It may seem like yesterday you were sunning yourself on the beach during your summer holiday but believe it or not, today marks 100 days before Christmas! Customers’ shopping expectations are higher than ever, and Christmas is no exception to this. As the season remains the most lucrative period for retail, the stakes are higher than ever to get it right.
It’s time to start making your Christmas-planning list (and checking it twice?). To help you in your efforts, we recently shared our thoughts on Four things every brand should do now in the lead-up to the festive period. We spoke to Adobe customer Dixons Carphone, to find out what the brand is doing ahead of this year’s crucial shopping period.
Start planning early
The earlier you start planning, the more likely your campaign will unfold without a hitch. For the most highly-organised brands, like Dixons Carphone, the planning has already begun.
“Christmas is always the most important period for retail, so we start planning as early as six months in advance,” says Saul Lopes, Head of CRM at Dixons Carphone.
Getting started means conceptualising and scheduling, but it also means testing your Christmas ad campaign – and those who kick their planning off early will have a head start ahead of those who don’t. Dixons Carphone uses Adobe Experience Manager to perform multi-varient testing to monitor how different customer segments respond to certain messaging and content. This helps them understand what resonates with their customer ahead of time, so their campaigns can be tweaked for maximum impact. Saul explains:
“We test our Christmas campaigns in August and September. Using multi-varient testing, we’re able to monitor how different customer segments respond to different messaging and content. We then use these insights to deliver relevant experiences. By starting our testing early, we give ourselves plenty of time to refine our messaging, so that come Christmas, we are 100% confident in the targeting and delivery of our Christmas campaigns.”
Learn from last year
Regardless of when you start planning, insights from last year’s campaign will likely provide a useful steer in developing this year’s one. Once again, brands with a marketing automation platform will benefit, this time from easy access to historical campaign data across a number of parameters.
Dixons Carphone employs a similar strategy ahead of their Christmas campaigns, as Saul explains:
“We start by analysing last year’s data to see what worked well and, in July, we review where we could make improvements,” explains Saul. “Adobe Experience Cloud not only helps us understand how people are browsing and interacting on our website, it also gives us the ability to personalise communications and messaging to customers based on those browsing habits and preferences.”
Bring the team together
Christmas campaigns are some of the longest and most complex of the year, often requiring marketing teams to collaborate with areas of the business they don’t usually interact with. For Dixons Carphone, technology helps bring the different areas of the business together in the lead-up to this important period. Saul explains:
“Collaboration between all of the different on and offline channels is essential to deliver a good all-round experience to our customers. Adobe Target and Experience Manager help our teams work together more effectively and allow us to review the performance of every channel and touchpoint by customer segment through one central platform.”
“The ability to share data efficiently across functions is essential to the success of our Christmas campaigns, as each team has an important role to play in bringing these wider activities to life. As soon as the planning period begins we have regular meetings, bringing our cross-functional teams together, and providing an opportunity for them to strategise together, face-to-face.”
It’s never too early to start planning for Christmas, but it’s not too late, either. There’s still plenty of time to develop and execute campaigns that will resonate with your audience, and ensure your brand sees the many happy returns it expects from the Christmas period!