For us marketers, the holiday season is like an endurance sporting event. From the dog days of summer, through Halloween and Black Friday, and all the way to Hanukkah, Christmas, and the New Year, it’s definitely a marathon, not a sprint.
If you are to be successful in your efforts to push harder and further than ever before this holiday season, you need to be prepared to put in the preparation and hard work before, during, and even after the big event.
So how do you prepare for the busiest and potentially most rewarding sales period of the year? We’ve created a simple training plan that will not only help you complete the race but also ensure you beat your expectations for the season.
Teamwork Does Make the Dream Work
Even the most solitary endurance athlete has a great team behind them. One of the most important members of this team is the performance coach, who not only helps them set their objectives but also puts a plan in place to help them achieve them.
As a marketer, you may act as your own performance coach, but you also have to work with equally important people across your organization to build and act on a plan. This includes members of your senior leadership team, tech team, finance team, merchandising team, customer service team, warehouse or fulfillment teams, etc.
This preparation is about setting expectations and getting to grips with any limitations that may prevent you from reaching your goals.
Any marketing campaign is only as strong as the weakest link in your organization. It’s also important to remember that if a part of that chain breaks during the holiday season and you fail to deliver on your promises, your entire organization’s reputation is at risk.
If you are thinking about the holidays and not speaking to other departments in your organization about the delivery of your campaigns, your race may be over before it has even begun.
All the Gear, No Idea
As marketers, we’ve never before had access to so much great technology to make our jobs easier. But if you aren’t using that technology appropriately, and those systems are speaking to each other, you may be making life more difficult for yourself in the long run.
A great way to understand if you really are working smarter and not harder is to look at any manual processes between systems. For example, the sight of a spreadsheet on your desktop or (heaven forbid) using a USB memory stick to transfer data between systems should sound warning bells and tell you that your system is a mess.
The holiday season isn’t a great time to stress-test the capabilities of your team or your MarTech stack. You don’t want to be that guy with all the gear, but no idea.
Holidays like Halloween represent early opportunities to make sure everyone in your organization and the various systems you employ are perfectly aligned.
It’s never a good idea to train for a race during the race. So take your time to identify any training needs to ensure everyone on your team and across your organization is fully prepared, confident, and ready to embrace the challenges of the upcoming holiday season.
Remember, any piece of software, whether that is an eCommerce platform, an email marketing tool, or a CRM system, will only ever be as good as the person operating it. If you can confidently state that you are utilizing more than 20% of your MarTech stack’s capabilities, you will outperform many other less confident marketers.
With this in mind, it’s time to start looking for some marginal gains to up your game.
Looking for Marginal Gains
Marginal gains in your marketing activities can mean the difference between hitting your objectives this holiday season and absolutely smashing them.
When marketers look for marginal gains, they will discover all manner of efficiencies in their organization that help them to reduce waste and ensure their time is spent more wisely, delivering the right message to the right person at the right time.
Even at the most basic level in email marketing, this will mean making sure your lists are always clean, fully segmented, and constantly updated.
The hunt for marginal gains becomes even more critical for more sophisticated marketers.
Marketing automation technology combined with a robust CRM system is an obvious performance enhancer. Still, it only works if you are willing to do the preliminary work before deployment.
Much like email marketing, this involves ensuring everything is neat, tidy, and in the right place. It also means guaranteeing everyone across your organization understands how important it is to work toward common goals.
The Importance of Good CRM Hygiene
When specific events in your CRM system trigger your marketing automation campaigns, it’s essential that your data is clean and constantly updated. It’s also vital that everyone who has access to or can manipulate this data understands why this is so important.
When adding new customer data, you shouldn’t create duplications. This will create multiple versions of the truth and potentially confuse subscribers as they receive numerous and possibly contradictory emails.
It’s also vital that customer records are updated as quickly as possible. There is very little point in sending someone an email campaign promoting a specific product if they have already purchased that product. This becomes even more problematic if your marketing campaigns promote a better deal than the customer previously enjoyed.
In the perfect world, all this data will be automatically managed through various integrations across your MarTech stack. However, where there are gaps (for example, with legacy systems) that cannot quickly be filled by technology, these should be filled with training and careful monitoring.
Managing Your Creative Output
When you know that your CRM system, MarTech stack, and wider organization are fully aligned, you can finally get on with being a creative marketer. This will give you time to create all those holiday marketing campaigns that will drive engagement and help you reach your objectives.
By integrating your marketing automation activities with your CRM system, you’ll be in a much better position to build real relationships with your customers. Over time they will grow to appreciate and even love your regular communications. Could you hope for a better holiday season?
Many marketers find it challenging to balance their creative output with the every day maintenance of managing a fully integrated MarTech stack. Of course, both tasks are vital to their success and cannot be ignored, but marketers often have too many balls in the air to concentrate fully on these roles. If you find yourself in such a situation, having the confidence to ask for help will undoubtedly help you achieve your goals.
Expert Advice and Support
It’s always good to have a little support in your corner. The marketing experts at emfluence can help you stay in the game and win the race this holiday season. They will not only help you ensure your MarTech stack is fully aligned and your CRM system provides the most accurate reflection of your business today. They’ll also help you build creative and logistic marketing automation strategies to ensure you stay on track.
To learn more, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.