Trending Now: The 50+ Best Holiday Campaigns of 2021
Tim Glomb: Welcome to Thinking Caps. In this special edition, I break down the 2021 holiday trends across a timeline. You're going to love this if you're in retail, CBG, or sell to anybody in the holiday season. Let's dig in. Number one, starting in the middle of 2021, we saw Christmas in July email campaigns. Here's a few. We all know what that's about. Great way to just engage your audience, half year, get them thinking about the holidays. When the holidays did come around, we saw first looks. This is a great trend. Giving people early access to exclusivity or content, giving them heads up. Williams- Sonoma, a great Cheetah Digital client here getting you ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday with their Thanksgiving headquarters email there. I've got four standout campaigns I want to show you before we go to our entire timeline. Number one was a mobile app call out. American Eagle basically wanted more traction and data from their app so they sent an email. It said," Take 20% off if you use our app." Gave you a coupon code. It's a great way to get people into that app where you're probably getting a lot of insight, zero party data, behavioral data, et cetera. Another great campaign, Aeropostale, Cheetah Digital customer. Buy online, pickup in- store. Their target audience is basically millennials and Gen Zs, so they love instant gratification. It's great to buy online. They made the email really simple. Say order, check your notifications, go get it. Instant gratification of picking up in store. We also saw polls. Minted, who prints holiday cards and cards all year, had a subject line," Which holiday greeting cards should we sell?" Ending with a question mark. That's great. That's engagement. That means you want their information. You want them to participate and they had a vote now call to action in that email where they took a quiz there. The last standout campaign is from The Buckle. This is interesting. They went to their consumer database and tried to hire. With COVID and unemployment rates skyrocketing in some parts of North America, it's a great way to go to your audience and try and find that personnel, especially they're engaging with millennials, maybe those millennials are out of work. Okay. Let's look at trends of the entire holiday season by week. You're going to see this toolbar at the top in the first week of October. This is the trend that we saw, early holiday deals. Hopefully not a turn off for most consumers. It's pretty early, but you'll see here, Williams- Sonoma in October, getting ahead of Thanksgiving with their holiday cutlery guide. Again, a resource. Be a discovery resource. Give people information, make their life easier. We saw that as early as October this year. Fall sales. October is the land of fall, so we saw a lot of false sales, discounts, et cetera, getting ahead at fall shopping season. In the second week of October, we saw an interesting trend, messages from CEOs. Maybe you had supply chain issues. Maybe you were trying to get people to buy early because you need to get that product off the shelf and you need to let them know there might be delays if they wait to buy. We saw that from several brands, including here, Perry Ellis and Coach, and this one ending from the CEO, warm wishes. Really great to build that relationship marketing from the top down. Gift guides and holiday previews. We saw a slew of these start to roll out in the middle of October. Here's some right here. We know what a gift guide is. Black Friday, Best Buy here telling you, hey, prices are guaranteed. Build that confidence. Let them know if they buy from you. Get those deals before they're gone and you're going to get the best price. Rounding out our gift guides, we saw TJ Maxx, Carter's. Home goods, a bunch of others in here, some with discounts. Moving on from our holiday gift guides, Pumpkin Day. I didn't even know this was a thing. A few brands got around Pumpkin Day, which was there late in October. Great to see a new trend. Always use those holidays, if you can, to engage. Black Friday, boom. Black Friday sneak peaks, we saw a month early. In the last week of October, starting to see brands go out there and warn consumers about Black Friday deals and even make some offerings early. Hanukah. Can't ignore that holiday, right? It's important to a lot of us. Hanukah was out there. We saw that in November. More Black Friday sales. We started to see that trend really start to lift in middle of November, getting ready for those. A lot of email campaigns going out about Black Friday. Thanksgiving greetings. This is really nice. You're not always just trying to sell something. Sometimes let your audience know you're just happy they are your audience. We saw some really good email campaigns just thanking people for being who they were. Friendsgiving. A lot of people couldn't travel this year, whether it was COVID or other reasons. Maybe they were getting together locally with people that they knew in their own little bubble. We