PUBLISHED: Nov 3, 2023 8 min read

Retail Holiday Marketing Strategies for the Q4 Advertising Push

Amanda Goncalves

Amanda Goncalves

Director, Sales & Marketing Strategy

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This holiday season will see more advertising than ever before as consumer brands jostle for attention and sales. Consumer brands preparing for their busiest season and the final push of holiday advertising for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other events want to ensure their multichannel strategies are fully optimized.

Retailers are investing in performance marketing services that maximize their digital presence, with retail and CPG brands making up 43% of all digital ad spend in the U.S. in 2023. Direct mail investment is also on the rise with the 2023 Winterberry Group report sharing that U.S. marketers will invest $39.36 billion in their efforts.

Here’s how to ensure your consumer brand stands out amid even more competition.

Reaching the Right Audience is the Key to Holiday Retail Success

If retail marketing efforts aren’t hitting the right targets, it’s a wasted opportunity — not to mention wasted ad spend — that businesses can’t afford, especially during the busiest and most critical time of the retail year. The bottom line? The more you know about your current best customers and prime prospects, the more likely you are to achieve holiday marketing success, attract more customers, and reach your sales goals.

By the time the holiday shopping season comes around, it’s imperative to know who your customers are, what they buy, and what influences them. Once you’ve identified your customers, you can tailor your holiday marketing and advertising efforts accordingly and reach them with the message you want to send. So, how do you identify your highest-value customer or optimal prospect?

Unparalleled data combined with expert analysis creates actionable insights. High-quality demographic and firmographic data, real-time online and offline activity data points, and customer engagement data. Combined, this consumer intelligence paints a complete picture of your highest-value customers so you can move the needle with your Q4 holiday advertising spend, especially for Black Friday and Cyber Monday pushes. But that’s just the start.

Retailers should also look for advertising services that provide customer profiling and that target those who engage with their competitors. Why? So you better understand potential customer behavior through indicators like intent or purchase history. The result can be a targeted list of prospects who provide the highest likelihood for conversion and loyalty.

Using audience data to your advantage for Q4 marketing

With the right audience intelligence, your business can focus its marketing efforts on your highest-quality leads, spending your holiday advertising budget as efficiently as possible. This proven approach helps you simplify customer data to identify, understand, and engage your highest-value customers, thus allowing you to optimize your marketing investment and touch the audiences that matter most.

By utilizing performance marketing services that deliver deep consumer insights, your business has the crucial information and details that only known audiences can provide. Once you have this information, consumer brands can tailor their creative development, brand messaging, channel strategy, and media planning to the right audience. And once you are getting your message to the right audience, you’ll see the results in your Q4 earnings!

Digital Media Solutions to Boost Your Holiday Marketing

With so many digital marketing tools at your disposal, it can be tempting to take a “throw everything at the wall to see what sticks”-type of approach to the holiday retail season. Unfortunately, sending a flurry of emails and social ads into the ether is more likely to result in background noise than robust sales. Focusing on proven digital media services that help your business deliver your message in the right way to the correct people will help your business grow its bottom line.

  • Paid Search: Capture demand that’s already there by being present for the relevant brand search and keywords. Optimize your feed management solutions for shopping ads.
  • Programmatic: Ensure that the right audience receives impactful advertising at the perfect moment through data, predictive modeling, and advanced media planning. 
  • Video + Streaming: Drive brand awareness through video integration across channels. With the right video and streaming strategy, you can reach audiences via premium streaming environments.

Social Shopping: Is Your Brand Set Up for Social Success?

Holiday shoppers increasingly rely on social media for advice, information, and inspiration for the right gift. And these shoppers know social, so retailers can’t afford to minimize or ignore social marketing strategies during the holiday season. So far, in 2023, 76% of social media users have purchased something they saw on social media.

Social shoppers want well-produced content and an easy shopping experience, whether on Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, or Facebook. When crafting a holiday marketing strategy, retailers must evaluate their social platforms and presence for effectiveness and ROI. A sound social media advertising strategy for Q4 should incorporate the following components:

  • Paid Social: Aim for social storytelling strategies tailored to your specific business goals and audiences to share your brand values, build relationships, and drive revenue.
  • Organic Social: Put creative concepts, content amplification, and social analytics to work for your brand to build community and grow engagement.
  • Influencer + Creator: Fact: 50% of Millennials trust social media influencers’ product recommendations. Why? Authenticity. Around 88% of Millennials say they value authenticity in the influencers they follow. Now’s the time to invest in partnerships influencer and/or content creators. By working with influencers who align with your brand values, know your products and services, and have a legion of loyal followers, your business can meet, inspire, and engage customers in their natural social ecosystem with personalized, memorable, and authentic storytelling.
  • Community Management: Listen, monitor, and interact with fans and information seekers to grow your brand affinity.
  • Audience Insight: Once again, your audience matters. Finding and scaling your best audience — whether on TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, or elsewhere — is critical for retailers. This can be accomplished by diving deep into data to define and segment your audiences and target new audiences to prospect and nurture across social channels.

Through a combination of deep consumer data, expert strategy, and impactful ROI, the right digital strategy can help your retail or CPG business achieve — and exceed — its Q4 retail marketing goals.

Direct Mail Done Right Is Very Effective

With all things digital and paperless today, a common misconception is that mail is a relic of decades past. When it comes to marketing, however, direct mail—when executed well—remains a valuable and efficient marketing resource. And it’s a brilliant tool to deploy as you make your final Q4 holiday advertising push.

Why? Because direct mail remains a winning strategy with an unbeatable ROI. According to findings from the 2022 Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Response Rate Report, direct mail ROI offered a 43% return on investment, higher than other channels.

But what makes direct mail so effective? Grabbing the mail from the mailbox is simply part of everyone’s daily routine. After all, we’ve been instinctively and repetitively performing this task for years without much thought — similar to brushing your teeth or tying your shoes. People still open their mailboxes, take out their mail, and thumb through it. That’s why, when executing a direct mail campaign, it must be done right, especially during a time of year when more and more holiday-themed white noise infiltrates our mailboxes.

What are the hallmarks of a well-executed direct mail campaign?

Audience Identification: Engage with direct mail services that identify and model the highest-quality targets through consumer intelligence and zero in on the right audience to power your direct mail performance.

Data-Led, Highly-Personalized Creative: Look to develop 1:1 personalized messaging and data-driven, impactful creative so your advertising not only reaches the right audience but also grabs their attention and compels them to convert.

Retarget Effectively: Seizing every opportunity to gain customers is always top priority–never more so than during the Q4 holiday shopping season. Through direct mail retargeting, your business can convert anonymous website visitors into customers by sending personalized mail to their homes after they visit your website. Imagine…one day an anonymous visitor is poking around on your website, the next day you’re sending out targeted direct mail to a specific name and address of a potential new customer interested in your products or services. When you put an effectively crafted and well-executed piece of advertising into people’s hands this holiday season, your business may be looking at lofty Q4 sales.

With the holiday shopping season upon us, now is the time to identify, reach, and convert not only potential customers but also loyal ones (retention is always a priority!) so you can maximize your business’ Q4 revenue and grow your customer base. Smart, expertly targeted multichannel campaigns powered by strategies and consumer intelligence ensure you reach the right audience. Make your final advertising push your most strategic yet during this make-or-break point in the year.

As competition increases, learn last-minute eCommerce SEO tips to boost holiday sales, or let’s talk about achieving more for your marketing — and your business.