Category Archives: holidays

SAY San Diego

Tis The Season To DO Good!

By | agency life, Digital Operative, DO Good, holidays, nonprofit | No Comments

It’s that time of the year again! Everyone starts thinking about hot cocoa, holiday music, and the time of giving! Last year Digital Operative gave back by partnering up with Toys For Tots and everyone in the office donated gifts for children.

This year DO is DOing good and getting into the holiday spirit by partnering up with SAY to help out 30 refugee families living in the poorest sections of San Diego. Shannon D’Orsi our Director of Culture, summed up DO’s holiday giving, “As a local San Diego Company we think it is important to give back to the people in our community who ultimately help to shape and make San Diego the vital and vibrant place that many of us call home.”

SAY is a nonprofit organization that was established in 1971 to help 30,000 people ranging from children, families, and communities to overcome barriers and create opportunities. Families and individuals become involved with SAY by contacting the organization directly, and some referred by schools, courts, law enforcement, or community organizations.

The families that DO will be assisting this year are The Karen People of Southern Burma. These families are from refugee camps in Thailand who have been involved in a war for independence since 1949. They speak little English and are transitioning to a whole new culture. There is no safety net for them as they are mainstreamed into urban life. Children are placed into the education system in San Diego, and expected to keep up with other students. “These are very resilient people trying to do well in difficult conditions and can use all the support that can be given.”

The office already has a Christmas tree up with tags as ornaments that say what the families most need, and seeing each one taken as the days go by is heartwarming.

We hope others join us in choosing to make this holiday season special for friends, family and especially those less fortunate.

This year, you too can help donate in the slightest ways to make the biggest difference. Find the closest toy drop off for Toys for Tots to donate your gifts, and/or search for volunteer opportunities. If you would like to get involved with SAY, they have plenty of ways to give back, ranging from donations, volunteer work, helping families directly, and much more!

2014 Holiday Sales Recap

Turkey is Cooking, Pies Are Baking and Consumers….They’re Shopping!

By | ecommerce, holidays | No Comments

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now a thing of the past. Now we need to talk about Thanksgiving day sales. As more people begin to shop online at earlier times, we see a slight decrease in brick and motor sales and a surge in ecommerce sales.

This was the first year that many retailers actually opened on Thanksgiving afternoon, to give those that wanted to shop an upper leg. This caused the increase in sales on Thanksgiving day and a slower pace of shopping for most retailers on black Friday.

What were Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday sales?

Adobe reported that “Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday set new [online] sales records with $1.33 billion and $2.4 billion, respectively.” IBM said that Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday e-commerce was up over 2013. On Thanksgiving day this was a 32 percent increase as compared to Thanksgiving day on 2013.

What Were Cyber Monday ecommerce results?

E-commerce revenue was up 15.4% on Cyber Monday 2014 compared to Cyber Monday 2013, making it the biggest day in US online shopping history. Easily shattering the previous record set just three days ago, on Black Friday.

But, Why would sales be up and AOV be down?

IBM explains this slight reduction in average order value due to shoppers becoming more comfortable and digitally savvy in how they use online coupons and rebates to secure the best bargains.

Mobile sales vs. desktop

And, as we predicted earlier this year – mobile device sales were up. Substantially. On Thanksgiving Day mobile devices drove 52 percent of all internet traffic. This is the first time in history that mobile ecommerce sales outweighed desktop sales. And On Black Friday 34.69% of all online sales were purchased via mobile.

What does this mean for the future of ecommerce?

We have seen such a big increase on mobile sales, not only for the holiday shopping but throughout the year. So launch your 2015 year with a strong email campaign, since email marketing generated 27.3 percent of online orders for Black Friday and 23.9 percent on Cyber Monday…it is only going to increase next year. Start building your lists…NOW!


If you need any help with your 2015 planning, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

Holiday Branding

Just Because The Holidays Are Here – Doesn’t Mean Your Brand Can Take A Vacation

By | holidays, strategy and planning | One Comment

Creative, fun, and engaging campaign ideas often flow at this time of year as we marketers brainstorm how to capture the most sales and drive brand awareness during the holiday season. Your customers meanwhile have developed a relationship with your brand, and they have an expectation about your brand personality. Do these seasonal creative ideas coincide or collide with this established personality, messaging, visual style, and tone of voice?

Let’s first have a quick overview of how branding originated, how it has changed and where it stands today.

