RIP Black Friday and Cyber Monday: How the Extended Holiday Season Signals an End of the Campaign-driven Mindset

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This article was originally published in MarTech Advisor.

Steve Sachs, CEO of OneSpot observes that following this past Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s record-breaking sales stretching across 11 consecutive days of desktop purchasing surpassing $1billion every day from Thanksgiving to December 4th, brands are moving beyond the “moment in time” investments to “always on” spend

In the wake of this past year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s record-breaking sales that is now extending to become Cyber Week — 11 consecutive days of desktop purchasing surpassing $1 billion every day from Thanksgiving to Dec. 4 (comScore) — marketers across industries are rethinking their approaches to seasonality in relation to their overall marketing efforts. For marketers, retail’s biggest shopping holidays are no longer viewed as the singular events they once were, but are instead being seen as part of an always-on marketing strategy that requires an annualized marketing spend giving brands the ability to capture consumers and engage with them on an ongoing basis throughout the year.

Brands are increasingly moving away from a campaign-driven mindset to an always-on, cross-platform discipline to drive engagement and sales. For brands, the days of allocating massive budgets for one particular season are gone. Instead, today’s marketers realize that to remain front and center with consumers, they must rethink their marketing programs to ensure that they are reaching their customers along the path to purchase, at all times of the year.

As an example, look no further than 2016’s extended record-breaking online shopping sales, where brands continued to shift dollars even away from traditional marketing tactics, to those that provide greater ROI such as content marketing. For brands that incorporated a content marketing strategy as part of their marketing plans, they were able to not only reach consumers at critical moments in time, but also create brand experiences across channels using data-driven strategies. Additionally, with the insight marketers gained into consumer buying habits on a one-to-one level, marketers also had the ability to personalize content — a critical capability that enables brands to tap into individual interests, browsing history and preferences — which consumers have come to expect in providing a more relevant shopping experience.

Amazon, a leader in online retail, is extremely effective in targeting consumers throughout the year by delivering highly personalized recommendations to ensure the holiday shopping season is not their only season. In fact, with 35 percent of what people purchase on Amazon and 75 percent of what they watch on Netflix driven by algorithms that enable personally relevant recommendations (McKinsey & Company), personalization and content marketing have become priorities for marketers. As the media landscape evolves, and the combination of consumer habits changes, we will continue to see a renewed commitment to year-round investments in the year ahead.

But as marketers move beyond the “moment in time” investments to an “always on” spend, the hallmarks of a well-thought-out, year-round content marketing strategy are critical. These strategies must be data driven, conducted in real time and offer relevant one-to-one personalization. The stakes are high for those overlooking personalization as it can be the difference in delivering five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend with sales lifts of 10 percent or more (McKinsey & Company). Marketers can either prepare for this always-on new reality, or they can be overrun by competitors that have embraced it as a critical and proven way to build long-lasting relationships with customers.

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