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Study: Marketers to start holiday campaigns early

BY Marianne Wilson

Costa Mesa, Calif. – Almost half of holiday marketing campaigns will start before Halloween, according to a survey of 200 marketers by Experian Marketing Services.

In addition, the study shows that the first 15 days of November are the most popular time to launch a holiday-themed campaign.

Other results include:

  • Overall 69% of the marketers stated they started planning holiday campaigns by August.
  • Eighty-three percent of marketers said they plan on running coordinated, cross-channel marketing campaigns during the holiday season, with 55% stating they will be coordinating marketing campaigns across four or more channels.
  • According to the survey results, the top three marketing channels that will be used this holiday season are online display (59%), email (55%) and print (46%). Search (30%) and mobile (24%) are the next top two channels that round out the top five.
  • Free shipping offers ranked as the top promotional tactic that marketers will integrate into their customers’ holiday shopping experience this year. Thirty-nine percent of marketers surveyed will use free shipping, followed by deal of the day offers (28%) and e-coupons (21%).
  • Almost half (49%) of respondents answered that they plan on integrating social sharing tools from their website. Social advertising 45% and product promotions (36%) rounded out the top three.
  • Marketers didn’t rank mobile marketing as a top priority, but many said they will be using mobile tactics during the holiday season.
  • Developing mobile-optimized websites was ranked as the top activity by 43% of respondents, followed by creating mobile-optimized email (37%) and using mobile advertising (31%).
  • Geo-location promotions will be used by 15% of marketers surveyed this season.

“Retailers have been extending the shopping seasons with promotions, post-recession, so it’s not surprising to see that nearly half of all marketers stated the would launch a holiday campaign before Halloween,” said Bill Tancer, GM of global research, Experian Marketing Services. “This year’s Back to School season started in early July as a big promotional month versus last year. Our consumer confidence data shows it as the highest it’s been since the recession, so we expect the early promotion trend to carry over into the holiday season with Black Friday deals being offered even earlier than last year.”

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Bloomberg: Home Depot cutting health benefits for 20,000 part-timers

BY Dan Berthiaume

Atlanta – The Home Depot, Inc. is reportedly going to stop providing health care benefits to part-time employees working less than 30 hours per week. According to Bloomberg, starting next month the retailer will send about 20,000 part-time employees to purchase their own insurance on government-sponsored healthcare exchanges that will be created under the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act.

Home Depot executives are quoted in the Bloomberg article as saying part-time employees will still be offered dental, vision, critical illness, disability and back-up dependent care benefits. The retailer said whether part-time employees wind up paying more or less for heatlh care will depend on what coverage they purchase, but full-time employees will pay more next year due to rising costs.

Trader Joe’s recently announced it will stop providing health benefits to part-time employees as of January 2014, although the retailer is offering them a $500 stipend to help purchase new benefits on the exchanges.

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QVC promotes exec to SVP, IT global services

BY Dan Berthiaume

West Chester, Pa. – QVC has promoted John Cowan to the position of senior VP, information technology global services. Cowan was most recently VP global systems & initiatives.

Since joining in QVC in 1994, Cowan has held positions of increasing responsibility, including VP, business strategy and technology integration, and VP of business technology. He also played a key role in the start-up of QVC in Germany and Japan, and recently assisted QVC Italy in deploying a new systems release in September 2012.

“As QVC continues to grow and evolve globally, it is important that we effectively leverage our resources at the local, regional and global levels," said Linda Dillman, CIO of QVC. "This is particularly true for our technology teams. John’s extraordinary knowledge of both IT and QVC’s global markets, coupled with his strong leadership and relationship-building skills, will be invaluable for our future growth."

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