In marketing terms, “branding” came about simply to differentiate one product from another. With naming and visual identity, brands could attract consumers and, hopefully, keep them loyally purchasing their product. As the years passed from those early days of marketing, branding came to mean SO MUCH more; brands soon represented everything consumers thought and felt about products and/or services. People started to have relationships in their minds with brands, and it then became a marketer’s job to maintain clarity and consistency of branding in order to maintain and nourish those relationships.

In today’s digital world, the relationship people have with brands goes much deeper than ever before. Consumers come into contact with brands via a huge variety of touchpoints, from physical stores, television, mobile devices, tablets, desktop computers. They maintain “conversations” and “relationships” via a huge variety of marketing channels and social media.

So, what does all this have to do with the holiday season? Well, you do not have a different brand in the holiday season than you do during the rest of the year. Your customers should still have a the same relationship with your brand in June as they do in December. As your creative juices flow, make sure you’re doing so with those parameters at the front of your mind.

Make sure the tone and voice with which your brand normally speaks is the same voice used during your holiday promotions. If you have a just-the-facts, super-serious brand, but during the holidays your start using an overly-casual, borderline-flippant tone of voice, your customers will experience at minimum confusion and at most alienation.

Similarly, your visual brand can very well accompanied by some seasonally appropriate merriment, but make sure you don’t stray from your core identity or you might be hindering brand affinity. Changing visual style is certain to raise an eyebrow and build doubt in the mind of your customers.

One perfect example of a runaway holiday promotion comes to us from Target. Since 2010, Target has built its holiday campaign around a maniacal, price-obsessed housewife who trains early to fight the crowds on Black Friday and throughout the holiday season. While getting a good deal has always been important to the Target brand, it certainly has not been central to the brand in the same way or to the same degree that this campaign conveyed. In fact, Target is making a concerted effort this year to distance itself from this style of holiday campaign. Jones, Target’s CMO recently stated:

“In the last few years, we drifted too far away from some of those elements that make Target, Target.”


While the words and visuals you’re using in a campaign or promotion can and should be seasonally appropriate, the tone and style should be remain in-line with your brand. For more on branding or holiday strategy & planning, reach out to our strategy team.

Holiday-PPC and SEO Checklist

Ready, Set, Go – PPC & Email Holiday Checklist

By | email marketing, holidays, PPC | No Comments

Have you thought about all the appropriate messaging needed to make sure your holiday promotions and sales go off without a hitch? We recently put together a list of the 5 things you must DO to ensure a successful holiday season and now we have created a messaging checklist to go along with it.

Below are two checklists for some of our “Must-DO” messaging for PPC and Email to help aid in your Holiday success:

Holiday-Checklist

Email-Holiday-Checklist

If you have any questions or want more guidance with your PPC and/or email marketing messaging please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

 

Holiday ecommerce checklist

Ecommerce Holiday Checklist – Are You Ready For The Holidays?

By | digital marketing, ecommerce, holidays | One Comment

Black Friday is only two weeks away and if you are feeling nervous and unprepared, then you are way behind the curve. But, that’s why we are writing this post — we have come up with five things you must do, even this late in the game, to have a successful Holiday season.

Use our checklist to make sure your Holiday season strategy is ready and aiding in your “Ready, Set, Launch” day of plan.

Checklist:

  • Social Media Marketing Plan
  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday Promotions Planned
  • Holiday Customer Service Support
  • Holiday Email Campaign
  • Holiday PPC Campaigns
Social Media Marketing Plan

Basic social media posts are free and social channels are some of the easiest platforms to use. If your company uses social media properly, posts will be shared by potential customers, reaching a bigger audience.

A few social holiday pro-tips:

  • Develop holiday branding on all channels to reflect the season
  • Schedule posts in the future using apps like Hootsuite or Sprout Social
  • Have social support to answer any customer service issues that may arise on social channels
  • Make sure your promotions are also synced with your social networks

Check out our 5 Tips for Social Media This Holiday Season for more info on how to increase your sales via social.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Promotions Planned

Black Friday and Cyber Monday set new records for 2013 and we are sure that 2014 will be no different. It is imperative that you set your promotions for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday and prepare for the influx in traffic.

Promotion pro-tips:

  • If you add “free shipping” to your ecommerce site, research shows that it encourages 93% of customers to follow through and actually purchase.
  • Know your customers and where to post your promotions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
    • Open your store a few hours early on Thanksgiving day and give your loyal customers a sneak peak and an opportunity to purchase before everyone else.
    • As for your promotions, do a sneak peak a week before and don’t post your actual deals until the day of.
Holiday Customer Service Support

This probably seems like common sense. But, make sure you are over staffed for the huge Holiday weekend that is right around the corner. It is imperative that your customers aren’t waiting long and you give them answers within minutes of when they are asked.

