[ Updated Oct 4, 2023 ]
When it comes to marketing, timing is everything. That’s why campaigns that work great during certain times of the year can fail miserably during others. Especially during peak season. So, between Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s, there are plenty of holidays and occasions to plan marketing for.
And with increased marketing comes an increased amount of data and reporting. To find out what marketers and analysts were worried about this peak season when it came to data, we surveyed ecommerce leaders, and they said that data is harder to manage than their own teams.
Keep reading to find out what else they had to say, and read our full findings in the report below.
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- What’s peak season?
- Why is peak season so challenging?
- How you can manage your peak season marketing campaigns
- How you can manage your peak season reporting
What’s peak season?
Peak season is a specific time of year in which businesses and retailers are most likely to experience a significant increase in the volume of business they’re doing. These seasons are often triggered by holidays, cultural events, or other major occasions that bring people together. Fall and winter peak season typically goes from November to early January, and summer peak can go from June to August.
And although they can be a blessing for businesses, peak seasons can also complicate business operations. This is because it can become challenging to keep up with daily work while also managing the increased customer demand.
Since timing is essential for peak season marketing, prep, plan, and automate as much as possible so you’re not left scrambling during the business time of the year.
Why is peak season so challenging?
Peak can be hectic for most businesses. And when it comes to marketing spend and getting the best return on investment, good data insight might be your secret advantage. But although using the data you have in the most efficient way might be hard, if you set up your data tracking well and automate tedious tasks, it can make your peak season fly by.
As we enter one of the most crucial times in the retail calendar, the findings are clear: it’s make or break for many retailers.Mikael Thuneberg, CEO, Supermetrics
The ecommerce leaders we spoke to said that they expect the amount of data they have to increase, although it isn’t really delivering the insights they need. They also said that data is harder to analyze than ever before and that data regulations make it harder to reach customers.
“Most ecommerce leaders are worried about meeting their customers’ expectations”
When it comes to marketing data during peak, the ecommerce leaders we spoke to said they’re not worried about getting enough data. They said their biggest concerns had to do with not having the right insight to meet their customers’ expectations and the impact of inflation on their business.
“Ecommerce leaders struggle with their data analysis toolbox”
However the struggles ecommerce leaders face when it comes to managing and analyzing their marketing data didn’t come down to a single thing. Peak season reporting only exacerbated the same data issues businesses usually have: unreliable, siloed, and scattered data, inadequate tools, and lack of resources.
“Ecommerce leaders use peak season data to plan ahead but are worried about the end of cookies”
Although peak season is chaotic and busy, the insights that come out of customer behavior during this time are used to plan for the year ahead. So, making sure you can get the most out of that period could make or break the rest of your year.
Aside from gathering current insights from data, ecommerce leaders are already worried about the inevitable end of using third-party cookies. Luckily, third-party cookies aren’t the only strategy to use your data insights to give your customers the best experience possible.
We’ve shared just some of the insight we learned from the many ecommerce leaders we spoke to, but keep reading our full report to find out:
- How much of the annual budget is allocated for peak season activities?
- How many team members are dedicated to peak season planning and reporting?
- What are the biggest concerns during this upcoming peak marketing period?
- Why marketing data has never been more important and difficult to manage.
- How quickly do businesses expect to report on their performance after any peak period?
- What are the biggest obstacles to managing and analyzing marketing data?
- Whether the data gathered during the peak marketing period is used for informing future decisions.
- How can retailers make the most of this peak season?
How you can manage your peak season marketing campaigns
Peak season marketing campaigns follow the same steps as every other campaign but on a more intense schedule. The best way to manage it is by setting up as much automation as you can so you can focus on what matters most—engaging with your customers and gathering insights.
Here are some top tips for gathering marketing inspiration for peak:
- Look at your historical data
- Analyze industry trends using public data
- Dig into competitor data
- See where your customers overlap with what’s trending
Once you have your research done, you can start planning by separating fads from trends, syncing your insights in a trends dashboard, prioritizing by feasibility, and remembering to be realistic.
