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Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

The Hallmark of a Rich Life

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

As the Hallmark channel airs their seemingly 100th new holiday movie of the season, it can begin to cloud our view of reality. Let’s be honest, you probably won’t run into your long-lost love on a Christmas train or make a living selling hot chocolate, but what you will do is waste your life waiting for those fictional moments.

Movies, TV shows, and social media have a way of becoming the friends that never let us down; the family drama that we can be involved in without having to resolve, and the mediocre boyfriend you never have to confront to break-up with. They fill a void in our lives for constant entertainment, but they pale in comparison to real-life experiences.

Are you really experiencing anything or just getting a better ROI from your Netflix spend?

You’re sacrificing real opportunities for the comfort of your couch and a decrease in personal risk. Would you rather scroll through Twitter than talk to a person? Watch a movie about an awkward first date than go on one?

If you step back for a moment, you may realize that none of these movies or TV shows are real. In five years, you won’t remember the plot of the movie (maybe you will if it was Hallmark because they’re all the same), but you’ll wish you had actually spent time doing things instead of watching other fictional characters experience them.

Live your life. Don’t wait for a Hallmark miracle.

Are your holidays stuffed with too much stuff ?

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Before we even carved our Thanksgiving turkeys, we were already being bombarded with holiday advertisements. Now that it’s almost December, our digital screens and mailboxes are overflowing with the season’s best deals on the latest and greatest “stuff”. With all of the surrounding festivity, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the overconsumption associated with the season.

Many of us hit the stores immediately following Thanksgiving dinner (or Halloween for some) and don’t stop shopping until Christmas Eve. We buy “stuff” for family members, friends, co-workers, gifts exchanges, our homes, our kids and ourselves. Then we see more great deals that we just can’t pass up, so we buy more stuff. Then we worry if all of the stuff we bought was enough. Will the kids be disappointed on Christmas morning? Did I get enough for dad? How much did my sister spend last year; maybe I should get her one more little thing? And off we go, back to the hustle and bustle to buy more stuff.

While it’s a wonderful time of the year and giving feels good, do we all really need more stuff?

There are 300,000 items in the average American home. Some reports indicate that over the past 50 years, the number of goods we consume has doubled, and the average size of the American home has nearly tripled in size to accommodate this increased consumption. British research found that the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily. Forbes estimates that the average American woman owns 30 outfits—one for every day of the month – even though most women actually wear only 20% of what they own. In 1930, that figure was nine.

And who among us has not felt the burden of owning too much stuff? Toy boxes are overflowing and garages are packed full with 25% of people who own two-car garages admitting they have no room for cars. It’s estimated that we will spend 3,680 hours or 153 days searching for misplaced items in our lifetime. We’re stressed about how to organize and manage the stuff we already have, and then we go out and buy more…? This doesn’t even take into account the amount of money we’re spending and the excessive amount of credit card debt we’re racking up.

Overconsumption and the obsession for acquiring more stuff can take the holiday season from merry to maddening. This year, try to control the urge to acquire and give more stuff, and see if your holidays become a little less strained and a little more meaningful for you and the people you love.

Holiday Spirit on Social Media

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the busiest shopping time of the year. Retailers and brands are competing for consumer’s attention, so during this shopping season, it is vital for brands to properly communicate key messages. Social media as a key channel provides brands and retailers the opportunity to connect directly with customers through online engagement.

According to Research Industry Voices, 28 percent of consumers will follow certain retailers/brands on social media to keep an eye out for sales, promotional codes and deals. Additionally, 22 percent will follow retailers/brands on social media to find out about the most popular gift ideas. This is precisely why leveraging online channels like mobile marketing to the fullest extent, is crucial during the holidays.

Many brands are using unique approaches via social media to increase sales during the holiday season. Social media campaigns included in the mix this holiday season include contests, holiday cards and social giving. One specific company that has embraced digital assets for its holiday campaign is Target. Target combined Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram for its 2015 holiday campaign, increasing its social budget by 30 percent compared to last year. Christmas-themed geofilters are available to all Snapchat users during the month of December, allowing them to overlay a different branded graphic on top of their photos each day until after Christmas. E-commerce ads through Facebook allow users to shop for different Target products directly from their personal Facebook accounts. Lastly, Target is running Instagram takeover ads using the app’s self-proclaimed high-impact ad unit Marquee.