Customer service pro-tips:

  • Staff your customer service reps accordingly. It’s always better to be overstaffed than understaffed
  • Dedicate someone to manage your social channels over the weekend — Almost 50% of customers that complain over social media expect a response within 60 minutes
    • This could turn a one time customer into a loyal customer
Holiday Email Campaigns

This is your chance to constantly remind your customers of your holiday offers and let them know exactly why the should shop at your store on Black Friday. If you haven’t already, you must set up a holiday email campaign, launching a few days before Black Friday and the final email sending out on Black Friday.

Email pro-tips:

  • Make sure your emails are designed responsive, 41% of emails opened are on mobile
  • Segment your list, use recent products or categories viewed, past item purchases, and demographic info to tailor a message to that segment
  • Send a coupon on Black Friday — since 91% of shoppers say the lowest price is the most important factor in buying
  • Be sure to send out an abandoned shopping cart email with a special coupon code on Cyber Monday, to all of those that left your site without purchasing from over the weekend.
Holiday PPC Campaigns

Holiday PPC is a good way for your company to be seen over other competitors. Be competitive and aggressive at creating ads that might be costly in the short-term but will reap great returns for many transactions to come. Remember that your customers are going to spend money with your company if they find the right product, so use your PPC ads and show them why they should spend money with your company.

PPC pro-tips:

  • If you don’t have a big budget, try going after long-tailed keywords
  • Cater ads to target holiday shoppers
  • Target mobile devices — remember 51% of shoppers do so on mobile devices
  • Add extensions to increase credibility and CTR

Now that we’ve provided you with five, last minute tricks to help your Holiday strategy, we hope that you feel better prepared to have a successful Holiday season. If you need any additional information on help with any of the things we’ve talked about above, drop us a line

 

Social Media for the Holidays

5 Tips for Social Media Success this Holiday Season

By | holidays, social commerce | One Comment

Ah, the holiday season is upon us once again. For most it’s time to relax, spend time with family and friends and eat delicious food. But for digital marketers, it’s also go time! Social media has become increasingly more important to holiday campaigns. This is also prime time for social commerce initiatives. Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, holiday-related content and customer service inquiries, having a solid social media plan is essential in order to achieve holiday success. Here are 5 tips to help you succeed:

Find the balance between real-time and scheduled updates

Social media never sleeps but you can’t be expected to do the same (believe me, I’ve tried). Luckily, most social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, along with dashboards like TweetDeck or Hootsuite, allow you to schedule out updates. If you’re managing Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals and offers, schedule out your posts ahead of time, but make sure to check your links if the sales are slated to go live at a certain time i.e. midnight on Thanksgiving.

Let your posts roll out as planned, scheduled a few hours apart, checking them periodically to make sure that links are working and that there is still inventory. Live updates should be for things like engaging with customers, letting them know if an offer starts to run low or sells out, or to share user content as it comes in.

Over-communicate

We all know that this time of the year can cause a lot of stress. Minimize any potential miscommunication by giving as much info as you can, as often as you can. If you have, say, a coupon code limited to 100 uses, make sure to include that in your post. Include things like expiration dates, sale price vs. regular price, and things like “excludes tax” or “free shipping” when sharing deals on social media. Since shoppers are focused on the offer, no need to get fancy with your wording. Give them all the details you can about the sale.

Because attention spans are short and characters are limited, have a central location of all your deals and offers on your blog in addition to your website. Maintain an updated list and make sure that any restrictions like “US only” or “percentage off based on MSRP” are clearly stated there are well. Drive to this page periodically for the people who want to see all your holiday offers.

Pro tip: If you have a holiday deals post from the prior year, update it instead of posting a new one. Change the deals and the date. Chances are your prior year post has been indexed by Google, helping with SEO and showing up in search results.

Designate team roles and responsibilities

Holiday is a crazy time for us all and you shouldn’t go it alone! Social media can be a beast on a regular day never-mind over the shopping weekend. Dividing and conquering the workload is the best way to handle all content, questions and concerns without losing your sanity. If you don’t have a customer service team monitoring social media, designate team members to do specifically that. Have another monitor the conversation in general.

If you have a larger team, have team members take on different channels. Get together ahead of time and craft messaging together so it’s complete and you have unified messaging, voice and tone across all channels. While you’re at it, create an ultimate social media support plan for the team with all logins, tracking codes, monitoring shifts, post times, who is responsible for what channel, your customer service process, and any other key information so it’s available at a glance for everyone involved. Using a social media platform is also recommend here so that you can all see what posts are scheduled, what posts have been responded to, etc. The more organized you are up front, the better.

