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Top marketing tips for Mother’s Day

Thursday, 9 May 2013 | By Yolanda Redrup

Retailers are singing. Restaurant owners are smiling. Customers’ pockets are jingling a little less. One of the biggest shopping events of the calendar has arrived: Mother’s Day.


Australians are expected to spend almost $1.4 billion spoiling their mums this year, according to the latest figures from IBISWorld.


That figure is an increase of 2.7% from 2012, and almost three times the amount spent on Father’s Day gifts.


Retailers, restaurants, florists, and pampering services are expected to benefit, but with the constant stream of marketing bombarding consumers 24/7, it’s difficult for businesses to make themselves stand out from the pack.


A barrage of events and special sales has been taking place over the past few weeks, as retailers vie online and offline for customer dollars. Click Frenzy ran its second event (this time with greater success) and coinciding with mass sales, while other retailers such as David Jones had their own discounts.


It’s difficult to stand out from the pack. SmartCompany assembled a panel of experts including Carole Poole from Swoop Digital, Richard Hack from Taboo and Lee Tonitto from the Australian Marketing Institute about the most successful marketing tactics, recent innovations and new ideas for marketing around special days.


1. Old standards and new favourites


Currently, retailers are favouring a mixture of old and new marketing techniques.


“The popular tactics are still the traditional things like catalogues and discounting around special times and setting up specifically designed in-store displays. Around Mother’s Day, shopping centres often do catalogues as well,” she says.


Hack says “tried and true methods” like email marketing campaigns, promotional competitions and catalogues are still effective and frequently used.


“Some retailers are still getting good results from the snail mail into the letter box. If it’s well designed, it’s still going to be effective.”


“A lot of brands have shifted into digital communication now. So if you receive something in the mail which isn’t a bill, then you get excited about it,” he says.


Tonitto says David Jones is winning big with an omni-channel approach to marketing.


“I’ve been watching the reinvention of David Jones, its re-positioning, and I think they’re doing a particularly good job. It’s been using an integrated omni-channel approach which has been funnelling traffic back into stores,” she says.


Poole says email marketing is “still there and it’s a relevant tactic”, especially if you include some key information.


“We have one client which sells jewellery and when she does her emails around Mother’s Day or special days she includes last dates for order, so the gifts arrive on time and this generates a rush of sales,” she says.


Poole says email marketing can provide useful insights, particularly if they are run in conjunction with a competition.


“The jeweller and Appliances Online have also been running Facebook competitions. The jeweller asked consumers why their mother was special and so it also got useful customer information,” he says.


Big data has become an increasing focus for retailers as they strive to learn more about their consumers, but Hack says it should be less to do with the size of the data and more about how it’s used.


“At the moment, there is a lot of chat about big data. But there isn’t a great deal of differences between big data and traditional data marketing. The difference is really in the scale.”


“If you use Google APIs, then you can take big data and really use it to uncover consumer insights you wouldn’t have had in the past, such as consumer aggregates, customer behaviour insights and uncover certain information to help build campaigns.”


“But it’s not so much about the size of the data, it’s what you do with it,” he says.


Frost and Sullivan reported recently more companies are migrating from offline to online advertising and 59% of organisations surveyed indicated they had achieved a measurable ROI from their online general advertising in 2012.


Social media advertising was also found to be on the rise and the number of Australian companies advertising on Facebook was growing strongly.


2. Be different and innovate


For a brand to stand out in the eyes of a consumer, it needs to be memorable – but in the right ways.


If your catalogue is dull and lifeless, it will go straight to the recycling. If your television ad is lack-lustre, the audience will tune out. If you only use social media for marketing, don’t be surprised if you find yourself at the centre of a Facebook or Twitter scandal (for example, the recent Qantas and Myer debacles).


Hack says one of his latest favourite marketing innovations is “shoppable media”.


“YouTube has excellent functionality through its shoppable function. Juicy Couture did a cool branded content piece for their fashion label and users could click immediately on the item and go straight through to the point of sale. This is integrated though lots of different digital and even print media,” he says.


Online retailer ASOS created a campaign last November based on YouTube’s shoppable technology. ASOS’s Best Night Ever campaign featured celebrities such as singers Ellie Goulding and Azealia Banks and users were able to click on items they were wearing and be transferred to the item on the ASOS site.


Hack says international grocery giant Tesco’s use of shoppable billboards is another example of retailers using innovative marketing techniques.


