Navigating the Post-Holiday Season: Gift Returns, Customer Debt, & Gift Cards
Posted on February 3, 2023
The holiday season doesn’t end on Christmas Day—or even at the end of December. The ripple effects of the holidays can be felt well into the New Year.
Some of those effects are negative, such as gift returns and holiday-accumulated consumer debt. And some of them are positive, such as increased gift card balances.
Let’s talk about ways to reduce the negative impacts and boost the positive impacts through smart marketing and other strategies.
5 Takeaways from Signing Up for Marketing Emails from 100 Brands
Posted on February 1, 2023
I recently signed up to receive promotional emails from 100 B2C brands that span the retail, travel, consumer products, and media industries. I noticed five major areas of opportunity for brands to improve their signup processes:
- Signup forms are often hard to find
- Too many brands ask for phone numbers
- Exactly what you’re signing up for is sometimes unclear or misleading
- Some confirmation and preference pages are dead ends
- Double opt-in confirmation is increasingly used
For a full discussion of each of those…
Continued Marketing Investments More Vital Now than during Past Downturns
Posted on January 30, 2023
When times get tough, brands rely even more on their marketing efforts. That’s because, as everyone knows, it’s far easier to generate sales from existing customers than to acquire new ones. As we head into an expected downcycle with reduced advertising spending, companies will need to mitigate the contraction in sales through increased marketing efforts.
But that’s not the only reason to accelerate your marketing spend during this particular downturn. Here are four others…
Uplers: 2023 Email Marketing Predictions from 23 Experts
Posted on January 26, 2023
I join 22 other email experts in sharing my predictions for 2023. My predictions focus on customer data platforms (CDPs) and on Brand Indicators For Message Identification (BIMI). While I encourage you to click through and see what I say about those two promising technologies, I also encourage you to read the other predictions.
In particular, I urge you to check out those from…
- Jordie van Rijn, who talks about prompt craft and how email marketers will take on other similar channels like SMS and mobile push
- Kath Pay, who predicts a stronger focus on automation, including A/B testing it, which powerful and yet very underutilized
- Shmuel Herschberg, who says marketers will make greater use of replies, which are potent engagement signals that most programs not only ignore, but actively discourage
- Darrell Alfonso, who predicts that email platforms will improve their integration with other suites and that long-form emails will grow
- Mrugesh Dabhi, who says marketers will focus more on storytelling, user-generated content, and optimizing their unsubscribe processes for better retention
Webbula: Based on Past Economic Downturns, How Should Marketers Approach This One?
Posted on January 24, 2023
I join 11 other email experts in this Webbula roundup as we answer the question: How have your prior encounters enriched and modified your marketing approaches to prepare for an economic downturn?
My answer focuses on my observations from the 2008-09 recession. Based on that, I recommend that brands consider:
- Upping their discounting
- Lean more on their private label products
- Focus on messaging around value, versatility, and durability
- Messaging in the vein of buy one, get two or more items
I also point out that many of your customers won’t be feeling the downturn in a significant way. For those loyal, high-spend customers—particularly those that tend to buy full-price items—use personalization and segmentation to avoid sending them discounts and other recessionary messaging.
To watch my full answer, as well as the advice of the other experts…
How to Fill Your Digital Marketing Content Calendar in 8 Steps
Posted on January 19, 2023
A blank content calendar can be daunting. Here’s the 8-step approach that Oracle Marketing Consulting’s Creative Services team uses to build out content plans with our clients.
Let’s start with major events that typically involve campaigns that last weeks or even months. These are our tentpole campaigns around which we build our content calendar.
First Quarter 2023 Holiday Marketing Quarterly
Posted on January 17, 2023
The holiday season doesn’t have an off-season. Having a successful holiday season means executing a successful four-quarter strategy. Oracle Marketing Consulting’s Holiday Marketing Quarterly gives you a quarter-by-quarter plan for how to achieve more during the critical holiday season with your digital marketing efforts.
