3 wise promotional marketing trends that can win Christmas
At last, after 2 years of restrictions, December 2022 will see a return to big family get-togethers and high street shopping.
Unfortunately, experts are suggesting it might also be a time of recession. Rising energy, petrol and food prices, the uncertainty of war, plus the lingering presence of COVID-19 – these will take their toll on your customers and, potentially, your business.
Before we explain why experiential marketing, advent calendars and gifting are exactly the types of promotional marketing you need, let’s look at some of the challenges we’ll face.
Challenges for retail and e-commerce in 2022-23
Events in the last few years have created a unique complexity in all aspects of 3PL (including promotional marketing).
Cost and value
Middle-class higher earners saved billions during the pandemic by working at home. No travel costs, no coffees-on-the-go, no lunch to buy, no work clothes either. Money saved has flowed into the home & garden sector. This bubble is about to burst, now that commuting, foreign holidays and events are back on the menu.
In addition, there are many people who will have less disposable income to spend on retail and e-commerce this Christmas. This is potentially good news for the cheaper end of the market – consumers will be looking to spend less.
On the other hand, your customers like value for money and they know they deserve to be treated. For mid-range and luxury brands, offering something perceived as special and valuable is going to be essential.
Supply chain management
You – our clients – are beginning to plan further ahead. Usually, we see you start planning for Christmas in January or soon thereafter -with a few stragglers!
This year, big brands are beginning to plan well, well ahead- to Christmas 2023. The reason for this is the pain of supply chain issues – a perfect storm of Brexit teething problems and the COVID pandemic.
- Disruption to the supply chain post-Brexit has created sourcing issues for certain components. These are ongoing but, as everyone becomes more used to the paperwork, this will resolve itself naturally in the coming months. Nevertheless, it’s a situation brands want to protect themselves from in the long term – hence the planning ahead. See ‘How 3PL is solving the Brexit challenges posed by DDP’ if you’d like to learn more about overcoming Brexit red tape.
- Packaging and packing materials have been in higher demand as the UK turned to e-commerce and grocery home delivery during COVID-19 lockdown. Cardboard was immensely difficult to source during this time! However, the supply chain rallied, and the situation eased. Also, as people return to the high street and the supermarket, demand will ease off. Not only that: everyone in the supply chain learned important lessons – including brands, who don’t want to be caught left-footed by uncompromising lead times and deadlines.
- And the rest: we’re also facing labour shortages, petrol and energy hikes, the effects of the Russian-Ukrainian war on the European and global markets…
“Pretty nerve-racking. How can you be sure what will be relevant to consumers so far ahead?”
As a result, you’re having to make decisions now for what will be required in 18 months – not just this coming Christmas, but the Christmas beyond.
Pretty nerve-racking. How can you be sure what will be relevant to consumers so far ahead? These are big budgets; there are potentially huge losses if you get it wrong.
Promotional marketing top 3 trends for 2022 and beyond
‘Trends’ makes our favourite promotional campaigns sound like they’re fickle choices. On the contrary, our trends will do well this Christmas and also next Christmas. They’re old favourites – tried and tested, they won’t let you down.
1. Experiential marketing
Customers have started making a cautious return to face-to-face since lockdown measures were eased, and we’re gaining confidence.
We’re never going to return to exactly how things were, though. Hybrid working, playing and learning is finding its feet – and experiential marketing is coming into its own.
“Experiential offers a fully-rounded relationship”
Experiential offers a fully-rounded relationship. Its objective is to create memorable, shareable experiences. It’s always been fabulous at helping your brand connect with customers in-store or online, creating a buzz around your products or services.
Pre-pandemic, customers were already comfortable with connecting with your brand in-store and onto digital promotions channels.
Go from sampling and demonstrations straight to their inbox. Delight and satisfy. Solve their problems. Nurture loyalty.
2. Advent calendars
Christmas calendars are still successful – in fact, we’d say they’re even more popular than ever. This is true from the low-budget supermarket version to the luxury ranges, and across all sectors – from chocolate and alcohol to cosmetics, perfume and… actually, anything.
We’ve observed brands competing over who can create the best one! There’s a lot of creative kudos for who can launch the best, who can create the biggest buzz.
We work with some innovative marketing teams who are pulling out all the stops because they have an idea they believe in. Creatively, there’s a lot you can do with a box that dispenses a treat once a day for 25 days.
From your customers’ perspectives, advent calendars offer many possibilities. They can try different products from your brand they might not normally have the opportunity to. They will be introduced to a fuller range and, hopefully, a lifetime of love for your brand.
And the purchaser knows they are getting great value for money – advent calendars, especially the premium, luxury type, are normally worth substantially more than the recommended retail price.
Gift sets are the perfect solution for customers who are time-poor, who want something that drips with quality and looks expensive (even if it’s not). Supremely versatile, they are equally as good a present for a colleague as well as for your Mum.
Gifting comes in many shapes and sizes, just like advent calendars. You can gift almost anything including food, beverages, cosmetics and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. If you’re planning gifting for 2022 or even Christmas 2023, there are a couple of things to bear in mind.
- Personalisation makes even the simplest gift better. This can be in the form of a printed sleeve or certification – see ‘Is your brand winning with e-commerce personalisation’ for more tips.
- Environmentally friendly packaging is on everyone’s mind. Materials should be from sustainable sources and easy to recycle with no plastic. However, customers also love something reusable (like a tin or wooden box), even if it’s branded. See ‘Print and promotional marketing trends in 2022’ for more on sustainable materials.
Brands aren’t just for Christmas
The long and short of it is, you can still rely on promotional marketing to keep your brand front and centre, to delight customers and build loyalty – the kind of brand love that lasts forever, not just for Christmas.
Our favourite 3 trends have proved themselves time and time again so, in times as tricky as these, you know they’re going to sustain you and drive you forward. If you’ve got any questions about how we can help you with this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Photo by Hert Niks on Unsplash