We’re slowly creeping up to the end of 2015 and are now well into the holiday season. For many businesses, especially retailers, this is the critical period for making sales. But for marketing, this year’s November has seen a slight turn - with some negative perceptions of marketing gimmicks such as Black Friday and the often-loved John Lewis ads becoming apparent.
Marketers and most consumers always eagerly await the Christmas ads of John Lewis, M&S and Coca-Cola. Commercially, this is 'when Christmas begins'. But this year saw some new contenders for the best Christmas ad including Aldi - quite a different brand from the likes of John Lewis.
This year, John Lewis went for a heartfelt, charity-focused campaign that supported Age UK to raise awareness of keeping your elderly relatives and friends company this year at Christmas time. But despite the positive sentiment, there were many who weren’t fans. Has the John Lewis Christmas ad become over-hyped?
Instead, many responded more positively this year to Aldi's Christmas ad , a parody of the premium feel that embodies the John Lewis brand.
Has the move from TV to online changed the way we feel about these ads - usually shown on television between our favourite shows? We’re no longer watching them in between our favourite Christmas films on ITV - we’re watching them on our Facebook news feeds amongst posts by old high school friends.
Key Takeaway: Don’t focus all of your investment into one element of your Christmas campaign. Spread your marketing messages across a variety of platforms and channels. More importantly, think about where your campaign is going to be shown and how this should affect the sentiment.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday
These infamous retail events have, for the main part, been a critical day in many retailers' diaries. A day to prepare for. But this year there were many who were against the slash discounting and the store stampedes.
Instead, many retailers adopted the strategy of ‘passively participating’. They held a small sale to get involved and to draw in some footfall but it seemed that only the large retailers (and especially those offering electrical goods) really stuck their teeth in. There were many who just didn’t discount at all.
This was mirrored in consumer behaviour too. Many of us were aware that Black Friday was happening so perhaps held off on a few small gifts in case of a good deal somewhere on the day. But there weren’t as many 6am queues or website crashes and a study by NTT Com Secirity found that 70% of online shoppers planned to avoid the sales.
However, there’s no denying that this year was a record-breaking year for the event. The discount weekend brought in a massive £3.3bn in revenue. It seems that there has been a shift that has transformed ‘Black Friday’ from an unnecessary American gimmick to the expected peak of the holiday shopping period in the UK.
Read our blog post on some of the operational trends from the weekend from queues to website downtime.
Key Takeaway: If you’re a retailer, don’t be put off by the bad press about Black Friday. It is still a powerful day for bringing in sales and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere just yet.
Coca Cola Turns 100
Coca-Cola often performs well on marketing and brand lists. It's a long-standing, global brand that has now reached 100 years of selling their well-loved beverages.
As part of their 100 years campaign, they partnered with Microsoft and their ‘How Old?’ face recognition software to create a user-generated content platform that allowed consumers to upload an image of themselves with a Coca-Cola bottle and for it to recognise the bottle. The tool then showed the age of the bottle as 100 and went on to tell the brand story of Coca-Cola.
Whilst the campaign itself may seem a little underwhelming for one of the world's top brands, it says a lot about the future of content marketing. The key is to get consumers involved; whether this is by encouraging them to upload a photo of themselves or inspiring them to bake a Coca-Cola cake.
There’s still scope to include traditional blog posts in your content strategy but consumers are getting bored more quickly and marketers need to start investing in more creative and consumer-friendly types of content that get them involved and keep them talking.
Key Takeaway: When you’re planning your next marketing campaign (especially content marketing), ask yourself - ‘How are we getting our customers involved?’.
Is Tumblr being replaced by Kik and Yik Yak?
Social advertising has really taken off this year. Facebook has offered more advanced features, Instagram Ads are now open to all businesses and Snapchat is slowly rolling out more ad campaigns.
Users on Tumblr, however, have always been under the impression that ads would not be a part of their dashboard. This changed when the Yahoo! ownership started having more involvement in monetising the platform and ads became a regular feature in users’ dashboards.
According to David Berkowitz, CMO of MRY, Tumblr is often last on the list of social platforms when brands want to reach millennials. Tumblr doesn’t have the "cool factor right now” compared to Snapchat and Yik Yak.
Does your brand have a presence on Tumblr? It’s likely that if you don’t have a young consumer base, then you probably steer clear of it. But it also poses the question of whether Tumblr will lose this young audience base - millennials are known in the marketing world for despising intrusive ads so this could cause an issue for the platform.
Key Takeaway: Social ads need to be carefully considered - especially the platform on which your ads will appear. They shouldn’t be intrusive or you may suffer more losses than gains.
If you want some help with how to use these trends to help your business grow, don't hesitate to get in touch.