Moderated By – Sweta Duseja, Director, Customer Success – META, MoEngage
Deepak Kumar – Manager – Digital Marketing, CRM & Analytics – Jazeera Airways
Selvin K – Growth Manager – Tamanna
Moalla Alfadil – Director eCommerce and Customer Success – Alsaif Gallery
Moderator – So you know, the first question is, what goes into making for a good holiday campaign? We’re coming up against the November, December timeframe. Everybody’s in a good mood. The summer is gone. Is their travel in everyone’s future? What makes for a good holiday campaign?
Selvin K – I think this is really hard to say right now. After hearing all those speakers right now, giving all the strategies, so I would actually say, what would they have said? Just follow that along with, I think one thing which is more important is, and it is probably the biggest mistake, which a lot of companies do, especially when I say holiday.
Everyone knows that it’s Black Friday plus December onwards. So the biggest mistake, which everyone does, is they create strategies. They create ideas to start on the Black Friday month, on the holiday month. That is something which I would say everyone should avoid. When you have an idea for something, any plans, start early.
Learn early right now. When you have less competition, when you have less, I think it was already mentioned, the biggest I, you have eyeballs in them. Start early, learn from it. And then that’s when, when you have all these learnings, go execute these ideas on a bigger scale rather than you trying to test and learn in the month, which is already gonna be expensive and every market, every retailer, every company is actually promoting and doing the strategies at the same time.
Moderator – You know Deepak, we were talking about this very topic about holiday marketing and I’ll extend. Selvin has said, you asked us to add this question. What mistakes would you avoid around the holiday marketing opportunity?
Deepak Kumar – Just adding to what SEL mentioned over here, it’s really important that you should be planning for the campaign. You should be starting as early as possible for your holiday campaigns. So ideal time would be maybe one and 100, one and a half months before.
If you start late, the strategy which you will be following, will be copying your competitors, which is a recipe for failure. So what helps in starting early is that you should be able to make your creative strategy, you should be able to plan your creative strategy better, should be able to come out with the right set of ideas, should be able to build the right set of personas after doing all the analytics on your customer’s data.
And then we’ll reach out to them with the right message at the right time on the right. And which will ex, which will further help you to get the ample benefit out of your holiday campaign. Another mistake which you might want to avoid is just using one or two channels to reach out to all those, uh, all your customers, all your users.
So in this way, not all the customers are present on one channel or another channel, which you are planning to go ahead with. So you should be making a multichannel strategy for your holiday marketing campaign. You can focus upon one or two channels the most, but overall strategy should be including all your channels, here is an ample opportunity to reach out to the customers, including push notifications.
Email is a very important tool, your sms campaign. Your search paid, search paid, social, all of these combine to mix up a good holiday marketing campaign. Another holiday marketing mistake which you might want to avoid is not focusing much upon building the customer persona.
So your customers are really important. You are building the right persona for different kinds of customers. As an airline, we have a different set of audience, different set of people, different kinds of people, living in this region. So we operate from Kuwait, so we have a Kuwaiti audience, we have an expat audience.
We have different kinds of segments living over there. So it’s important that you should be able to identify these segments in the right order and be able to build a persona of what their interest and activities are, what they’re interested in, and then build your campaigns around those affinities, around those interests with the right set of messages.
You can’t reach out to Kuwaitis with a Travel to India message. Of course not because during the holiday season, they might prefer to travel to the leisure destinations, but when you look at the expat segments, they’re more interested in traveling to their home countries during the holiday. So it’s important that you should be able to identify your audience better, to reach out with the right message during this time.
Moderator – Moalla, could I ask you, last couple of years dominated by Covid, so people moved a lot of purchasing online. What do you think this holiday season is going to look like for all sets?
Moalla Alfadil – Actually compared to last two years because the last two years were different than this year because it was Covid 19 and most brands think that after Covid 19, the online marketing or online shopping will go down and people will go back to the normal as before. But I think digital, digital shopping is coming to stay. It’s not coming to go because we don’t see any drop in sales after Covid 19. On the other side we see even growth after Covid because people learn how to use a smartphone, learn how to shop online and they see that the online is even more convenient than shopping.
Of course many of them or some of them see that it’s like sitting at home ordering what I need and this is delivered to my home without going outside, without even going to here and there it is. It’s more convenient. It’s better for them because they have more time with their family. They have more time with their children or even. They have more time for entertainment because as we see now in Saudi Arabia, yet the season we have entertainment, we have cinema, we have this one, and they don’t have time to go shopping. So they go for entertainment and they order online. But what I think now is digital shopping is here to stay and even grow more.
Moderator – Very interesting, right? We all think that, you know, maybe football in stores will increase, but looks like digital is here to stay. Selvin, here’s a question. Once you do pre-Black Friday and Black Friday and then White Wednesday and then Christmas and New Years, we expect to see a dip in online traffic and sales.