Don’t be afraid to try new things

Holiday might seem like a time to stick to what you know but it’s also a great time to try new things! Have you been meaning to test out Promoted Tweets? Maybe you’re ready to launch your Instagram presence. With so much attention on holiday deals over the Thanksgiving weekend, this gives you a natural boost to your new program or channel. Capitalize on those extra eyeballs that are hunting for the best offers and shopping for gifts.

Remember to breathe

This can be an overwhelming time for a regular person, never-mind a digital marketing professional. While holiday is critical time for many business looking to solidify revenue numbers before the end of the year, remember to take time for yourself too. Plan ahead as much as you can, leverage your team, and kick back with a nice hot cocoa at the end of the day…or something stronger if you need it.

 

Contact us if you want guidance or more information regarding success in social commerce.

 

ppc holiday planning

PPC Holiday Planning – Top 5 items in the PPC planning process

By | digital marketing, holidays, PPC | No Comments

If you work in PPC you know as well as we do at DO, that there is a delicate balance between being prepared and being flexible for whatever comes your way. You wake up every day knowing that Google will ultimately decide your campaign performance, but for every comic book villain there must be a hero in the story. Right?

In short, yes. That is where you come in. The PPC subject matter expert. You know all the tricks of the trade from how Google crawls the web to how many data points you can pull from Analytics and create amazing looking spreadsheets and charts showing off performance for a client. You love the adrenaline rush of providing increases to a company’s revenue and sales. You wear that hero cape proudly.

This all sounds so perfect, most definitely a win-win scenario. What if you woke up one morning, placed that hero cape on your shoulders, walked up to the villain only to find your kryptonite. While many things happen unexpectedly in advertising, one thing is a sure fire way to assure you walk away the hero on a big sales day like Black Friday and not the guy who missed the traffic right in front of him.

Planning. It’s so simple, why do people always forget this aspect? The sheer results of not planning for the biggest shopping season of year is enough to scare anyone in business. So what is it that people miss in the planning process? Here are our top 5 frightening items in the PPC planning process that people forget. A list of what NOT to do:

Not Budgeting

Create a budget. Just do it. This should be your jumping off point in your holiday hero campaign. Throwing random amounts of money at things and seeing what sticks can sound like a viable plan if you like to scare your company stakeholders and roll the dice, however this is just a great example of terrible planning. You need a well thought out budget to get the ball rolling. Don’t be that guy.

Not Budgeting for Traffic Influx

Plan for an increase in spending to correlate with the online shopping traffic increase. Take a look at your YOY Q4 performance and develop a level of expectation and ensure confidence with your clients. Trust is a big deal in this industry.

Not Setting Device Specific Allocation

Know the trends. Mobile devices are expected to send approximately 20% more traffic this holiday season than during the same time period in 2013. We all know that historically for many ecommerce brands that mobile doesn’t necessarily convert as well as desktop/tablet. This year could be interesting with new initiatives from Apple(Apple Pay), eBay, and PayPal. Get that cape dusted off, this could be your true hero moment.

Not Aligning with All Channel & Marketing Initiatives

Heroes always need their trusty sidekicks. Align your efforts with all channels to capture the share of voice for your brand. Missed opportunities happen many times when items are left in silo. Communication is key.

Not Sticking to Your Plan

We see this all the time. People making quick decisions based on a reaction rather than being persistent. Jumping every time their conversion rate or quality score drops. The earth’s axis tilted a bit more today? Panic will not help you. Be flexible but stay the course and add things along the way.

Set yourself up for holiday shopping success this year and know your plan! Not doing so is downright scary. We are PPC professionals at DO and we know how to keep things from getting scary – If you need help and/or guidance drop us a line!

Tenzing

4 Ways To Speed Up Your Site For The Holidays

By | Guest Blog, holidays, partners | No Comments

This guest post was written by our partners at Tenzing

There are lots of opportunities to find hidden capacity in your environment – and that capacity can be very valuable during the busy holiday season. Our partner Tenzing is here today to share four ways to free up your environment before the holiday rush hits.

It is incredibly important to regularly review your application performance and tune areas that are resource intensive, but as we come up to the holidays this type of tuning is imperative. As a specialist in infrastructure for ecommerce, Tenzing starts working with clients on holiday plans in August, well ahead of the holiday rush, to implement the following best practices.

Adjust caching timing

Caching can save system resources by holding information in memory, but when the cache has to be refreshed it draws system resources to complete this activity. During peak times increase the time between caches.

