As the holiday season draws near, here are some tips for retail marketing managers to keep in mind before, during, and after Black Friday 2016:
- Review successes and failures from last year.
Possibly the most obvious, but this is easily overlooked or forgotten in the time leading up to the holidays. Give your team time to seriously look at and absorb what worked and what didn’t last year and to plan accordingly.
- Get your contingency plans in place.
Team coverage, website downtime, POS outages, merchandise shipments, stock issues, etc. Don’t leave anything to chance.
- Assemble the right marketing mix.
TV, email, direct mail, mobile: there are endless ways to connect with your customers, but not every channel is right for your business. Think about this holistically and from the point of view of the customers. How will these activities engage your most loyal customers, drive new shoppers to your locations, and turn one-time shoppers into regulars?
- Remember marketing is an art AND a science.
Optimize your decision-making by balancing “gut” instincts with analytics. If the data is telling you that those two extra emails on Black Friday won’t drive incremental store traffic or revenue, don’t give in and unnecessarily bombard customers’ already stacked in-boxes.
- Measure, measure, measure.
Don’t miss the opportunity to grab as many insights about customer behavior as possible during this time, it will be crucial for your 2017 plan. It is easy to get caught up executing while holiday shopping is in full swing, but you will regret not having those key data points next year.
- Keep a tight rein on disaster response.
Focus on the solution, not on who is at fault. There will be time to determine what went wrong and why later; do not distract yourself and your team by engaging in a witch hunt.
- React quickly, BUT with purpose.
Did an email not perform as well as expected? Don’t panic. Make a thorough plan of attack and try not to spin your teams into an unnecessary frenzy. Do not compound the problem with reckless decisions and stress-induced mistakes.
- Get out there yourself.
Have a location closest to you? Got a computer nearby? Check out how your brand’s execution lines up with the competition for yourself. Anecdotal information is invaluable and you get in some holiday shopping for yourself along the way!
- Schedule a post-mortem.
What worked? What didn’t? Anything you want to remember for next year? Do this ASAP, while everything is still fresh in everyone’s mind, even though they will be eager to move on to the next big promotion or campaign.
- Create a battle plan for the end of the year.
Sure, the big part of the holiday shopping season is over, but it is never too late to make up sales and invigorate your business through the end of the quarter. This could even be a great time to think about how to re-engage those one-time holiday shoppers.
- Report out on the performance of your marketing activities.
Be honest about successes just as much as failures with key stakeholders, and lay out your plan of attack for the rest of the year and the next holiday season. This can be a great starting point for talking about your initiatives for next year: omni-channel, mobile, IT upgrades, etc.
- Pop the bubbly.
You and your team survived; celebrate successes big and small and get the team pumped for 2017!