Holiday Marketing 2015

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Now if you came to this thread thinking I'm giving away coupons or posting some promotions so you waste money on shit you don't need, I feel sad face for you - you're in the wrong mindset. You're in the consumer mindset, instead of the marketer.

During the holidays I like watching brands market, and like recording the frequency of their marketing. I'm making this thread to monitor and talk about the various marketing campaigns that "somehow" get to my inbox and campaigns I see around the internet. Please, no beta fucking comments about how you don't want to work too hard in life, I mean, give me a fucking break with that peasant thinking already. Go THAT A WAYYY with that nonsense, it will not be tolerated. -> Seasame Street

Now if you are a bad marketer, the best way to get better is to watch your competitors, watch the big boys, then mimic their actions, and eventually make them your own once you are in the flow. So sit back, and let's do this...

First Up Amazon. November 1st, 2:13AM (recall today was daylight savings so we rolled clocks back an hour). These guys are already at it with "Countdown to Black Friday Deals Week". A whole week of deals on the week of black friday, fucking genius idea mang:


That kid knows what time it is... It's time to get this money. Did YOU push out an email blast at 2am this morning? No - can you start figuring out why Amazon is such a beast at this online marketing stuff yet?

Now I think that it "may" burn out some of these shoppers, but nah, the first one out the gate is going to be the winner. These guys are literally EXTENDING the holiday shopping from black friday, to the 5 days before. I mean, that's just wow.

"It's never too early for a good deal"

^^ Holy shit, you SEE what they just did? They're good, really really good, like great good. They know some people are like, man this might be too early, but they have that phrase, so now I'm like "alright, they got my defenses down" - if I was a consumer. That one sentence is so beautiful it hits the point elegantly. I'm going to steal that line for one of my promotions.

Amazon didn't magically become the biggest online retailer, this takes skills. They've got more analytic data on their audience versus anyone else in the industry. They a/b split test, like mad.

Amazon employees don't fuck around. Check out this piece by NYTimes on their Employees and their workplace: Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace

You think this is a fucking game to Bezo?

The company is conducting an experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers to get them to achieve its ever-expanding ambitions.

Bezo's team members are complete beasts.

They are told to forget the "poor habits" they learned at previous jobs, one employee recalled. When they "hit the wall" from the unrelenting pace, there is only one solution: "Climb the wall," others reported.

At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are "unreasonably high." The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others. (The tool offers sample texts, including this: "I felt concerned about his inflexibility and openly complaining about minor tasks.")

These people are at the top of their game, and push themselves so much they have to burn out, but that time when they were burning, shit mang. You clowns want to take weekends off and play with your kids and can't figure out why your rinky-dink project isn't taking off on it's own, cause you don't have fire, and your project doesn't have a spark. You're probably waiting for Google to give you that spark... mang you're in trouble.

"I was so addicted to wanting to be successful there. For those of us who went to work there, it was like a drug that we could get self-worth from." - Dina Vaccari

"The joke in the office was that when it came to work/life balance, work came first, life came second, and trying to find the balance came last." Jason Merkoski

^^ these are the beasts you are going up against when going head to head for the holiday seasons. These people send out Black Friday reminders on Nov 1st, 2015. They WILL make the biggest killing this holiday - PERIOD.

The employees who stream from the Amazon exits are highly desirable because of their work ethic, local recruiters say. In recent years, companies like Facebook have opened large Seattle offices, and they benefit from the Amazon outflow.

^^ Companies recruit Amazonians cause of their work ethic and training... They're beasts and at the top of their game, and you want to go up against them? You might have to put in some serious work, cause they don't fuck around and the HOLIDAYS is what THEY DO.

You guys need to understand the holidays are Amazon's Superbowl, these dudes are in the zone right now. If this was a military operation this is them deploying assets to surround the enemy. You guys really need to understand this is how YOU need to approach your marketing campaigns.

