With the holiday shopping season gaining steam, many economic indicators suggest marketers must be focusing on price and savings. However, a latest Gartner report takes a contrarian view, saying the main target must be on inclusivity and ESG (environmental, social and governance) achievements.
The argument for constructing campaigns around price is supported by some substantial facts. Inflation is persisting and, with a current annual rate of three.7%, it stays an enormous concern for consumers. Some 55% say it should have a moderate to significant impact on their holiday spending, based on a Numerator survey. Additionally, 67% say they will likely be buying items on sale, and 48% plan to purchase less.
It’s also value noting the outcomes of a latest Trustpilot survey, which found:
- 1 in 3 Americans are considering going into bank card debt to buy holiday gifts this 12 months.
- 34% of shoppers would take a look at dipping into their savings, and 1 in 3 would consider starting a side hustle to offset the prices.
- 41% of consumers are considering using buy now pay later services, while a further 2 out of 5 consumers would cut down on essential expenses resembling food and gas to afford their gifts.
- On average, Americans who shopped in the course of the 2022 holiday season intend to spend 39% less this 12 months.
Gartner’s own research says only 9% of U.S. consumers will increase their holiday spending this 12 months.
“This 12 months, reﬁning holiday marketing campaigns to fulfill the moment is critical. Just over one-third of consumers have reported cutting back their discretionary spending up to now this 12 months, which could end in retailers’ performance suffering in lots of categories leading as much as the holiday season,” Gartner’s 2023 Holiday Marketing Guide for Retail says.
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This is why most firms will likely be marketing around price. As a result, marketing built around inclusivity and a brand’s ESG accomplishments generally is a differentiator this 12 months, based on the report.
A 12 months of strong reactions
This is an unusual position on condition that 2023 saw huge consumer reactions to Target’s Pride Month merchandising, Adidas’ partnership with Kanye West and one social media post indicating Bud Light believed trans persons are OK. (The Gartner report diplomatically refers to those episodes as “signiﬁcant consumer response to explicit or implicit socio-political stances.”)
The report does acknowledge that the overwhelming majority of consumers don’t take into consideration a brand’s positions on issues when deciding to purchase. However, it also says the number who do take into consideration those stands has been steadily increasing. This is very true for younger consumers:
- 43% of Gen Z and 41% of millennial respondents say what a brand stands for aspects into their purchase decision
- Only 34% of Gen X and 29% of baby boomers felt the identical way.
- 13% of all winter holiday shoppers said an ESG stance was an important factor when choosing a present.
- Younger consumers said aspects just like the gift being locally made or from a brand owned by a member of a historically underrepresented group are more necessary than access to expedited shipping.
Simply having diversity in marketing and promoting may end up in significant positive reactions. “When exposed to ads or marketing that focus on inclusivity, 38% of consumers say that their attitude or behavior toward the brand positively modified,” the report states. “For example, consumers note that when exposed to inclusive ads, they viewed the brand more favorably, were more more likely to purchase from the brand, and were more more likely to share positive news in regards to the brand with others.”
Don’t ignore pricing
To be clear, Gartner believes pricing also needs to be a crucial a part of holiday campaigns. They are also very cognizant of the risks involved in taking a stand that could be considered politically sensitive.
“Marketing on cause isn’t without potential peril,” Kassi Socha, director analyst within the Gartner Marketing practice, said in a press release. “Retail CMOs concerned about taking a robust socio-political stance and risking brand fame of their winter holiday marketing should ensure it should be perceived positively and authentically by goal consumers, and ensure preparedness if consumers react negatively.”
They suggest conducting a fast consumer survey to know potential reactions; extending existing ESG efforts and market annual progress towards long-term goals, and preparing a communication and executive escalation plan to answer negative campaign feedback. The plan should discover what forms of feedback could have a tangible industrial impact or result in behavior changes in high-value customers. Escalation plans shouldn’t be developed in isolation but as a part of an overarching strategy on behalf of the organization to internally discover what the brand stands for on current issues, even those that won’t seem relevant now.
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