The Holiday Season & 2023: How to Prepare for a New Era of Real-Time Sense & Respond Marketing

By: Michael Della Penna, Chief Strategy Officer of InMarket

Riddled with record inflation, 2022 presented new challenges for marketers as consumer behaviors continued to rapidly fluctuate. Now more than ever, purchases are influenced by value, timeliness and convenience.

Heading into the holidays, we’re seeing the ongoing impact of rising prices lead to value  conscious consumers on the hunt for deals. Holiday shopping started in September, and in response, big box retailers and e-commerce giants kicked off massive holiday promotions in October to meet the significant upticks in consumer demand.

Despite these shifts, with online Black Friday sales soaring 2.3% above 2021 and overall holiday sales anticipated to increase 6-8% above last year, it’s clear consumers are still spending and demand is up.

It’s critical for marketers to bake in learnings from the past year, and especially this nuanced holiday shopping season, into their strategies. As we head into a new era of real-time sense and respond marketing, here’s a guide to optimizing your marketing tactics in 2023:

Build Awareness & Consideration: Optimize Your Value Messaging and Offering

Feeling the burn of inflation, consumers are increasingly seeking out bargain stores and value-driven products. In a recent survey, InMarket found that 41% of customers plan to seek out promotions, coupons and rewards when holiday shopping this year. So, not surprisingly, data from this year’s Black Friday showed consumers flocking to discounted outlets. For example, visitation to Tanger Outlets increased 340% this Black Friday vs. the previous four Black Fridays.

So, sharing promotions both garner interest and reward existing customers who make a purchase, increasing their likelihood of returning. Reminding value based consumers seeking deals of nearby outlets and sales alongside value-driven messaging and offers is critical. Now is the time to dial up rewards/loyalty benefits, highlight bulk offerings or cheaper alternatives and promote the flexibility of gift cards. These tactics all play a role in how brands can connect with consumers under increased pressure to stretch every dollar..

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All About Driving Purchases: Invest Heavily In Real-Time Messaging to Reach Consumers While They’re Shopping

It’s crucial that brands invest in Geo-contextual solutions that reach consumers in the moments that matter – while they’re shopping. Geofencing locations and hyper-relevant messages help brands influence consumers to choose your brand over your competitors, all in real-time. Best of all, in a world where identities are and will become increasingly less prevalent, these bottom of the funnel tactics rely solely on location and user set permissions including push notifications opt-ins to receive push notification. They also perform better in terms of engagement given their timeliness and contextual relevance.

Awaking All the Senses to drive Engagement: Explore Immersive and Innovative Tactics

Research has found that 32% of consumers research a product or project after watching a brand video, and TikTok users put an average of 8.5% more dollars into their shopping carts. Heading into this new era of real-time sense and respond marketing, marketers should feel empowered to explore new creative avenues for innovative marketing solutions – like personalized and immersive experiences – to drive engagement. Experimentation pushes engagement rates higher as brands introduce more immersive experiences, from VR showrooms to realistic virtual dressing rooms, to customizable shopping environments. Focused on capturing consumers’ attention and encouraging them to take action, these personalized tactics are key in driving long-term relationships with the brand.

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Measure & Optimize: Use Measurement to Drive Efficiency in Flight & Beyond

Amid crunches in marketing budgets, measurement and optimization provide an opportunity to maximize campaign effectiveness and efficiency. By switching to real-time measurement, marketers can better understand the strengths and pitfalls of in-flight campaigns. Whether it’s identifying a key age group that might be responding well to the campaign, finding a critical geographic area that might’ve been overlooked, or shifting from an area where results are weaker, measurement offers critical insights into how marketers can adjust in-flight campaigns to get the most out of each buck spent.

As we wrap up another year filled with new challenges and opportunities, it’s time to shift the focus from traditional marketing approaches to real-time sense and respond marketing. This method is not only flexible and immediately responsive to change, but can break through the clutter to drive results. By approaching 2023 planning with an eye towards this approach and dialing up value-driven, engaging experiences, marketers can remain confident that they’ll reach customers and drive the necessary return on advertising spend to prosper in the year ahead.  Happy Holidays!


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