You need to be as aggressive as the big boys if not more. "What about if people don't like me?" Fuck them, they never liked you - but you are here to sell your product/service and get revenue, so when it's GO time, it's fucking Go time. Problem is most of you people are thinking about what to buy instead of learning how to do proper marketing. Don't worry though, the big boys, the mega brands, will show you kids how it's done.
 

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Best Buy's trying an interesting angle. First they've got Free Shipping all season long, which is plastered everywhere on their site. But now they are attempting to lure people in EXTRA early - as in November 7th - THIS fucking saturday into physical locations.



This is an interest angle since having the goods in your hands makes you more willing to buy the product versus over the internet where there is no touch. So by getting customers to realize early on they can buy products and get them immediately it'll give them, Best Buy, a chance this holiday season. Amazon obviously is still going to kill it, but Best Buy is one of the brands that survived the transition of consumers to online shopping (Circuit City, Sears, and others not so much).

They've successfully shaved off their imminent demise as consumers transition to 100% internet, but I have a feeling they know their time will come. As shipping dates of arrival get fewer and fewer, and not having to hassle around with going to a physical store, driving, parking, etc - it's almost inevitable.

Take a look at the shopping malls of America. They are dying - I mean people aren't going to malls like they used to - and that's because people are spending more time and MONEY online. A dying breed: The American shopping mall. But the same cannot be said about restaurants though, Americans love to eat.

It was a Golden Age of shopping, which lasted until a new Golden Age came along, courtesy of the Internet.

"All of a sudden, the consumer now has every single retail store throughout the world a key tap away," said Lewis.

Today, malls across the U.S. are dying. No new enclosed mall has been built since 2006, and Lewis predicts fully half of all our malls will close in the next 10 years.

"Why would you get in your car and drive to a mall when you can just reach in your pocket?" asked Strassmann.

Something to think about as you create your holiday marketing campaigns. People are going 100% internet, so that can only be GOOD news to you internet marketers. Looking for mega brand clients? Look for retail stores looking double down on their online presence cause it's all coming to an end folks... Unless you can change the experience like Plaza Fiesta does on the second page of that article.

I'm going to keep an eye on Best Buy for you folks, but I think this angle of getting consumers into physical stores early on was worthy of noting.
 

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Amazon is in fucking beast mode mang. They sent out a newsletter to their affiliates (Amazon Associate program) readying them for the holiday season man. Holy shit, they stated the holiday season is from Nov 2nd, fucking tomorrow till December 26th 2015. Tomorrow is their GO time! This military operation just send out a signal throughout their complete ranks and allies that D-day starts tomorrow morning!

They highlight cooking, baking, crafts and entertainment as the some of the niches to go after. They are telling their affiliate what they need to promote so the affiliate, and therefore Amazon, make the most money. Are you telling your affiliates what they need to promote? Do you even have affiliates? Oh wait your taking Sunday off right? Why am I not surprised...

Amazon doesn't take weekends off... cause they're beasts!

 
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Etsy is getting affiliate bloggers to write articles/promote using them their own blog for the holiday. (Chance to win a feature on Etsy's blog in return)

Nice strategy to get serious traffic + backlinks + awareness. Not to mention, engagement from the affiliates. How much is this costing Etsy? $0.

 

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And as usual Sears is completely fucking up on all levels of the game. I mean this is the fucking SuperBowl and they are showing "Veterans Day" Promotions?! WTF? The problem isn't about Veterans at any level - GO USA. The problem is Sears is showing us the reason it's completely out of touch with anything going on. "Free Shipping Over $49*" - Good job Sears... Look at their fucking homepage:


^^ Veterans day promotion... For Fucking Mattresses? This is the fucking holidays and you are sitting here trying to sell fucking mattresses. Amazon is in Full GO mode, while Sears is in full retard mode eating glue. Check this nonsense out, After I signed up for this nonsense:


^^ Look at this dumbshit... the fuck are "Shop Your Way" reward points. I mean who is the old fucker running this operation? Fucking points? For SEARS? I mean holy shit man this is beyond old school, fucking reward points, and they can't figure out why they are completely losing market share. Maybe they shouldn't be screwing around with trying to sell mattresses and pushing sales for Veterans Day and go into full Holiday mode? I mean Best Buy's coming in with a sale this Saturday, November 7th to get people in their doors for holiday shopping, and Sears is fucking around with mattresses...

