments such as when direct channels interact with brick-and-mortar retail, or in b-to-b – and especially those situations that contain the added complexity of a field sales force.

To create an effective campaign, you need to answer five questions:

1) Which messages should extend with consistency across the season, and which need to unfold as the season progresses? For example, “appropriate gifts for the holidays” can act as a seasonwide theme, while “rapid shipment for last-minute shoppers” can be overlaid at the appropriate time.

2) What should be the level of marketing intensity for each customer segment? The objective is to match marketing intensity with each segment’s potential. A basic way is to adjust the number of catalogs, including remails, per segment. Additional ways to change marketing intensity include

  • supplemental contacts such as e-mails, including “priming” efforts in advance of or reminders just after catalog drops. Sometimes, outbound calls are appropriate, especially in b-to-b marketing.
  • increased page counts and the judicious use of more-expensive postage.
  • efforts by the field sales force.
  • in-store tie-ins such as postcards announcing specials limited to best customers.

Beyond promotional touches, you can modify marketing intensity by offering special 1-800 numbers for best customers, creating loyalty and points-based programs, and providing more elaborate packaging and expedited shipping.

3) What is the timing of the various types of promotions? For example, should the second catalog drop be closer to the first or to the third? Should e-mails be sent in advance of the catalogs to announce their impending arrival, or should they be positioned as a trailing reinforcement?

4) What audiences should be selected for each promotion?

5) Should the messages be personalized? If so, how?

Reviewing your data to determine the answers to these questions should enable you to craft the most effective multichannel seasonal campaign for various segments of your audience.

Jim Wheaton is a cofounder and principal at Chicago-based data mining and services firm Wheaton Group. Omer Artun is a senior director at Best Buy Co. For more on campaign management, be sure to read July issue of MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT.

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