While one-way communication is almost dead and buried, there seems to be an influx of 'worried' retailers out there who are scurrying to put the latest 'offer' or 'promotion' in everyone's letterboxes.
It's an old-fashion way of marketing, but the reality is that it still works. Especially at Christmas. The average consumer is looking to reduce their expenditure on gifts, food and holidays over Christmas because while they still get their normal bills like gas, electricity, telephones, rent, internet, pay-per-view television, car payments and so on, and yet they have to somehow find money to buy gifts for family and loved ones, provide something exciting to do for the holidays, put up a Christmas Tree (very expensive!!!), and celebrate with food and wine fit for a King.
There is no hard and fast direct marketing activity that is a one-size-fits all, as every consumer demographic is different. Some consumers will look at every single piece of mail they receive in their letterbox. Others will throw the entire contents of the letterbox straight in the garbage. I on the other hand, look for letters or brands that I resonate with. If it is a letter from one of my favourite clothing stores with a catalogue, chances are that I am going to open it up and have a look, page by page. If it is during the year and it is from a liquor store, I would throw it in the bin, however, if it is at Christmas time, I will look through diligently and see what special offers I can take advantage of.
If it is from Myer, David Jones, Macy's, Saks 5th Avenue, Apple or Bloomingdales, I will probably spend the time looking through what they have to offer and what specials they may have as it will either inspire me to buy something as a gift for someone from them, or give me ideas on the types of gifts I might like to give to those who matter most.
For Christmas 2011, many people are forgoing the traditional letterbox drop, and opting for e-newsletters, e-vouchers, Spidanet Coupons and so on.
Industry estimates according to ShopperTrak expect a 3% growth in total sales projected for Christmas 2011, with a 2.2% decline in store foot traffic. Kantar Media estimates that there will be a 13.5% growth in online sales. Interestingly, Capital Business Credit estimate that 89% of manufacturers believe that discounts will drive sales.
Toys "R" Us got a headstart in the US on Christmas Retail Sales by shipping out 2.4 million copies of its first holiday catalog featuring exclusive merchandise in its retail stores in mid-September.
It's important that retailers focus on search and emails as they are very popular with shoppers in 2011 as a way to know what a retailer has on offer. Searching for gift ideas and the best price online will be at the heartland of all shoppers looking to maximise their Christmas budgets.
So, what's in your mailbox this Christmas? I would be interested in knowing!
Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.
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