“Tesco actually used subway stations in South Korea as an advertising medium. It put up billboards of its grocery products and shoppers could use QR code technology to buy the items and have them delivered straight to the door on their way home from work.”


“It’s a good example which speaks to the difference between grudge purchasing and the positive purchasing experience you get from clothes. Tesco delivered a positive purchasing experience through an interface which is more appropriate to the lifestyle of their customers,” he says.


Tonitto says the full advantages of Web 2.0 are yet to be realised, but some international businesses are already bringing digital elements to bricks-and-mortar stores, upping consumer engagement in-store and re-invigorating consumer excitement.


“The retail in-store experience can be enhanced with mirrors which have Facebook connectivity, so shoppers can go into the change rooms and actually post pictures of themselves to their Facebook accounts and see how many likes they get. Billabong already has this technology operating in Brazil. This integration can save the in-store experience,” she says.


In mid-2011, Billabong inventory in a Brazil store was outfitted with radio frequency identification tags which allow customers to press prompts on their mirrors, sending a text message to staff members for additional clothing items, sizes or colours and allows inventory to be updated immediately.


This technology, and more, can be used by Australian retailers to differentiate themselves.


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3. Don’t be afraid to tug at the heart strings


Poole says when it comes to Mother’s Day, retailers need to employ emotional triggers to make their brand or their product appeal to consumers.


“At the moment, everything seems to have a sameness to it – you want something that’s really different. A trend in retail is trying to get exclusive product ranges or have a limited distribution, but apart from that, retailers can make themselves different by how they theme their gifts and how they target their messaging.


“For Mother’s Day, emotional triggers should be used. If you market your product as an unforgettable personalised experience, it’s going to tap into the consumers’ emotional triggers,” she says.


Poole says, during Mother’s Day, sons and daughters want to treat their Mum to something “special” and retailers should use this knowledge in their marketing.


“Tiffany’s is an example of a brand which automatically has that special feel anyway, so by advertising for Mother’s Day, they’re immediately tapping into this. But for brands like Cotton On, they could find a special way of packaging their products, such as offering a gift wrapping service or even having the gifts come with a fun and quirky message which fits the brand.


“It’s about taking that extra step,” she says.


Tonitto says brands should also consider running joint promotions with services businesses around Mother’s Day to broaden their potential customer base and add a unique element to their product offering compared to their competitors.


“Anything that makes mums’ lives easier will be popular for Mother’s Day. Retailers can join forces with a services business such as a concierge package or if it’s a new mum, a nappy service.


“Bundle packages for mothers and daughter are also an option, such as having a spa day coupled with a high tea,” she says.


4. Tips for retailers


Keeping up with new technology and marketing trends is often a challenge for Australian retailers, which have in recent times dropped the ball when it comes to their online strategies, but if you want to stay ahead of the competition, then it’s important to stay on the ball.


Poole says one tool which should be used more is Google AdWords and banner advertisements.


“Banner ads can get creepy, so you’ve got to do it well. But displaying items which are similar to the one the user has just clicked on, feels less like you’re being stalked.”


“The best at this is Amazon. Every time you’re always shown products other people have bought who also bought your purchase. It is a very powerful tactic, but a lot of Australian websites don’t have that technology built into them,” she says.


This tactic, she says, helps brands to personalise their products in an online setting.


“Instead of mass marketing, personalisation is important. Marketers tend to have this way of categorising people into specific groups, but people are individuals,” she says.


She says online jewellery brand JewelMint effectively personalises its products in a way which is engaging for the consumers and also provides useful consumer insights.


JewelMint asks users to sign up to its emailing list, but instead of sending a generic email once a day, users get an email which has personalised products based on the shopper’s personal preferences.


When joining the website, consumers take a quiz which asks you about your fashion icons and which styles you like most. This data is compiled to form a collection of specific jewellery designs for each customer.


Similarly, Hack says brands can personalise products to amplify sales around special days.


“Innocent Drinks did a campaign for Valentine’s Day where you could put someone else’s name on a juice and send it to the person. It was similar to the promotion Coca-Cola did with named bottles,” he says.


Hack says brands intending to run a campaign for a special day like Mother’s Day should start planning early.


“To achieve this type of success, it doesn’t happen overnight – if you really wanted to make the most of Mother’s Day, you’d have started working on it in January,” he says.


“And it’s the campaigns which are fun and engaging which tend to be the most successful.”


This story first appeared on SmartCompany.