The first quarter is focused on seizing opportunities, mitigating risks, learning from the just-passed holiday season, and starting to make the larger structural and programmatic changes necessary to succeed in the new year and during the next holiday season. In this Holiday Marketing Quarterly, we’ll cover:
- Holiday Post-Mortems
- Seasonal Buyer Reactivations
- Email Deliverability Recoveries
- Automated Email Optimization & Growth
- Creative Refreshes
- Upgrades & Expansions of Your Tech Stack
For the full checklist…
>> Get the Holiday Marketing Quarterly for free via a no-form download
The Newest Automation Trigger: Internet-Connected Devices
Posted on January 13, 2023
Automated messages can be triggered by a vast range of behaviors and events. In our Oracle Consulting Checklist of Automated Campaign Ideas to Explore (free, no-form download), we identify more than 110 triggered campaigns—and that’s independent from the channel you’d use for your message, any segmentation you’d do, and how you’d treat your automations differently across your lines of business.
We organize this incredible variety of triggers into four groups based on whether they’re triggered by…
- An action taken by the subscriber or customer or by the brand
- Inaction over a period of time by the subscriber or customer
- A date that’s important to the individual subscriber or customer
- A signal from an internet-connected device owned by the customer or user
Chances are you’re familiar with those first three trigger types, but that last bucket is the newest and least developed. However, these machine-triggered messages have a lot of potential, especially as more and more products become connected to the internet.
Visual Branding in Email Marketing: 7 Elements to Optimize
Posted on January 11, 2023
Wherever your customer is, in whatever channel they’re engaging with your brand, you want that experience to feel consistent and unified. Visual branding is the critical first step in creating that feel, as consumers will immediately perceive major disconnects. In your email marketing program, visual branding is important for two strategic reasons.
First, you want your emails to look consistent with your brand and therefore immediately feel legitimate, so your customers and subscribers are confident that your emails are definitely coming from your brand. If you don’t achieve that, then subscribers may become concerned that the email is spoofed or otherwise feel unsafe about engaging with the email. That can lead to disengagement and spam complaints.
And second, you want the transition from the email to landing page to be comfortable and as seamless as possible, as if they’re part of the same experience. This provides assurances that they’ve indeed arrived at your website and that it’s safe to proceed. It also simplifies the user experience if icons, menu buttons, and other elements are consistent in appearance and placement.
However, with all of that said, the visual branding of your emails doesn’t need to be exactly the same as your website’s. It only needs to be harmonious. That’s a good thing because the email channel has some limitations that force brands to make compromises.
Let’s look at seven aspects of visual branding in email marketing and what the best practices are…
The Last Word on December 2022
Posted on January 9, 2023
A roundup of email marketing articles, posts, and tweets you might have missed last month…
Must-read articles, posts & reports
Black Friday Email Breakdown: What Happened and What it Means for Senders in 2023 (Validity)
Email Marketers Seek New Standards for Authentication (AdWeek)
Privacy Scofflaws: Few Firms Are Complying With CCPA And GDPR (MediaPost)
The Biggest Obstacles to Succeeding With Data-Driven B2B Marketing (MarketingProfs)
8 Email Marketing Trends For 2023 (iPost)
Announcing: 2022 Litmus Email Excellence Award Winners (Litmus)
Insightful & entertaining tweets
— Kent McGovern (@KentMcGovern) December 13, 2022
I created https://t.co/J9mRpvsqRG that has a big list of the words that trigger your emails to go into the junk folder/have deliverability issues. #EmailMarketing #EmailGeeks – sources listed.
— EmailJay (@emailjay_) December 1, 2022
Look what you made me do!
Are you ready for it?
Don’t blame me.
We bring you email subject lines written by Taylor Swift.