We are going to continue to seeing utter failure coming out of Sears and their brand's marketing. Who ever is doing their marketing just needs to give it up and let a younger executives come in and take over cause clearly Sears is out of ideas. fucking mattresses...

Fun Fact: Sears owns brands of Craftsmen, Kenmore, and DieHard. It also founded Discover Card, but the fact that no one wants to help their competitors is the reason Macy's, Target, Best Buy, and others do not accept Discover Card. :wink: Discover eventually spun out into an independent company. Discover has nearly 61 million cardholders and is the 3rd largest credit card brand in the United States.

P.S. I forgot to mention, Sears has the most retarded password requirement in history. My long 30 character password wasn't compatible... these old farts are eating glue mang.
 
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Kmart... I'm not sure if they are on full retard mode or if they don't realize it's the holidays now. First off, they are using the same template as Sears, which is just laziness. But there literally is nothing on their website that showcases to me they know it's GO time:



^^ Does that honestly look like a company that is ready for the holidays cause their site doesn't look any different from right now and some random date in March. Holy shit I just noticed I was logged in, but I never created an account, LOL. They are using the Sears credentials I created a couple of minutes ago and auto logged me into Kmart. I never even been on Kmart's site until today, fucking weak mang. They ARE using the same backend as Sears, so at this point it's just one moronic company I'm dealing with instead of 2 separate brands.

Some of this big brands are so fucking off bases, their marketing is off, their decisions are completely retarded, and they can't figure out why they are constantly losing market share. The problem is when you have bad management and leaders it trickles downward. Those employees at the bottom aren't going to be greeting customers enthusiastically - management doesn't even know it's the holidays, at least their sister company Sears has an idea of what days it is with Veterans Day, but these guys... wow... just utter failure.
 

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Walmart is not fucking around. They'll probably come in #2 - or maybe have a chance to knock Amazon out. Home page is not only on point, but they had a pop-up that asked for my email address right at the beginning, #Boss:



^^ Walmart is leading with fucking electronics and gadgets. Got the big Ipad Mini upfront and center showcasing they are relevant. Shit man, they're on point.



^^ Email signup pop up #Boss. The mega brands know to collect emails - yet you guys are fucking around with fucking tweets and likes... mang you're in trouble.

If Walmart could only get to their audience through Facebook or Twitter they'd be dead in the water. Depending on your "engagement" Facebook might show your post to 2-3% of your fans, WTF. Imagine Walmart only being able to talk to only 3% of their audience cause some clown dictates that's all they can do. Walmart's empire would crumble overnight.

Customers are the life blood of your company. Communicating with customers is critical to all business, yet you don't email market, and would rather tweet or fuck around with Facebook to get to your target audience, WTF? You still can't figure out why your marketing campaigns are pretty weak and shitty? Cause you can't even hit 100% of your audience if you tried cause of all the time you waste on getting Likes and Followers versus getting emails. The money is in the list mang, that's why I'm not fucking around with tweets or Facebook post of the brands, I'm only concerned with marketing that comes directly to me versus me having to go to it.

You can see the difference with the winners and losers of the mega brands. Sears and Kmart completely fucking up their schedule, while Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart are on top of their game and out early with promotions and getting people to recall their brands.
 

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Lands' End - these guys used to be owned by Sears, but spun out recently. But you can still see they are slow to recover their game after being under Sear/Kmarts's retarded management. I mean look at their homepage:



^^ There is still a Halloween ghost on the homepage... enough said. I'm not going to give them too much of a hard time cause I figure they are still recovering their senses after being under Sears and getting drained of their life force for over a decade. Hopefully they'll recover, but who knows.
 

