Study provides holiday email marketing insights

Study provides holiday email marketing insights

The holiday shopping season is vital for email promotions, with marketers filling the inboxes of their email contact lists with news about product releases, last-minute sales and a host of other offers they can take advantage of as they shop for their loved ones. As much stress as consumers find themselves under during this time, marketers are undoubtedly feeling the pressure, too, as they attempt the final, make-or-break push to achieve the return on investment their firms have been seeking.

However, there may be more flexibility when it comes to hitting end-of-year ROIs than many marketers believe. Email marketing solutions firm Custora recently released statistics that help put the holiday promotion rush into perspective.

Holiday customers not as valuable long-term
Don't value those who make purchases during November and December too highly: The Custora report found that holiday customer acquisitions have a lower customer lifetime value (CLV) than customers acquired during the rest of the year.

The drop occurs across marketing channels, the study found. Email had a relatively low 5 percent decrease in holiday CLV, while paid search dropped by 13 percent and display advertising by 12 percent.

Perhaps the decrease in CLV reflects the increase in the volume of marketing efforts over the holidays, with quantity being prioritized over quality. Noting that Forrester recently predicted 838 billion marketing emails would be sent in 2013, the marketing team at McKinsey emphasized in a recent post for Forbes that more personal emails are likely to be the most effective.

"Given this backdrop, it's no wonder why relevancy should be a priority for every marketer," the McKinsey marketers wrote.

Think mobile
On the other hand, failing to prioritize mobile sales may get marketers into trouble this holiday season. Custora found that on Black Friday in 2012, total mobile sales increased by 50 percent in a single day.

As such, it's imperative that marketers make sure their promotional emails and websites are mobile-ready, as customers will surely want to utilize these tools on their smartphones and tablets in order to make purchases.

Don't get stuck on Black Friday
That said, marketers can afford to take a wider-lens approach rather than focus exclusively on the day after Thanksgiving. In 2012, the four-day period between Dec. 1 and Dec. 4 brought in more revenue than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, Custora found, while the days between Dec. 10 and Dec. 13 were just shy of the two major shopping days' joint revenue.

Taking these insights into consideration, marketers can feel empowered to target their emails in a more sophisticated manner than they may have in previous years.

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