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    Nearly Half of Marketers Launch Holiday Campaigns Before Halloween

    Survey found online display the top marketing channel for such efforts

    According to a recent survey by Experian Marketing Services, 49 percent of the more than 200 marketers polled about their cross-marketing campaign plans for the holiday season said they would roll out such initiatives in advance of Halloween. The most popular time to launch campaigns overall is the first 15 days of November, right after Halloween but before Thanksgiving.

    “Retailers have been extending the shopping seasons with promotions, post-recession, so it’s not surprising to see that nearly half of all marketers stated they would launch a holiday campaign before Halloween,” noted Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Experian. “This year’s back-to-school season started in early July as a big promotional month versus last year. Our consumer confidence data shows it as the highest it’s been since the recession, so we expect the early promotion trend to carry over into the holiday season, with Black Friday deals being offered even earlier than last year.”

    The majority of marketers began planning their holiday campaigns in the summer, with June earning the title as the top holiday planning month -- 18 percent of the marketers surveyed said that’s when they started. Overall, 69 percent of the marketers said they started planning holiday campaigns by August.

    Marketers plan to integrate across channels more than ever in 2013. Of those polled, 83 percent said they would run coordinated, cross-channel marketing campaigns during the holiday season, with 55 percent intending to coordinate marketing campaigns across four or more channels.

    The survey found that the top three marketing channels planned to be used this holiday season are online display (59 percent), e-mail (55 percent) and print (46 percent), with search (30 percent) and mobile (24 percent) rounding out the top five.

    In contrast, mobile and search ranked low on marketers’ priority lists, although many of those surveyed said they’d be using mobile tactics during the holiday season. Developing mobile-optimized websites came in as the top such activity, pegged by 43 percent of respondents, with creating mobile-optimized e-mail (37 percent) and using mobile advertising (31 percent) revealed as other common choices. Fifteen percent of marketers surveyed said they would use geolocation promotions this holiday season. Just 1 percent identified engaging consumers through contests and sweepstakes as a campaign tactic they planned to employ.

    More than 70 percent of marketers surveyed said they would use some sort of promotional offer for consumers this holiday season. Free shipping offers ranked as the top promotional tactic that they planned to integrate into their customers’ holiday shopping experience this year. Thirty-nine percent of marketers surveyed said they would use free shipping, followed by deal of the day offers (28 percent) and e-coupons (21 percent). Few marketers planned to make use of layaway (3 percent) while, surprisingly, 28 percent said they wouldn’t use any type of promotion.

    When asked, “What are the top three social tactics you are integrating into your customers holiday shopping experience?” almost half (49 percent) of respondents replied that they would integrate social sharing tools from their respective websites, with social advertising (45 percent) and product promotions (36 percent) rounding out the top three.

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