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Sears at it again... I just got my first email from them - "Fill in the blanks" How about "Fill in the Fuck You". Ironically there is only one blank I could fill in, damn dude, these guys are just terrible at marketing. Absolutely nothing about the holidays in this email promotion, just a waste of time for me. these idiots want me to give them my information so they can send me offers for mattresses I suppose:



^^ Why not fucking upselling me on the latest gadgets, electronics, and hot items you got for sale for the holidays? The retarded options are:

1. "Save time/money with free store pickup" (You Fuckers mean I'm going to have to DRIVE to a fucking location? Why the fuck would I use your fucking website then?)

2. "Shop on the go with the Sears App" (I'm surprised you old farts were able to put an App together to be honest. It probably only works for Windows phones)

3. "Use the same login info for sears.com, kmart.com, and shopyourway.com. (Who the fuck cares?)

These idiots missed a great opportunity to talk about their products they are selling to tell me about dumbass shit I don't want, for #1, #2 - fuck I doubt I'll ever use your fucking app so - no thanks. Then #3 - a completely useless detail.

I'm a fucking holiday shopper that signed up for an account - why aren't you trying to sell me on buying your products? Just bad marketing all around. I swear I feel like some of you reading this are completely oblivious to marketing just like Sears is - Get with the program mang.
 

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On the sears eCommerce topic..

I bought my Washer & Dryer from Sears this past month. (Auto enroll for Shop My Way rewards)

To date they've sent me 16 fucking emails! Oct 1 - 31st. Not one had a single sales banner in it. That doesn't even include the order confirmation/etc. (Or the delivery survey, which they never sent lol)

What's funny is they gave me $5 bonus point cash & another $10 bonus cash in rewards.
However, you can't use them with ANY coupon. They sell 3rd party products (At least 50% of their product listings), but you can't redeem the reward points/cash unless it's sold by Sears.com/Kmart.com.

Oh, and top of that. You can't use your bonus point cash at once. You are forced to spend $5 one time, then $10 on your next order. Even though they "gifted" you both to use.

Their social Twitter game is solid though, shocking.. They tweeted me back in 12 hours. Also their HQ phone line goes straight to a human within 60 seconds every time.
 

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TigerDirect is meh, "okay". CircuitCity.com redirects here now, interesting. So on the homepage it looks like they are gearing up for the holidays:



Now here is where they start fucking up. I went to create an account, and holy shit:



^^ Fucking Day time phone number and cell phone field? Look at all these fucking fields mang.

A Nickname field... jesus man. If I saw this I would try Amazon or Best Buy first for the product versus filling out all these fields mang. So far there isn't any promotion about the holidays that I can quickly see. I did get an email from them, and pretty much nada:



^^ So TigerDirect.com is completely screwing up for the holiday season at the moment. Maybe they'll get their act together later on. Looking and feeling this site out, it feels like computer nerds/programmers are running the operation versus marketers. Why are there 50 fields to create a simple account... mang, some of you guys reading probably have 100 fields and then be like:

 

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ThinkGeek is ready to go. They're on point, even have the snow flakes falling in the back ground header of their homepage as well as the footer. They took time and got creative with this:



^^ They've got the holiday center, so people can focus in on shopping specifically for the holidays.



^^ Love the Footer.



^^ Screenshot of the holiday center, got the items on point.

They didn't have 50 fields like TigerDirect - but still have that Nickname field for some reason:



^^ Overall, great job. They are a small niched company, but are going to do great for the holidays IMO. They're going to get their money. I'm going to look out for their promotions and report back.

One thing I will note about ThinkGeek which I have yet to see anywhere else, maybe others do it and I don't notice - they encourage customers to send in photos of them using the products/wearing the clothes, and then post them under the testimonial section for that product. I know buying stuff I've felt that the products with images helped put me in a better buying mood versus generic stock images of an item. They encourage it as sort of a contest. Here is an example:



^^ I may have that R2D2. :smile:
 

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Wow....

While I very much like prepping your affiliates / providing tools, banners, for the holidays NOW (seriously, do it)....