For example, if you’re four weeks out until Christmas, and you notice a new trend, SEO might not be the correct channel to execute depending on how competitive the trend is. It just might not be possible to rank in time to have a benefit.Amanda Thomas, Managing Partner, Konstruct Digital
How you can manage your peak season reporting
With so much at stake this peak season, getting your reporting right has never been more important. But it’s also never been more complicated. 52% of ecommerce leaders and retailers we surveyed expect the amount of marketing data to grow this season.
With reduced marketing budgets and the pressure to perform, marketers need to use data to make smarter decisions that actually impact outcomes.
Start by addressing any issues and doubts you may have with your data early on. One of the top hurdles marketers identified is incomplete and inaccurate data sets.
It’s tempting to hoard data, but your reports will benefit from prioritizing quality and relevancy over quantity. While data holds incredible business potential, 67% of respondents agree that data is much harder to manage and analyze now than ever before. Take only the data you need.
It’s important that you know what data you need, where it is, and you’ve ensured it’s secured. If you can solve these data problems, you’re already halfway to dealing with your data security issues.Kurre Ståhlberg, Lead Security Engineer, Supermetrics
What data do you need for your reports?
More data isn’t necessarily better and potentially not even possible. Customers are increasingly conscious of what businesses do with their personal data. According to the State of Consumer Trends report by HubSpot, a whopping 84% of respondents consider data privacy as a human right.
As a reaction to concerns about user privacy and data collection, personal user data is becoming harder to obtain. More than half of the respondents (52%) are willing to decline to have their data tracked. Without third-party cookies, marketers need to look at other alternatives to measure marketing effectiveness.
Even though personal data is becoming harder to obtain, there’s still a lot of readily available data for marketers. You can learn a lot from how your audience interacts with your content.
Rather than focusing on single data points, start by thinking about the questions your reports would need to answer:
- How do I assess my customers’ needs?
- What kind of marketing content is driving results?
- What’s trending in our industry?
- What are your creative benchmarks?
How do I assess my customers’ needs?
Understanding your customer needs will help you prepare for the chaos of peak marketing season. Focus on data points that shed light on which products or services are most sought after during the year and specifically during major holidays. For example, if you have a retail company, one of the most sought-after items could be smaller products that can be used for Secret Santas or stocking stuffers.
What kind of marketing content is driving results?
Don’t just focus on sales alone. Your peak campaign will benefit from you knowing how your customers engage with your marketing content way before they buy. How do new audiences discover your brand? What kind of videos do they watch until the end? What social content gets shared the most? Which content drives the most traffic to your site? Look for patterns you can test and replicate.
What’s trending in our industry?
You should primarily focus on your own performance data, as it indicates what your target audience is interested in. What works for your neighbor might not work for you. But once you have these insights, you can expand your horizons by monitoring industry trends—what conversations are your customers having? Are there any news or updates that can inspire new content ideas that can boost your peak season marketing efforts? Most businesses say they interact with customers quickly, and the vast majority say it’s fundamental to their future success to provide an experience that’s responsive to customers based on real-time, in-the-moment behaviors.
What are your creative benchmarks?
As you look for trends, it’s also important to benchmark for success. It may be tempting to look at your competitors, but this information might be of little use—you might not see beyond public data or even get any new inspiring ideas for your marketing content. Break free from your own industry’s siloed views and find companies to monitor that have exceptional marketing content, regardless of their industry. See how you can emulate the best of the best to really win this peak marketing season.
Final thoughts: Don’t let too much data stop you!
Navigating the vast amount of data isn’t easy. But with the right strategy, you can cut through the noise, find meaningful insights, and use data to grow your business. We’ll leave you with a quote from our Founder and Co-CEO.
The rocky period ahead requires an intelligent approach to data to help retail businesses not just survive but thrive.Mikael Thuneberg, CEO, Supermetrics
About the author
Sophie is a Marketing Strategist with a passion for explaining complex things in simple ways. She’s a data-driven, content nerd who hates nonsensical marketing jargon and actively fights fluff content.
Kristina is the Brand Social Media Manager at Supermetrics. She loves creating marketing content that introduces complex ideas in a simple, fun way. In her spare time, she’s a connoisseur of fine memes and also possibly spends too much time on the internet.
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