Adjust ‘type ahead’ search

Type ahead search uses additional sessions and threads within your application. Increasing the number of characters before the search is initiated or how long the system will wait before it starts searching will give you added capacity when you need it.

Remove/adjust view all options

Giving customers the option to view all items in a category is available on many sites, but if you have a large catalog the loading of these elements take time and resources. Review all the areas where the option to view all is available and restrict the number of items that can be viewed when it is selected.

Limit Publishing

Limit your publishing during peak times. Catalog updates en mass are resource intensive because in most applications the database and search engines need to re-index. In addition caching has to be refreshed.

For more information on how to prepare your site for the holidays download Tenzing’s free Ecommerce Holiday Guide – it’s full of advice and ideas on preparing for the holiday season including how to prepare your infrastructure optimize your application and coordinate your marketing.

About Tenzing

As an ecommerce infrastructure specialist Tenzing has been helping retailers prepare for the holiday season for almost a decade. Tenzing combines scalable infrastructure, deep platform expertise, advanced managed services and extensive industry partnerships to help merchants increase revenues and deliver remarkable customer experiences. Retailers and Solution Partners choose Tenzing because we help them increase SEM performance, reduce shopping cart abandonment and ensure performance during peak seasons. To find out more about us visit www.tenzing.com or email us at ecommerce@tenzing.com

eCommerce Shopping

How Digital is Shaping Consumer’s Expectations in 2014 for Holidays

By | ecommerce, holidays | No Comments
By Mark Bastin, CMO – The Mann Group



For over a decade “Black Friday” or the day after Thanksgiving, has been considered the official start of the holiday buying season. As I am writing this, that would be approximately 111 days of calm before the storm. But the word “calm” is relative as retailers are crafting strategies to maximize holiday sales and consumers, with more digital tools than ever, are discovering, reviewing and learning about products well before any holiday hours are posted.

It’s a safe bet to say that the expectations of empowered consumers continue to rise on their shopping journeys which is no longer a straight line as the retail world has become fragmented into physical stores, websites, apps and game consoles.

The knowledge and use of digital devices as a shopping tool is on a trajectory that resembles a hockey stick. Consumers now hold the shopping power regardless of retail size, location or platform. The ability to discover, research, compare, discuss and purchase is not just on a desktop computer but now more than ever in the back pocket or purse of today’s shopper.

Although we work primarily in the specialty cycle, outdoor and running retail spaces, we know that the blueprint for retail success across the board has always been to create a great experience, provide convenience and have quality products. A retailer who loses sight of just one of these ingredients will be fighting an uphill battle.

To insure a shopping journey that is smooth, connected and consistent across all channels, consider the following:

  • Does your brand look and feel the same across mobile devices and   websites?
  • Are you using tablets on the sales floor to tell brand stories, increase sales, decrease time at a fixed cash wrap POS stations and grow brand loyalty?
  • Do you have a mobile marketing strategy in place to issue promotions, incentives, personalized interactions and mobile payments?
  • Are you using social media to create a community, drive engagement, promote and tell your brand story?

I’ll end by saying that with all of this digital discussion and potential, it is imperative that a healthy balance be nurtured between the digital initiatives in a retail space and the smiling faces of retail team members. A well trained manager or sales associate can offer a customer understanding, solutions and inspiration better than any tablet.

About The Mann Group

The Mann Group is the trusted partner to hundreds of independently owned shops and some of the worlds most recognized brands in the outdoor, cycling, running and action sport industries.

Their deep understanding of the retail environment and comprehensive set of custom tailored services provides clients with value and insight that impact the customer experience, employee engagement and the financial health of their business.

mg logo-horiz

DO-WEEN Spooktacular

By | agency life, holidays | No Comments

It’s that time of year again! Last week we had our annual Halloween party or as we call it, our DO-WEEN party. This year the stakes were even higher as the creativity and secrecy loomed around the office for weeks before the event. Everyone was talking about what they were going to bring for the potluck or more specifically, what Pinterest inspired ghoulish dish would make its appearance. The one thing no one did talk about was their costume and now I know why……The DO team didn’t fail – and everyone blew last year’s costumes and treats out of the water.

Eric won for BEST Overall for Vincent Van Gogh

Now, I must also acknowledge the fact that Eric also won best overall costume last year – but he really out did himself this year:

Shannon Won for Cutest Costume as Rosie The Riveter:

Thiago Won for the funniest as Green Man

Also, starred in his own short film at work – “Always Sunny in San Diego” – Green-Man takes over San Diego

Here are some other pictures from the party:

We are already looking forward to next year! And hoping we can create another video short like the one we created this year……

Green-Man takes over San Diego

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