Do you have any guidance for brands that can continue at least if you know, not have a severe dip, right? Maybe the trough is not so deep. Maybe it’s just a little bit, any sort of you know, tips for brands to enable, you know that dip to not be as deep if you will.
Selvin K– So I wouldn’t say this is a tip because every industry is different, but what’s most important is to actually look at your data and try to understand that yes, maybe something worked well during the month of November, but during the month of December, what is gonna work well, like for example, right? Coming from a retail background, maybe it could be gifting products you are gonna pick up because you have the times of Christmas, you have New Year’s, you have multiple occasions.
It could even be the wedding season, I don’t know. I’m just kind of assuming the right things right now. But try, it’s really good to first thing, understand the market you are in, and then try to understand what kind of products should we be pushing to our customer at that time that would eventually work for them and kind of yes, there will be a dropdown, right?
Like you mentioned, you cannot make sure that from November, from your singles day to Black Friday, you’re gonna have the same momentum. There will be a drop. But to avoid a massive drop is to try to understand the market, try to understand from your data as well what mistakes or like, you know, you probably made from last year as well, that you need to, you know, recover and kind of adjust and make sure that tip is not gonna be that bad. And at the same time is to make sure that whatever service you do, this is the one thing which when you do a lot of promotions, right, and coming again from a retail background, a lot of companies, what they do is they run promotions of Black Friday.
But what happens is they kind of sacrifice on some other things, right? For example, I do 50% off, but my delivery takes a really long time. Try to avoid these mistakes when you know that, okay, fine, in December, the first thing that should be in the customer’s head. Let’s say I did, I got 50% of the product. It got delivered on the same day, for example. Let me make sure that, okay, fine. When I come back, I wanna go to this company because if I order, I’ll get the gift today that I can actually give to my friend by tomorrow or something like that. So, just to learn from those things and just, I think data is first, right?
Just look at your data, look at the market, and try to see what you can. Okay.
Deepak Kumar – Just adding to what Selvin mentioned. For us to drive the sales post holiday season, it’s also very important that we should be focusing upon building long-term relationships with our customers. So for us as an airline, the holiday season is not really about offering discounts and promotions because the demand usually remains high during the holiday season, so we don’t need to offer those kinds of discounts.
But still, the holiday season presents to us an opportunity to build that kind of relationship with the customer, what they are expecting from us. It follows the vibe of what the holiday season is around. For example, during the National Liberation daytime in Kuwait, the patriotic feeling really remains high among the Kuwaiti audience living over there.
So we try to build our content. We try to change our landing pages, our social media pages to capture that vibe so that customers should feel the same when they visit all of these other pages. In this way, your customer remembers how you are able to make them feel. So in this way, they will remember when they’re going to purchase from when they’re going to make a next purchase decision next time.
So they will remember that there was a brand who was able to convince them at that time and who was able to justify them at that time. Second important point that I want to mention over here for driving the sales post holiday season is adding some kind of social cause or societal perspective to your marketing efforts.
Not just your marketing efforts, even in your sales strategy, if you can add it. In Jazeera, for example, we allow our users to reduce their carbon footprint by buying some carbon credits when they make a booking. So in this way, the customer feels accomplished when purchasing a ticket.
So in this way they feel they are contributing something valuable to the society. We use that purchase amount, we use that purchase value to fund the renewable energy projects around the world. I’m not saying that some climate cause to your campaign or in your sales strategy is going to be the right fit for you.
You need to identify it from the customer data, you have to analyze what kind of communities your customers are part of, what kind of values they align with, what kind of their interests or affinities or areas are and accordingly you can decide to partner with a non-profit or a social college organization and drive your strategy around it.
Moderator – Great. Just want to add, please go ahead.
Moalla Alfadil – Want to add, just want advice here for e-commerce especially offering a gift trapping option at checkout for a holiday is also a very good option that can be used here because this is stressful for some of the consumers. If they want to search for a gift themselves and then they want to buy a wrapping paper and the order to make it look good, this is a little bit stressful for them. If e-commerce provides gift wrapping during the checkout option then this will help them a lot.
Moderator – So you’re talking about all sorts of value ads, right? That is thoughtful and relevant for the season, for example.
Selvin K – Yeah. And it could also mean that maybe partnering up with the company, like for example. If it’s December, it’s travel season, partner with maybe a travel company that you can actually promote your products with, right?
Partner with a travel company saying that okay, find people who buy tickets. They can probably promote and say that you can buy all the things that you need for the trip from this website. It could be something like that. But again, like I said, it could be a factor that you could actually pick up and it’s more important to start partnering with whatever it is based on the timeline you’re at.