saw some friends giving messaging happening there across email and SMS. Black Friday, boom. We saw this in the third week of November. It's expected. We saw big deals. That rolled right into Cyber Monday right after Thanksgiving. Again, big deals, discounts, et cetera. Then we start to see bit of friends and family come up. Start using those keywords to start thinking about that holiday gift giving season of Christmas coming. Then even in early December, we saw that Christmas tree theme. Saw a lot of holly, a lot of Christmas trees, a lot of that Christmas popping. We had another trend we saw this holiday season, kind of happened all through the season, but we wanted to note great animation. You see some of this animation moving here, some really cool creatives, things that were happening. Really love a lot of this creative that's happening on this animation trend. Thought that was really, really cool. Moving to our next slide, 12 days of deals. This is a great way to get 12 email or SMS campaigns out to your audience. You basically tell them this is part of a 12 day of deals. That way, you've gotten kind of a get out of jail free card and you're not spamming them, you're actually enhancing their life with multiple campaigns. Otherwise, they might unsubscribe, so great way to use those 12 days of engagement. Flash sales. Seen this growing over recent years. Really quick countdown clocks, only today, the next two days, et cetera, six hour secret sale. Flash sales are really impactful. Free shipping day. This is now, I guess, a holiday. Consumers, we're given the message, hey, if you buy today or buy by this day, you're going to get free shipping. Great incentive. Green Monday. We also see this growing. Maybe some brands are giving back to the planet or the ecosystem, but you see brands jumping on that Green Monday mentality there. Then shipping deadlines. You had to let your customers know when was the cutoff? Maybe you had supply chain issues. Maybe you were worried about shipping from UPS, FedEx, et cetera. It's always good to let people know when you think your cutoffs are from your supply chain and your delivery chain. Then in late December, we saw just nice Christmas greetings. Like the holiday Thanksgivings greetings, sometimes it's just nice to say Merry Christmas. You don't have to sell something to them every time you send an email, SMS or in- app notification. Lastly on our timeline here for trends, we saw New Year's Day. People kicking things off. It's a new year. We saw some flash sales. We saw some discounts, et cetera. Now I want to go into some marketing tactics that our Cheetah Digital strategic services team who puts this together, some things that they saw. Here are just a couple of highlights as we round this out. Number one, sweepstakes. We love sweepstakes and holiday gift giveaways here at Cheetah Digital. Our Cheetah experiences platform is great at getting polls, sweepstakes and other zero party data in office, out in market for you and Mint did this. They teamed up to give away a bunch of prizes around the holiday. Ease of shopping. Sometimes we forget to tell people how easy you make it the shop with us, right? You'll see this creative by Eddie Bauer. They basically show very simply in an email. It's one, two, three, four, five. It's really simple. Those visuals were really a confidence booster, great tactic to let people know how easy you've made it on them. Deal of the day. This is a great one. You can send an email. You send an SMS and get instant results. You don't have to worry about that, staying open for two weeks or so, or muddling your other general marketing campaigns. Gift cards. If you can, they are a hot trend. They've always been increasing year over year in importance. You don't need a box under the tree. You can send a gift card. We saw that trend. Lastly, we saw don't Dunkin Donuts with a great year end review. At the end of the year, they sent out a cool social media montage video, showed all the best times of 2021. We know that there's a lot of bad times that happened, so it was really nice to have a personalization in here. They put in the recipients name into the email and sent that little video, which is really cool. There you go. Every week, our strategic services team scours the web for the best of the marketing campaigns. You should be subscribing to this, Thinking Caps. It's our podcast. You can find it on Apple. You can find it on the Cheetah Digital LinkedIn page. You can always go to cheetahdigital. com. Usually, I have a co- host, Richard Jones, our CMO, but I wanted to get this trending now out because it's hot off the presses and trying to be safe from home. I hope you're safe out there. It's a new year. Let's kick ass in the marketing world. See you next time.
In this "Trending Now" edition, we break down the best holiday email, sms and in-app marketing campaigns of 2021. We have over 50 examples of how brands got creative to drive sales. We also break down when these holiday trends launched over 3 months leading up to the end of the year. Enjoy.