20 Things to Know About the Art of Holiday Marketing Success

20 Things to Know About the Art of Holiday Marketing Success

Want to know the secret to making your marketing efforts shine brighter than ever this holiday season? In a recent interview, customer engagement expert Mani Gopalaratnam, CTO, Resulticks, shared his insights on 20 essentials for making this the most profitable season yet.

  • Could you reveal the secret sauce for holiday marketing success to create a truly magical customer experience?

Mani: It's all about unified customer data, the insights therein, personalization, and seamless omni-channel engagement. The secret sauce for a magical holiday marketing experience!

  • We've heard a lot about the importance of a unified view of customer data. But why is it so essential for creating personalized holiday experiences?

Mani: When you have a unified view of the customer and the capability to make it actionable in real time, you can make each customer experience feel truly special by tailoring offers, recommendations, and messages to each customer's preferences and behavior at the precise moment it will have the most impact on the individual’s purchase decision.

  • What are some real-world examples of brands using unified data to enhance their online personalization strategies for holiday shoppers?

Mani: One standout is Amazon. They use unified data to offer personalized gift recommendations based on past behavior. Starbucks leverages mobile app data to customize holiday drink suggestions, boosting sales.

  • What strategies can retailers use to collect data, what could be the potential sources?

Mani: Some retailers use data providers to augment key attributes about customers. That’s an inorganic method. At Resulticks, we work with Versium to provide data natively. Organically, a retailer can use progressive profiling that enables them to get key data from customer drip campaigns.

  • Can retailers with physical stores leverage CDP as well? What are the use cases?

Mani: Certainly! Data from in-store customer behaviors and loyalty-based activities is no different from data collected online. Key use cases would be offline to online (e.g., ads with QR codes) and pure offline based on loyalty programs.

  • How do you foresee the role of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in enhancing the holiday shopping experience through personalized data-driven content?

Mani: AR/VR will dominate the provision of ultra-personalized experiences. Currently, this is an upcoming area of Web 3.0, but with Meta, Apple, and others investing in devices, this will become a key personalization requirement.

  • In your opinion, what role does unified customer data play in boosting customer loyalty during the festive season?

Mani: Unified customer data is the key to fostering loyalty during the festive season. It enables brands to send tailored holiday promos to their loyal customers, drive repeat purchases and long-lasting connections.

  • What technologies and tools do you recommend for retail brands to successfully implement a unified customer data strategy for holiday campaigns?

Mani: For a successful unified customer data strategy, retail brands should consider Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), connected with CRM systems augmented by robust analytics tools. The combined solution can deliver a 360-degree view of each customer with segment-of-one insights.

  • In your experience, what are some common misconceptions about unified customer data and its role in holiday marketing that you'd like to debunk?

Mani: The idea that you can have too much data is a common misconception. More is better than less as long as it is actionable, and outcomes focused. Anything other than that is a waste. Also, the ability to augment data quickly and easily at the right time in the customer experience is equally important.

  • What are some key challenges that businesses face when integrating various data sources into a unified customer data platform for the holiday season?

Mani: Identity resolution (or duplicate/ambiguous matches). Brands need to assess the quality of data available before unifying it. Also, the ability to validate data that could be used for targeting and personalization is critical.

  • If you are a small D2C retail brand that is starting out with a smaller number of data points to work with, how do we work on a good marketing strategy?

Mani: Large or small, every business has to start with the basics. Having the right contact and channel data is a start. After this, the ability to "gradually profile" the customer based on personalized offers is key.

  • Will AI affect shopping behavior this holiday season?

Mani: By itself, AI won't affect shopping behavior. The application of AI that results in the best personalization and content will be the best.

  • How can retail brands effectively leverage unified data to drive festive revenue growth across various touchpoints, both online and offline?

Mani: The ability to go phygital can impact revenue generation positively, especially you’re an "experience" based retailer. Starbucks for example uses both its app and instore promotions to tailor holiday drink recommendations.

  • How can CDPs help combat rising advertising costs?

Mani: The right CDP can go a long way in helping to improve conversion organically. By making first-party data—which the already brand owns—actionable, the retailer can provide a more highly personalized experience, especially for its known audiences.

  • What are some common challenges retail brands face when trying to unify their customer data for the holiday season, and how can they overcome them?

Mani: Retail brands often grapple with siloed data sources and data quality issues, hindering a unified view. To overcome this, they need to invest in data integration tools and establish a clear data governance framework.

  • How do we handle customer inquiries, support, and returns during the holiday season to ensure a positive customer experience?

Mani: A 360-degree customer view provides customer support teams with the interaction and transaction history of the user. It allows agents to ensure a more personalized support experience and reduce the friction created from an IVR-based interface leading to a bad customer experience.

  • Can we create a sense of urgency and excitement around our holiday promotions without resorting to spammy tactics?

Mani: The solution is straightforward. Create cohesive journeys instead of assaulting audiences with a barrage of redundant communications. Using channel swaps and nudges for sub-journeys and adding frequency caps on communication based on personas are a couple of very effective techniques.

  • As personalization becomes crucial, how can brands ensure data privacy and security while collecting and using customer data for holiday marketing efforts?

Mani: Using advanced data anonymization techniques and secure data storage is key. In the age of personalization, safeguarding data privacy is paramount. Brands must prioritize consent, transparency, and compliance with local, regional, and global data regulations.

  • In one sentence, what's your top advice for retail brands looking to make their mark this holiday season in the era of personalization?

Mani: Embrace data-driven personalization to create unique, memorable brand experiences that resonate with each customer, planting the seed for long-term customer loyalty.

  • How can brands harness the power of customer insights to craft genuine, personalized connections that transform shoppers into loyal holiday brand enthusiasts?

Mani: It's all about relevance! Identify and reward loyal customers with exclusive perks. For example, offering your most loyal customers early access to holiday deals will keep them coming back for more throughout the year.

Mani’s insights provide a practical, hands-on guide for navigating the world of holiday marketing. By leveraging unified customer data, personalization, and the right technologies, businesses can make this festive season truly magical for their customers and their bottom line.

Happy holidays and successful marketing!


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