Comment your favorite one. #emailgeeks pic.twitter.com/EOLOI5LC3z
— Aquibur | Mailmodo (@AR_Bits) December 5, 2022
🤯 I think @pompeii79 might have some real competition here #emailgeeks pic.twitter.com/SeELLN41WJ
— Cosmin Popovici (@cossssmin) December 6, 2022
Who can relate? 😂#emailgeeks #marketingtwitter #emailmarketing pic.twitter.com/KkXDGkrNlt
— Jimmy | Redhead Marketing Group (@JimmyTheRedhead) December 7, 2022
— Julio Medina (@JulioMedina) December 13, 2022
Noteworthy subject lines
Neiman Marcus, 12/22 – What will you wear this NYE?
Belk, 12/31 – Staying in for the ball drop? 🎊 Get cozy with 55% off sleepwear
Office Depot, 12/10 – 2023 Calendars & Planners starting at $5
Nordstrom Rack, 12/11 – Party styles up to 60% off
Williams Sonoma, 12/31 – Ring in the new year with festive cocktails & more
Nordstrom, 12/9 – Your mic drop moment is here
Fandango, 12/7 – Your 2022 At The Movies
Petco Love, 12/14 – Discover Your Impact in 2022 🐶🐱
Bass Pro Shops, 12/6 – Food Processing Holiday Wishlist
MoMA Design Store, 12/6 – Our Art Director’s Gift Picks (Plus, 20% Off)
Express, 12/10 – Holiday must-haves c/o style icon Rocky Barnes
Everlane, 12/10 – Consciously Curated by Lorenzo Posocco
Burlington, 12/7 – 🚨Tons under $10🚨
Nordstrom, 12/8 – Gifts for every budget 🙌
Uncommon Goods, 12/11 – Two weeks. 14 days. 42 Xmas cookies.
Target, 12/20 – Last-minute video games deals 🎮
YETI, 12/20 – Check Yourself Off Your List
Crate & Barrel, 12/6 – In-stock guest-ready essentials →
Crate & Barrel, 12/13 – 6 tips for hosting a stress-free holiday.
Wegmans, 12/5 – We have Holiday Entertaining Covered
West Elm, 12/4 – The secret to an uncluttered living room
Williams Sonoma, 12/14 – It’s cookie season! Get inspired with our recipe collection from Joy the Baker
JCPenney, 12/17 – Super Saturday Sale 🎄 Up to 50% Off
The Container Store, 12/16 – STARTS NOW: 15% OFF Pickup Orders
Redbubble, 12/21 – Cutting it close? It’s gift card time.
Moosejaw, 12/23 – Level up your last-minute gifting with an eGift Card.
DICK’S Sporting Goods, 12/24 – Order by 2PM for same-day delivery or 4PM for curbside or in-store pickup! ⏰
Uncommon Goods, 12/24 – No wrapping (or shipping!!) required
Applebee’s Grill & Bar, 12/14 – Open until 7pm on Christmas Eve 🎄
Sears, 12/25 – No PS5 Under the Tree? They’re in-stock and ship for free…
Neiman Marcus, 12/26 – 75% off in sale: Did Santa miss something?
West Elm Design Studio, 12/29 – Got lots of great gifts? Let’s figure out how to put them away!
Crate & Barrel, 12/7 – Everything for a beautiful Hanukkah →
Gap Email Exclusive, 12/4 – R.S.Velvet.P.
Gap, 12/22 – SNUGGLE GAME STRONG
Quiksilver, 12/14 – New: QUIK X STAB. We like to surf.
Eddie Bauer, 12/17 – The Forecast Calls For POWDER! ⛷️🏂
Michaels, 12/5 – Kids Club Winter Workshop is here! ❄️ Sign Up for 12 FREE creative classes.
Columbia Sportswear, 12/20 – They’ll never outgrow snow days.
Princess Cruises, 12/20 – Hey Massachusetts, get exclusive fares to sunny destinations!
New posts on EmailMarketingRules.com
Happy Holidays from My Family to Yours!
Picking the Right Sender Name: Brand or Person?
Halon: Email Trend Report 2023
Imagining an Amazon Email Client: Prime Mail
4 Ways to Maximize Double Opt-In Confirmations
4 Major Factors Impacting Email Marketing Performance This Holiday Season