Four timely lessons to improve your 2016 marketing


You may not realize it, but President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a big effect on the way today’s consumers spend their holiday dollars. In 1939, the nation’s largest retailers made an urgent plea, asking FDR to move Thanksgiving up one week to allow shoppers ample time to take advantage of the holiday deals. The result: Black Friday.


With the majority of holiday emails tucked neatly away in your inbox, let’s take a moment to reflect back on 2015 and the lessons learned:

Timing is Everything

Based on consumers’ changing expectations regarding holiday shopping, we are now seeing four distinct phases to the holiday season that take consumers through the process of pre-holiday discovery all the way to “Where do I return this sweater from Grandma?”

Nearly $8 billion dollars was spent online between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, a 15% increase from 2014. Analysts also predicted that the first 18 days of December would produce $1 billion in sales each day. So, take a lesson from Amazon – customers are ALWAYS looking for a great deal.

Want to stand out from the crowd? No one said you can only reward your customers on Black Friday. With the ever-expanding holiday shopping season, retailers are now promoting holiday sales well past Cyber Monday with deeper discounts and exclusive deals. Take, for example: they took an innovative approach to extending their Black Friday offers by promoting, in an ever-so-clever way, White Wednesday, Grey Thursday and Black Friday by using color-coordinating products.

Subject Lines

We have all heard that you need a killer subject line to get more opens, clicks and sales. But at this time of year, many marketers are coming at you with, “Buy Now,” “Don’t Wait” and “Today Only.” This actually becomes white noise during the holiday season to our consumers. Try something a little friendlier and curiosity driving that will provoke your recipient to stop, open and actually read what you have to offer.

Target did a great job with the use of their bullseye icon in their subject line. It not only captured the reader’s attention, but it actually assisted potential customers in easily finding that same email again when digging back through their inboxes. Moral of the story: Use a variety of languages to understand what makes your audience tick. Be creative. Be courageous. And mostly, be awesome.

Mobile Movement

Mad dashes, long lines and the potential elbow throw come to mind when we think of Black Friday in the traditional space. However, in 2015, $905 million in sales came from smartphones and tablets, with no lines, no running and no fighting off Sinbad for that last Turboman action figure.

As marketers, we need to recognize that mobile traffic and sales have expanded by 10 times over the past five years, from 5% of traffic in 2010 to 57% of traffic in 2015. While some recipients are attempting to adopt to whatever your email looks like in order to purchase their item, wouldn’t it be great if the layout was actually built from a positive usability standpoint? Use shorter subject lines, make the type size readable and make your call-to-actions clickable.


As you sit with a full belly on Aunt Susan’s couch waiting for that second piece of pie to fully digest, you may have been scanning your social media sites, as 2015 ranked the most social #blackfriday yet. 1.4 million tweets referenced #blackfriday in the 7 weeks leading up to it.

A more untraditional approach was seen in the successful #optoutside campaign. This stemmed from REI’s plan to remain closed on Black Friday in order to allow and encourage employees and customers to enjoy the outdoors instead, reulting in 300,000 tweets, a 10% increase in online traffic sales on Thanksgiving and a 26% increase in online sales on Black Friday, according to SimilarWeb reports. Take a lesson from 2015 and get your holiday audiences involved in an engaging campaign that benefits them.

For 2016, make your marketing list and check it twice to ensure that you are applying these tactics so you don’t end up on the naughty list.


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