The efforts brands put forth online should be mimicked in-store as well. The growth of online shopping does not replace the in-store shopping experience. Brands still need to invest dollars on in-store with well-trained and enthusiastic employees and processes to keep shoppers happy and ensure the custome in-store experience is as seamless as their digital experience. With the holiday season in full swing, companies must review their online and mobile presence, be in full launch mode with holiday campaigns highlighting special deals and promotions and ensure all content is authentic and conveys the holiday spirit.


Ann Keeling says:

Moreso than ever, online shopping is a strategy for consumers who don’t have the time or energy to deal with the mall. However, there is still a significant contingency of people who relish the mall experience, so all channels remain important to the overall shopping experience. And it’s a matter of ensuring that the brick and mortar experience is reflected in the online experience and vice-versa, which needs time, attention and nurturing.

Holiday Trends

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Now that Halloween is over, the holiday season is underway and building momentum as many begin to prepare their gift lists. Consumers are at the ready to spend millions this holiday season. As they open their wallets to take advantage of the deals and spread holiday cheer, it is important for retailers to recognize the consumer shopping trends ruling the season of spending.

With a $630 billion season ahead, retailers are preparing their holiday season marketing plans. According to the National Retail Federation’s Holiday Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, consumers celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah and/or Kwanzaa will spend an average of $805.65 on food items, decorations, gifts and more over the holiday season. This is the highest amount seen in the survey’s 14-year history. Spending on gifts for family members will total $462.95, up from $458.75 last year and also a survey high.

Holiday shoppers are looking for options that save them money and time but still provide plenty of value. Many consumers will take advantage of the deals and discounts during the holidays on merchandise that has little or no connection with the season. For example, many consumers will be spending on new clothing for themselves or for their kids as well as updates for their home. Retailers should utilize this trend in personal spending by ensuring gift items as well as personal items are discounted.

This season, approximately 46 percent of holiday shopping will take place online. With this in mind, retailers should place these omnichannel offerings upfront both online and in stores. Mobile is the fastest growing channel for holiday shoppers, especially for browsing and buying. Additionally, 47 percent of holiday shoppers ranked free shipping and shipping promotions in the NRF survey as a key factor in deciding where to do their shopping during the holiday season. ‘Tis the season to be spending. Retailers are preparing for the 2015 holiday shopper with discounts and digital as a focus.


A Hallmark Holiday

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

With Father’s Day just days away, it seems fitting to explore the holidays that exist solely for commercial purposes. Most holidays commemorate a traditionally, or historically, significant event; Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, Christmas, and New Year’s.

Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day are widespread events, accepted by the public as days of celebration, but they are on the cusp of the Hallmark Holiday phenomenon. This term is often referred to in a reproachful manner, but Hallmark defends its card-sending occasions: “As a business, we wish it were so easy that we could dream up products and people would flock our stores to buy them. But we have to respond to what people want – not the other way around. There first has to be a real consumer need that we meet with our products.” Hallmark recognizes over 20 holidays each year, many of which are included in the Chase’s Calendar of Events.

Although Hallmark has been in business for 104 years, and might be the greeting card experts, the company doesn’t declare holidays. Up until 1995, Congress was responsible for establishing national holidays, but now the effort is primarily led by grassroots campaigns. Some local government offices still proclaim special days for their regions, but most holidays are now either acknowledged by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or other professional organizations. In evaluating potential new holidays, Hallmark determines the “sendability” factor and whether or not there is large enough consumer interest.

Some holidays that may feel more commercial are Sweetest Day, Grandparent’s Day, National Boss’s Day, and Tax Day. Yes – Hallmark and other greeting companies have a card for all of these. More cynical shoppers criticize the retail world for capitalizing on traditional days of reverence and homage, as a way to encourage consumer spending. Snail mail is fast becoming a, lost art of communication but is still a meaningful way of bringing people closer together. Take an NHL announcer who declared he is on a personal mission to write one handwritten letter a day to someone who has made an impact on his life. Since many of us won’t have the time or discipline to bring such a ritual to fruition, set days throughout the year (as cheesy as they may sound), might be the perfect way to show someone you care.