Moderator – I’d like to turn the questions over to the audience as well in case you do have something to ask around holiday season marketing as well, right? It’s coming, it’s here almost. How prepared do you feel today based on what your company offers in terms of what your marketing campaigns and what channels are going to be relevant for you?
Questioner – I think for us, holidays and special events go hand in hand. So for example, this particular holiday, I think that the World Cup is the biggest event happening in our region. And, within the markets that we operate, actually, three of those countries are actually a part of the World Cup team.
So that is a big one. And for the last three months we have been preparing for a regional campaign and the whole 360 degree media plan around it. So, for us there is a holiday, but there is something called season which is the World Cup and we are preparing for that.
Moderator – I’ll finish up around this topic. Can you provide the audience with a couple of ideas or just even one campaign idea that you think is going to be novel in your industry over the next two or three months?
Selvin K – So I think you just mentioned the thing which I don’t know why ust kind of missed my mind as well. Like this is the first Black Friday, or let’s say holiday season which is actually in combination with not just the football World Cup, but if I’m not mistaken, there’s also the Cricket World Cup which kind of tailors you know for multiple audiences. And at the same time, it’s important to note that anyone who’s traveling to Qatar for the World Cup is actually going to be staying in Saudi, they could be staying in Kuwait, they could be staying in Dubai as well.
And these are also potential customers that you could target, right? And that’s one thing which we are also starting to look at. We are trying though, we kind of cater to, let’s say Kuwait and Saudi market, right? We are also trying to see how we can expand the marketing or the kind of activities we do a bit more globally as well.
So in the way that, okay fine, when they actually come to the region, we’ll be the first thing in their mind to know that, fine, this is the company that can go, because I’ve probably seen their ads somewhere else. I probably saw communication from them somewhere else, but again the World Cup is one of the factors, but I’m not sure what else is happening.
But at the same time, it’s trying to be agile to understand that, okay, at this time, let’s say it’s not about just planning things in advance and just executing it. It’s about seeing that, okay, fine, right now, something will change, let’s say tomorrow. What can I do to make sure it changes, right? I know it’s very difficult for a big company to be like, okay, fine.
Today I made a campaign plan. I planted one month in. But what can I do? How can I change it? Today we have to just be agile, look at the numbers, look at the data, and just change it, test it out, and see if it works. If it doesn’t work again, make sure that you always are in a situation that I tested something tomorrow, it didn’t work.
Let me test something else the day after tomorrow. Everything backed with the help of data.
Thank you. That’s really insightful. Any last thoughts in terms of holiday marketing, in terms of just a cool novel idea?
Moalla Alfadil – Actually, especially for us, our campaigns start after the holiday. After people come from holiday, we start our campaign but for the holiday, holiday marketing is not just making a discount. Once in a while, you have to be creative. You have to think about segmentations. There is a segment. Especially for this type of season, this type of event, segmentation and even creating a product related to this segment for this special season or a special holiday.
This will help a lot. Also one of the mistakes when he speaks about is to send people to the main page in the websites. We have to create a landing page with a selected product, especially for this season or this holiday, and then promote this page to the customers, to the right segment.
So segmentation for the customer and also selecting the right products, creating the right page and promoting it in the right ways. This will help a lot in the holiday marketing.
Moderator – Yeah, good idea. Send them to one place where everything is. Relevancy, personalization.
Selvin K – So I think just to add to what he said as well, and this is one thing which I really, really promote heavily to everyone else following this thing, which I like to follow, is AARRR Framework, which is your acquisition, activation, retention, revenue, and referral.
So anything that you do to always make sure that you have plans around all these five aspects is to acquire a customer in Black Friday which is acquisition. How can I activate them? How can I make sure that I retain them? How can I make sure that I get more revenue out of them? And once they become loyal, which is through maybe a loyalty program or something, when I get more revenue out of them, how can I make sure that these guys or these people go and share their awards about the company with everyone else and get everyone else there. So this kind of framework is so important for every business to follow.
Moderator – So AARRR. We’ll make sure that we, we coin that. We won’t take credit for it. We’ll let it be yours, but thank you.
Selvin K – I mean it’s a public thing, so there’s no way you can take credit for it. Sorry.
Moderator – Any, any last thoughts for me Deepak?
Deepak Kumar – So the holiday marketing as Moalla rightly mentioned is not just about the promotions and discounts that businesses should be following. It’s more about building long lasting relationships with the customer and making your content engaging enough to touch the emotional appeal and capturing the vibe of the season. That really becomes important during the holiday season.
And at the same time, the importance of a marketing automation tool comes into the picture that when the customers are interacting with you, they are engaging with all your channels. You should be able to create a proper journey for these kinds of futures. So that you should be able to reach out to them with the right kind of messaging at the right place and at the right time.
So the holiday marketing is an opportunity to capture the customer value and then use that customer value throughout the year to drive sales for your business and the brand.