The holiday season can be stressful, whether you’re looking for the perfect gift or preparing for a busy Q4. But you’re not alone. Just look at your personal inbox or social feeds: marketers are bombarding consumers with messaging about the holidays, jockeying for attention and trying to stand out from the crowd.
If you’re looking for a way to both appeal to potential consumers and prioritize first-party data collection, there’s nothing more compelling than interactive content.
Because of changing data privacy regulations and consumer attitudes toward marketing data, it’s harder than it once was to collect first-party data across touchpoints and channels. Consumers aren’t as easily convinced to hand over their information unless they feel it’s necessary or worthwhile. Interactive marketing bridges the gap between your business’s need to collect data and your customer’s desire for a great experience.
But there’s one rule you should never break when it comes to interactive content: don’t waste the consumer’s time with bad, low effort content or bait-and-switch tactics.
Whatever your brand has promised in exchange for that information, from a quiz result to a promotional offer, should be delivered immediately and it should match what you promised at the beginning. If your customers feel like they’re being taken advantage of or conned in any way, it’s extremely alienating and could have long-term negative consequences for your business.
But enough about what you shouldn’t do. Let’s look at how you can make this strategy work for you over the holidays.
Interactive content is a great opportunity to build a sense of community when consumers need it most
Interactive content is defined by one thing: engagement. So it should come as no surprise that it is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to cultivating loyalty. Engagement keeps your brand top-of-mind for your consumers (even when they’re scrambling to find the perfect gift) and, if they feel they’re getting value and enjoying the experience, they’re more likely to tell others about the experience.
Those unique benefits mean interactive content can be used to boost conversions, increase quality leads, evolve your brand, introduce new products, and inform future campaigns.
This is even more important during the holiday season when consumers are faced with an overwhelming amount of marketing pointing in their direction. But they’re also primed to explore new products and make purchases. By capturing their attention with engaging and immersive content, consumers will want to stay connected with your brand through the holidays and beyond.
Cultivating this sense of community and camaraderie opens up the opportunity to build on a great experience, transforming consumers to happy customers to eventual evangelists of your product or service. That being said, timing is imperative when it comes to grabbing their attention — too late or too early to the party and you risk getting lost in the noise.
Timing is key when it comes to deploying interactive holiday content for maximum engagement
(Almost) no one wants to interact with an advent calendar in the middle of September, so it wouldn’t make sense to deploy one as part of a holiday campaign too early. The same thing goes for deploying a campaign too late, like implementing an interactive gift guide on December 24. Getting the timing right is what stands between you and an interactive content campaign that falls flat.
The holiday season is prime time when it comes to capturing consumers’ attention. Shopping intent is extremely high, and they are interested in exploring new products as potential gifts, which opens the door to new potential experiences farther up the funnel.
Since consumers have an end goal in mind (the perfect gift, the right Christmas card, a great holiday party), they’re more than willing to interact with fun and interesting content that helps them reach that goal.
You need to create a fair exchange of value to earn their information. Understand how their goals align with your business objectives and explore creative ways to provide support, information, guidance, and more. A great interactive concept should capture their attention and make it worth their while to give you information while providing a more personalized experience with your brand.
But not all interactive content is created equal and using the wrong kind, especially during the holidays, is the last thing you want to do. So what’s your plan?
Be bold with your marketing this holiday season: it’s what the consumer wants
Have you ever taken a quiz to figure out something about yourself? Whether that was the right shade of makeup for your face or your Harry Potter house, you’ve already enjoyed the benefits of interactive content. If you took the quiz more than once to see all the different outcomes, then you know just how engaging the content can be.
As consumers continue to grow savvier about how they interact with ads and marketing in general, they’re looking for unique opportunities to interact with brands that provide something above and beyond. Interactive content is the chance to help them feel like they’re part of the brand community.
Great examples of the kinds of interactive content you can deploy to make the consumer feel it’s a happy holiday include:
- Digital Advent Calendars: an advent calendar requires the consumer to come back daily and interact with your brand. This can offer anything from promotions like coupons or sales discounts to free items or services.
- Holiday Flipbooks: showcase your products or services in a way that’s both nostalgic, bringing to mind traditional holiday catalogs, and dynamic, convincing consumers to browse your offerings and offering personalized recommendations
- Personalized gift guide quizzes: help connect your potential customers with interesting and unique gifts for particular people in their lives, from dads to partners to kids.
- E-Cards: let your consumers know how much they mean to you by allowing them to personalize their own e-cards to send to friends and family.
You want your consumer to enjoy their experience, not feel like it’s an added step hindering them from completing the consumer journey. Collecting data in a way that feels beneficial to the consumer is key, and the holiday season is a great time to use interactive content as a means to help customers surmount particular challenges or meet specific needs because they’re more open to brand interactions.
First-party data collection is crucial but can feel like a trap to consumers
If you aren’t already investing in a first-party data strategy, you need to make up for lost time, starting right now. Luckily enough, Q4 is the perfect time to start or ramp up data collection.
Distrust of marketing and digital platforms on the consumer side have joined with changing data privacy restrictions to make this a perfect storm for marketers. Many brands are responding by upping the ante on data collection at the very bottom of the funnel, at the purchase point.
That’s important (and necessary) but not sufficient. By offering personalized experiences for consumers earlier in the customer journey, you have a better chance of collecting more unique first-party data. This allows you to understand your target audiences, identify untapped markets, and further segment and personalize cross-channel remarketing efforts.
Get the full guide to holiday marketing 2021 and find out what you need to do to win new customers in Q4 this year.