We are approaching the most beautiful advertising time of the year: the holidays! It’s time to start planning your marketing campaigns for fall and winter holiday, and if there’s a channel that can make or break your holiday sales — especially for retail, CPG, eCommerce and the like— it’s word-of-mouth marketing.
All around us is word-of-mouth advertising. By reading product reviews or contacting a friend for a recommendation before making a purchase, word-of-mouth is now playing a major role in the consumer and business buying cycle. This ranges from clicking on an affiliate link in a blog post to scrolling through Instagram feed from our favorite influencers to discovering apps through a business partner.
Incorporating Word-of-Mouth Into Your Holiday Marketing Plan
We took a look at statistics from last year, best practices, and industry trends to see what we can apply to this season’s campaigns. Here’s what we found:
In 2018, holiday retail sales finally crossed the $1 trillion mark. That means the average American shopper spent $846 on gifts last year. That’s a substantial 14% increase from the prior year.
So as marketers, how do we best leverage the power of word-of-mouth marketing this upcoming holiday season?
Gobble Up The Competition
Technology might not be the first thing you think of when figuring out your competitive strategy, but your current solutions (or lack of) may be holding you back from getting ahead of your competition. Whether it’s a way to personalize your referrals, enroll affiliates, generate coupon codes for influencers, or even segment your database of fans and followers, incorporating the right technology can help you get there – and get you there first.
A successful customer referral program can become your business’ lifeblood, but it won’t do anything if the proper resources don’t support it. Strategically, the program should be planned, regularly measured and continuously managed.
The truth is that if you view the referral program as an afterthought, you can’t succeed. Successful programs need your company’s structure and dedication. Most brands also prefer automated and simplified systems to ensure convenience and loyalty from both a consumer and business perspective.
Deck The Feeds With Influencer Marketing
With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and more, the holidays have become synonymous with shopping. And with so many people turning to social media, eCommerce sites, and mobile apps to check off their shopping lists, you need to make sure your brand is catching the eyes of these eager customers.
The holidays are also one of the busiest times for influencers, which is why this season it is important to get a head start on your plan.
Marketing influencer continues to be a perfect opportunity to connect and communicate with savvy shoppers and we will continue to see a boom through the holidays. The best way to approach these partners is whether the business is just beginning or trying to scale up with influencer marketing, setting goals and being honest to influencers.
It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Word-of-Mouth
Whichever word-of-mouth strategy you are using this holiday season – be it referral marketing, affiliate marketing, influencer marketing, or partner marketing – if your program isn’t public facing or it’s difficult to use and share with the click of a button, then you’ll severely limit your ability to drive word-of-mouth.
When you run a promotional campaign for loyal customers, for example, incorporate your word-of-mouth system into it as well. The easiest way to do this is to keep the process straightforward for anyone (customers, friends, admirers, supporters of influencers, etc.) to share the product with anyone interested in it. Using dedicated landing pages to sign members and enable them to track referrals using common sharing links and dashboards.
Word-of-mouth drives billions of dollars in sales every year, and the holiday season presents a huge opportunity for innovative companies to empower their happy customers in order to generate brand awareness and hit revenue goals.