This good news for this holiday season is that pandemic concerns are easing, which should see many more consumers return to stores for their gift-buying needs. The bad news is that the worst inflation in more than a generation has lots of shoppers in a recession state of mind. That is just one of several major challenges facing B2C brands as they plan their holiday email marketing campaigns.
Consumer prices rose 9.1% in June, the highest rate in 41 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the Producer Price Index has been rising even faster, up 11.3%.
While product availability has been paramount for the past two years, inflation has shifted consumer attention back toward price. Retailers and consumer brands that can best adapt to this shift in mindset will outperform. Besides careful inventory planning and management, brands would be wise to use recessionary messaging tactics and push for early gift-buying in October, as they’ve done the past two years. As consumers’ buying power shrinks, securing as much share of wallet as early as possible will be key.
Since Apple launched Mail Privacy Protection on Sept. 20 last year, it has seen near universal adoption. That has meant a loss of capabilities and functionality for marketers as they communicate with the upwards of 40% of their subscribers who use Apple Mail with MPP enabled.
The most serious challenge for large B2C brands is the loss of open signals, which for more than a decade have been central to determining which subscribers are actively engaged and therefore safe to mail. Since 12-month look-back windows on subscriber engagement are the most commonly used, most marketers will lose nearly all of their reliable pre-MPP opens early in the holiday season.
To avoid facing rapidly shrinking mailable audiences and the related revenue consequences, brands are likely to lengthen their look-back windows and make other moves that may damage their sender reputations and invite deliverability problems during the most critical time of the year. Unfortunately, for unprepared brands, MPP will force them into this lose-lose situation.
For our more comprehensive advice, get our Definitive Guide to Adapting to Mail Privacy Protection.
With fewer coronavirus restrictions and less pandemic anxiety in general, store traffic rebounded last holiday season. For example, on Black Friday, store traffic jumped 47.5%, according to Sensormatic. Even with that increase, store traffic was still down 28.3% from 2019 levels.
Stores are poised to regain more of that lost ground this holiday season. However, the continued rebound in in-store shopping is the good news that will seem like bad news for many email marketers. That’s because lots of email marketing programs still rely solely on last-click attribution models that don’t acknowledge email’s long-standing influence on activity across channels.
The artificial boost in email marketing revenue in 2020 due to lower store traffic and the artificial decline in 2021 and this year should simply drive home the need for more holistic and less channel-centric attribution models. Consumers don’t experience channels. They experience brands. To be able to accurately measure that activity requires new ways of measuring success.
Learn about multi-touch attribution models that better reflect the omnichannel behaviors of today’s consumers.
The infographic below summarizes how all of this is likely to affect B2C brands’ holiday email marketing strategies and offers notable trends and benchmarks from recent holiday seasons.
For even more holiday planning advice, check out Oracle’s Holiday Marketing Quarterly. This quarter-by-quarter guide gives B2C brands a checklist for how to achieve more during the critical holiday season with their email marketing and other digital marketing channels. Along with guidance on planning, strategy, and prioritization, you’ll get advice and tips from some of Oracle Marketing Consulting’s more than 500 digital marketing experts. Download our latest Holiday Marketing Quarterly →
Need help with your holiday marketing campaigns? Oracle Marketing Consulting has more than 500 leading marketing minds ready to help you achieve more with the leading marketing cloud, including Analytic & Strategic Services and Creative Services teams that can help you plan and optimize your holiday campaigns.
Clint Kaiser is the Head of the Analytic & Strategic Services team at Oracle Marketing Consulting. His background in the email marketing space includes 20 years of experience with ESPs and digital agencies. His analytical approach to driving change in digital marketing is reflected in his quantitative approach to improving clients' business outcomes.