BDO survey: Retailers using social media as part of holiday blitz

Chicago -- A majority (88%) of retailers are using social media as part of their 2013 holiday marketing blitz. But they still remain divided about mobile marketing, with only 38% using it this year, down from 50% in 2012.

Among the retailers who are incorporating social media into their marketing strategy this holiday season, Facebook (99 %) and Twitter (52%) remain the two most popular platforms. Marketers are also increasingly using Pinterest (27%) and YouTube (24%) to engage customers and drive traffic to their e-commerce platforms. A solid 16% of retailers are leveraging Instagram this year, as well, ranging from apparel brands such as Gap and Patagonia to food retailers like Starbucks.
These findings are from the most recent edition of the BDO Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, which examined the opinions of 100 chief marketing officers at leading retailers located throughout the country. The retailers in the study were among the largest in the country, including 11 retailers in the top 100 based on annual sales revenue.

Additional findings from the report include:

  • Seventy-two percent of chief marketing officers plan to allocate roughly the same amount of funds toward holiday marketing and advertising this year as they did in 2012, Although 20% plan to increase their expenditures, retailers anticipate a 1.0% decline in their advertising budgets overall.
  • A plurality of CMOs (41%) are investing most of their holiday budgets in traditional print ads, which have been a consistently popular medium over the last four years. And CMOs still believe in the power of TV to reach a wide audience: 29% say they will spend the majority of their holiday advertising budget on broadcast.
  • The 38% of retailers who are including mobile in their marketing strategy this year are embracing it are ramping up their efforts. Last year, mobile comprised an average of 5.9% of retailers’ overall marketing budget; this year, that number has jumped to 15%.
  • Nearly nine-in-10 CMOs surveyed say that they find it challenging to integrate and manage the massive amount of data available to them, down only slightly from 93% in 2012.
  • Among the top big data obstacles facing retailers are the ability to use data effectively for marketing efforts (44%) and organizing data and developing metrics (22%). To meet these challenges and capitalize on opportunities, major retailers like Wal-Mart and Apple have adopted new, cutting-edge data mining systems, which help contextualize data over time and make it easier to forecast trends.
  • Daily deals appear to be losing steam, as only one quarter of retailers anticipate using the tactic during the holidays, down from 42% in 2012. Flash sales were the top mobile promotion strategy for a plurality (30%) of retailers last year. This year, only 5% of retailers cite flash sales as their primary mobile tactic. Overall, greater emphasis on text message campaigns (33%) and mobile coupons (28%) point to a shift in mobile strategy. Retailers such as Starbucks, which is once again promoting weekly holiday offers via text, are moving to capitalize on the fact that 98% of text messages are opened and viewed, according to research from SinglePoint.


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