local marketing during holiday season,

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Marketers clearly face unprecedented challenges this holiday season. The Covid-19 crisis has prompted fundamental changes in consumer behaviors.

The epidemic boosted digital and contactless services and shattered brand loyalty. More than half of consumers plan to shop at different retailers this holiday season, mostly due to safety concerns, reveals research by McKinsey & Company.

Most consumers plan to maintain or reduce spending during holidays and handle discretionary spending conservatively, according to the McKinsey & Company research. However, a survey by Adobe and Advanis indicates that 78% of consumers plan to spend as much or more this holiday season. Millennials and Generation Z members are most likely to spend more this year.

A Very Different Season for PR & Marketing

Whatever the case, this holiday season will be very different for marketers.

As usual, experts recommend audience research and personalization. Many are now urging a strong emphasis on local messaging during this holiday season. Localization and personalization are vital this season.

Most people will probably remain home or close to home. They’ll gather only with immediate family and generally avoid large groups and long-distance travel. In addition, consumers will face different restrictions as states, regions and cities enact different levels of shutdowns at different times.

Savvy PR and marketing people will monitor the news of Covid-19 outbreaks and government restrictions and how they impact target audiences. Embracing flexibility, they’ll be prepared to quickly adjust PR and marketing strategies for local regions.

“One-size-fits-all campaigns won’t work. Don’t go nationwide – go state by state, even city by city, with messaging and offers where possible,” recommends Mary Sheehan, senior manager of product marketing at Adobe

Personalization and carefully crafting PR and marketing messages are also essential, Sheehan says. Almost 40% of consumers want messages that take their minds of current difficulties, Adobe’s research reveals. That type of communication differs from the “we’re with you” style of Covid-19 marketing messages seen early in the pandemic. If your product is aimed at younger users, devise humorous or carefree messages. Families and older markets prefer more direct, useful, and practical marketing messages.

Local merchants are finding benefits from localized advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. Many local stores are launching personalized shop-at-home services using Zoom and home delivery or curbside pickup during the holiday season. Such personalized services will help consumers support local businesses.

Influencers Turn to Local Businesses

Influencers are promoting local businesses more than in past holiday seasons, writes Kathleen Al-Marhoon, head of Bailey Lauerman Public Relations, in SmartBrief. They’re willing to work more on small opportunities as well as charitable efforts as opposed to partnering with large, deep-pocketed brands.

Supporting local businesses is bringing the community of Kansas City together, says Audrey Kuether, who publishers the Oh So Lovely blog. “Everyone in Kansas City is rallying behind all the local businesses, which has been kind of cool,” she says in the SmartBrief article. “We are trying to put our money back into our own city and not as much into Amazon’s pockets.”

Mindful of Covid-19 difficulties, top bloggers and other influencers say they’ll focus on holiday traditions that kindle warm feelings, cooking recipes, and fun activities for children and families that offer quality at-home time.

Social Media Polls for Audience Insights

Influencers often use polls on Instagram and other networks to better understand their audiences and track consumer trends. Brands can also benefit by incorporating polls into their influencer partnership contracts to gain a better understanding of their target.

“Influencers are uniquely positioned to capture vital consumer insights and are constantly checking the pulse of their social communities to customize content for what’s relevant now, a moving target in these uncertain times,” Al-Marhoon advises.

Bottom Line: Localizing PR and marketing campaigns will be crucial for reaching target audiences during the holidays because of Covid-19 disruptions. As the epidemic impacts states and towns differently, brands will need to closely monitor outbreaks and government restrictions and understand how their customers react.

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