Your Holiday 2020 Prep Guide
It’s very difficult to anticipate what’s going to happen this holiday season, because how could we compare the end of this year to any other year after all that has happened in 2020? If people aren’t out shopping during the usual hustle and bustle, companies will have to adapt to do more with less and continue improving the adaptations we’ve made during the crisis. On the other hand, if the economy has partially or fully reopened, there could be an increase in spending and alarm companies could benefit from this as people look for gifts and stores prep for the holiday rush.
The most conservative way to prepare would be to focus on doing more with less – just in case the former scenario is true rather than the latter. So, how can companies prepare for the trends that usually surround the holiday season while also being savvy with their spending?
There are trends in web search data and anecdotal evidence that suggest demand for smart home devices sees a spike around the holidays. One integrator I interviewed said that his company typically sees demand for camera doorbells and other DIY-oriented products around the holidays, likely due to their popularity as gifts or as an easy way to deter package pirates. On the commercial side, since the beginning of the pandemic, many integrators have seen a sustained demand for commercial systems, whether they be video systems or temperature checking. This could be because many stores are closed and want to protect their assets while workers aren’t present, or it could be a reaction to civil unrest.
With the possibility of increased demand, there of course comes the possibility for competition. We’re seeing now that the V-shaped recovery is not happening yet, and realistically the economy must be expected to make a gradual recovery, regardless of how quickly businesses fully reopen and employment numbers rise. To be on the safe side, businesses must be prepared to hone their focus on what will provide the most results.
Marketing will play a big role in the end of the year, as it usually does around the holidays. Good marketing will require businesses understanding their customers at a deeper level. This will not be business as usual. It will require intentional conversations, studying, and reevaluating what the company offers and what customers really want right now.
According to Kirk MacDowell, president of MacGuard Security Advisors, sending out a five-question, five-minute survey to your company’s existing customer base will point you in the right direction.
“This type of survey fairly quickly fills the gaps in a dealer’s current offering,” says MacDowell. “I have found that although dealers may offer additional products and services, their customers aren’t aware of their offerings. Many times, a quick questionnaire asking for the consumers’ opinion is better than advertising which may not be read.”
There are a few key questions to answer before you market for Q4 2020. What can consumers and businesses afford this year? What are they worried about? What can your business offer now to meet those needs and still turn a profit? Can your company afford higher acquisition costs now and recoup the losses later, or should you focus on upselling current customers?
After you know what customers you need to target, you can choose your channels for communicating. With a smaller budget, certain channels are going to be more appealing than others. What’s most important is to meet your customers where they are.
Your superpower will be knowing your customers and knowing what they want. By sending the right message at the right time, you’ll already be ahead of the pack. With many people spending more time at home, digital channels might risk oversaturation as bigger brands attempt to reach people through digital advertising and email channels. This means it’s even more important to concisely and clearly communicate what problem you’re solving for your customers this holiday season.
For local companies, it might make sense to do a mailout. The physical presence could stand out from the crowd of marketing messages and serve as a tangible reminder that your company is close to home. Highlighting your unique approach as a local company could be helpful in any channel.
Whichever channels you choose, what you say and how you say it will be crucial. Staying in line with your brand’s values and remembering your unique offering will help guide these communications.
According to MacDowell, “potential customers should view you as the expert in all things security, video, access and IoT.” He suggests placing short, five-minute videos on your website and to past clients who have pending purchases but haven’t followed through.
“It is all about continued communication, consultative selling and being of service to others,” says MacDowell.
While communicating with customers is top of mind, it’s also important to remember your coworkers and employees. They will be the ones working with you through this. After a hard year, the holidays will be especially important to a lot of people, so finding a way to acknowledge your employees and even make the season feel special might go a long way.
Many people are facing burnout because their routines have been disrupted, their children’s routines might be different for school this year and many of the activities they once enjoyed as stress relief might not be an option right now due to restrictions and closings. The same is true whether you’re a business owner, a freelancer, an employee or unemployed. Everyone’s having a rough year.
Putting your employees first sets your company apart and shows your employees that you stand with them. Many people find security and stability in their job. As one of the few things with a relative level of certainty in 2020, employees are likely to put a lot of importance on their job and might worry about their performance or how the company is performing during the pandemic.
Communication early and often will be a boon to morale, as it shows your employees that you are concerned with their wellbeing. This is beyond just the paycheck for some people. The sense of community at work could be one of the primary interactions they are having, because after–hours activities are limited in many areas.
It’s important to show your employees why their work matters to help keep the goal in sight and provide a sense of purpose associated with the day to day tasks they’ll be juggling with competing priorities and uncertainties as the holidays approach.
Your superpower will be knowing your customers and knowing what they want.
Wrapping it Up
Keeping people a priority is what I believe to be the key to succeeding during the holiday season this year. Your customers and employees have a whole new set of thoughts occupying their minds this year, and understanding how to address these thoughts and provide solutions through your business could make you and your employees feel like holiday heroes.