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Facing the Challenges of Holiday Email Planning in 2020: Webinar Recording + Q&A

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, holiday celebrations around the world… at this point in the year, you’re normally knee deep in planning for the busiest time in email. That’s all changed as a global pandemic has completely altered society (and our shopping habits). Now, you need to completely rethink your approach to holiday planning. And you need to do it fast.

In this webinar, Ivana Simovic—Senior Marketing Manager at Knix—joined us for a candid interview about the challenges of holiday planning in 2020, how she’s planning for multiple holiday scenarios amidst all the uncertainties, and what success looks like for retailers in 2020.

Didn’t have a chance to watch the webinar live? Don’t worry. You can access the full recording at any time and read the Q&A below.


Q&A

A big thank you to everyone who chimed in during the webinar with a question! Here’s a recap of our answers to the most popular questions, along with our take on some of the questions we didn’t get to during the live webinar. Have any additional questions? Please leave them in the comments.

What are the keys to a successful holiday strategy in 2020?

Ivana Simovic: Get ready to be agile and pivot quickly. There’s been so much uncertainty to contend with in 2020. Having the autonomy to own your channels, make quick decisions, and listen to what your customers are telling you will help shape that strategy for you.

We have a plan, a back up plan and a back up plan to our back up plan in the event that things go haywire.

And aligning with your operations team/supply chain is very important in the midst of a pandemic if your products are made/packed/shipped from overseas.

What’s the one thing retailers should really be worried about this year?

Ivana Simovic: Not knowing if there will be a pandemic influx in the fall and how the US Presidential election will impact the world and how all of the above is completely out of our (retailers) control.

How has your paid strategy changed over the last few months?

Ivana Simovic: We have chosen to listen to what our customers are saying on our social accounts and acting based on what we’re hearing. We have paused campaigns in favor of practicing what we preach. We are watching our ROAS even more closely than ever before, scaling when we can and pausing when things aren’t working. We have seen products that normally wouldn’t perform in cold audiences take off in light of quarantine.

What kind of re-engagement and growth strategies are you using to grow your list going into the holiday season?

Ivana Simovic: We have a standard “engaged” segment, which is about 15 weeks of engaging with an email or being on site. Right now, we are trying to scale that out to 32 weeks of engagement in time for the holiday season. We create segments for various time frames and start sending to them weekly, so they can get acquainted with seeing us in their inbox again. Splitting levels of engagement based on time into various segments also helps us identify the drop off point where customers lose interest in our regular campaigns. Which helps us optimize our winback and post purchase journeys.

How did you advocate to get more staff and resources for your team?

Ivana Simovic: 3 things worked to my advantage here:

  1. Having a boss who understands the work involved and value email marketing adds to the company
  2. Highlighting the revenue email marketing brings in as a percentage of company revenue. Usually the email team is a humble team of 1 or 2 and brings in a large chunk of annual revenue, which in relation to various other departments is not balanced.
  3. When working on planning for the 2nd half of 2020, we had A LOT on our plate. I used it as an opportunity to document every idea my team wanted to tackle, then met with my boss after I had ICE’d all ideas and prioritized them. Then cut everything we could not accomplish due to the lack of bandwidth. Being able to show the executive team how much revenue we were leaving on the door due to team size helped push forward the need for another team member.