Over here (Germany and Switzerland) people are horribly annoyed when anyone starts Christmas season early.
You'll see supermarkets, shopping centers, etc.. start mid November and people are pissed.

Even amazon.de still has "Autumn" as their main topic right now.

::emp::
 
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Wow....

While I very much like prepping your affiliates / providing tools, banners, for the holidays NOW (seriously, do it)....

Over here (Germany and Switzerland) people are horribly annoyed when anyone starts Christmas season early.
You'll see supermarkets, shopping centers, etc.. start mid November and people are pissed.

Even amazon.de still has "Autumn" as their main topic right now.

::emp::

I think most of the Europe hates it when they start a holiday prematurely. As far as I've traveled everyone, in every country complains that the supermarkets and radios are starting to celebrate a holiday too soon.

I haven't been in America, so I don't have a real experience with their mentality, but @emp don't you think that even though people are complaining about the premature celebration, because of these commercials and holiday offers they still don't end up buying more?
 

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I am sure it drives some sales, but for what price.
It is so hated where I come from, no internet retailer does it.
Here is amazon.de right now



This screenshot still shows great marketing:
A guide for coats, which is timely and useful.

Them NOT doing early holidays also shows a very important quality in marketing:
Cultural awareness

You'll see Christmas stuff end of November.

::emp::
 

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Nothing pisses me off more than filling in ridiculous forms, I just want to spend my money and you're making it difficult

Edit: ThinkGeek's design is fucking awesome, makes me want to go change up my site :D
 
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You'll see Christmas stuff end of November.

Fuck me in scandinavia it starts in early October, and most people gets more and more annoyed as christmas unfolds, but then again every supermarket, radio station and tv channel is also putting wham last christams on repeat.
I wonder if there is a direct correlation between that and the fact that suicied rate increases during chritmas
 
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Here in Holland some people are annoyed by the Christmas items stores start selling from Halloween onward, but just as many people buy the decorations and what not anyways. So, I don't know about other European countries but it's worth a test (data FTW).
 

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Got my first email from Walmart. Nothing about Holiday Shopping in it, just pretty generic about their items. I'm a bit disappointed in their lack of aggression. This might be an automated year round email though, since there is a huge "Welcome" message at the top so we'll see:

 

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Amazon stays showing why they are beasts at this. They sent out another email to their amazon associates (affiliate program), within 24 hours, and are showcasing some of the best toys to promote for the holidays. They literally state their "Holiday Toy List" event starts from October 15 to December 23, damn bros, sinister.

They also tell their affiliates to promote to mom and kids - they know who wastes money on buying dumb shit. They throw in some education items too, but then leap into promoting the best toys from the top movie hits of this year like Jurassic World, Minions, Inside Out and Star Wars - that last movie hasn't even fucking come out yet.

But they know what they are doing, giving great ideas to their affiliates so their brains start flowing with ideas on content creation. That is an example of a great affiliate team that wants to make the most money from their affiliates. I'm going to see if I can sign up for other's affiliate programs, if they even have ones:

 

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Fucking Sears - their fuck up level is over 9000. I went to Sears.com and clicked on the "affiliate program" link in the footer, and got this:



^^ Are these fuckers fucking serious? A 404 error page on their affiliate sign up page? Are they fucking serious? Holy Shit.

I checked out Kmart and it at least has something, but it's a Commission Junction situation so I'm not going to bother wasting time with this (CJ is an awesome program, it's not a shot at CJ). I get the feeling the Kmart/Sears brand is just outsourcing fucking everything in a lazy manner:

 

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Walmart's on point with their affiliate program. I'm a bit wary of signing up for them cause that program has like 1000 fields, but I'm going to do it for the resistance. They've even got a Chrome affiliate extension, and Wordpress plugin for affiliates, fucking smart. In fact they seem to have a full portal to help their affiliate succeed. Something I did with one of my old projects in a case study from WF.

If you are looking to create an affiliate program takes cues from Walmart's efforts and their affiliate portal, they seem to be the most advanced I've seen in a long time, besides my old one. I need to get my SERPWoo game up... Good shit: