The role of paid digital marketing during the holiday season in 2020 was entirely reevaluated. The digital touchpoint for consumers skyrocketed. The question then remains: Will the marketing 2021 holiday season follow similar patterns, or will it return to how it was in 2019? Have trends from 2020 stuck, possibly indefinitely? 

It’s too soon to say, but paid marketers should be prepared to target audiences through omnichannel resources. Omnichannel marketing includes using various marketing channels through different mediums to work towards one common goal. Shoppers were asked in a recent poll, and 70% of US shoppers say that they will be using digital touchpoints for their holiday purchases. That is quite a lot of shoppers looking to rely on e-commerce and paid media efforts. However, using the prospective data we have, we can start to strategize how we can best meet the needs of 2021 consumers and give them the best digital and shopping experience they deserve best. 

In doing so, perhaps we can learn what will resonate and appeal the most to consumers.

The Change & What to Expect

Many families and loved ones were not able to spend the holidays together in 2020. This year, friends and family are hoping to combine two years of celebration into one. People are making up for lost time. The word of the season is community. The implications for this for paid digital marketers are substantial. 

Ads and campaigns, regardless of their medium, should promote themes of nostalgia, tradition, quality time, and family values. Consumers this year are thought to shop for gifts that preserve memories or for products that encourage healthy emotional and physical health. For digital marketers, it is imperative that they advertise with heart-felt intentionality. Tug at your audience’s heartstrings. Emphasize the local or communal aspect of the brand or product, if possible. 

Perhaps now more than ever is the time to include personal anecdotes and testimonials in paid marketing efforts. The theme of connection is what is going to not only drive but delight customers. Consumers need to feel appreciated and heard. So to connect with your customers, encourage your audience, and be open to offering bonuses such as free rewards to drive loyalty. 

It is still to be determined how big of a role in-store shopping will play in 2021’s holiday season. According to a recent Google survey, 35% of shoppers compared to 50% in 2020 say that COVID-19 will impact their shopping experience. Even though the pandemic will not have as large of an impact on shoppers this year, the role of e-commerce and changed consumer behavior remains noticeable. In 2020 numerous consumers learned the convenience of online shopping. They heavily gravitated towards brands that provided mobile-friendly options. That way, they would not have to leave the comfort and safety of their home. And now into 2021, within the category of grocery shopping alone, more than a quarter of shoppers still prefer online accommodations. 

Knowing that there is a strong hybrid of both in-person and online shoppers, marketers should market to both spectrums as the holiday season approaches. Hence, there is a need to install omnichannel opportunities that give incentives to consumers for shopping in-store and online.

Next Steps

Brands have had to rethink their marketing strategies. It was and has still been more difficult to do live gatherings at specific locations and with large groups of people. That is why companies began to mimic the in-store or on-location experience at home. Paid ads have, as of late, included messaging that target people working from home or families doing more at-home activities. In fact, products such as the Peloton have been marketing to people who are inside all year round. 

Needless to say, technology and the ideas triggering ad messages are continually impacted. Brands are also learning how to evolve themselves to market on multiple platforms, including webinars, live broadcast videos, and more. So as the 2021 holiday season approaches, digital marketers should follow the trend of marketing on a vast scale and platform base. Market against consumer expectations and surprise them with the versatility you can bring to the marketing stage. Using omnichannel resources, you can do such as the following: 

  • Highlight curbside options
  • Showcase current or new additions to an in-store visit
  • Market products on new and upcoming platforms such as TikTok
  • Rely on seasoned platforms such as Facebook or Instagram with audiences of different ages and spectrums.

What Marketers Should Do

If marketers are to utilize the omnichannel strategy in the upcoming holiday season, it is important to be as precise as possible. Marketers should target ads based on interest, behaviors, and locations. For each channel, it is beneficial to target specific audiences that match your brand. This plays into knowing your brand and target audience. For example, Gen Z and millennials typically utilize the digital experience from the attract stage to the delight stage. If your audience comprises mostly of Gen Z or millennials, then it would be worth constructing ads centered around some of the following:

  • Wishlists
  • Gift ideas
  • Recommendations

So as we enter into the 2021 holiday season, meet your audience where they are. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, weave into your methods an authentic and personalized style that shifts perspectives and grabs not just your audience’s mind but heart. As a company and as a team, 829 Studios will continue to tailor our messaging and platforms to mirror each of our clients and their needs. We will reevaluate each step of the process, making sure that each marketing tactic is bringing consumers closer together and driving success.

If you find yourself in need of a creative partner or consultation, 829 Studios is more than happy to help this season and beyond! Let’s get ready for this 2021 holiday season together.

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