Think Tank: Five Steps to Win on Relevance, Not Just Price, This Holiday Season

Authored by Tamara Gruzbarg

Every brand can compete on price during the holidays—but at what cost?

In a new article published in WWD’s Think Tank, Tamara Gruzbarg, ActionIQ’s head of industry insights, argues that brands have a much more profitable route open to them—to compete by delivering radically relevant offers, instead of rock-bottom pricing.

To do so, you have to reach consumers with the right message, at the right price, at the right time, in the right channel.

“That is only possible when you can detect all signals they are sending you, from historical purchase data to real-time browsing—and use that information to create offers they are eager to follow up on,” writes Gruzbarg.

Here is Gruzbarg’s five-step plan for competing on relevance, not price:

  1. Identify gift-givers and their behaviors. Consumer behavior tends to change radically during the holidays, due to once-a-year gift-giving. By understanding which customers bought gifts in the past, you have critical information for crafting relevant messaging this year — e.g., purchase time and date, price point, channel, promotional information, product category, etc.
  2. Craft personalized offers. With that information in hand, Gruzbarg suggests using AI-driven findings that can help you to optimize messages with product suggestions, price sensitivity, and promotions optimization.
  3. Deliver messages via the optimal channel, at the optimal time. There is no point reaching out to last-minute shoppers who have not begun to think about gift purchases, or sending messages to customers after their holiday shopping is complete. That is why brands need cross-channel campaign orchestration and channel optimization, which “automatically determines the best channel and timing,” says Gruzbarg.
  4. Deliver differentiated, invitation-only experiences.  From time-limited, in-store discounts to elite champagne receptions, invitation-only experiences provide great cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. “Use deep, granular information to personalize these experiences, inviting the right people to participate in the right experiences,” says Gruzbarg.
  5. Look for gift-giving look-alikes. Identify a trait or set of traits shared among your best holiday shoppers—and look for other consumers who share these traits, too, using AI-driven lookalike models. Gruzbarg also recommends testing different creative messaging across this diverse group, so you can then create even more targeted segments.

Read the full article at WWD.

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