July 24th, 2013 Social Marketers NYC

On Wednesday, July 24, 2013, OLC attended Social Marketers NYC’s event, Holidays in July: Seasonal Social Planning at Offerpop. The event featured four incredible panelists: Bizzy Coy, Creative Supervisor of Content at Situation Interactive; Alison Dempsey, Social Media Manager at Quidsi; Callan Green, Senior Social Media Specialist at Sony Electronics; and Ryan Penagos, Executive Editorial Director at Marvel’s Digital Media Group. Mark Cooper, co-founder and CMO of Offerpop, moderated this event.
The average amount of money spent per day hit a four-year high last December 2012 at $83 spent per day. There are several shopping seasons within the holiday season: Black Friday (247 million customers shopped on Black Friday last year), Cyber Monday ($1.7 billion was spent last Cyber Monday), Small Business Friday ($5.5 billion was spent), and an incredible 43% of consumers started shopping in October—and the seasons are just getting longer.
Marketers are having to respond to customers earlier—and the season earlier as well, but just because shopping starts earlier doesn’t mean that it ends early either. In fact, 22% of retail marketers are planning to increase social spending for the holidays, and the customers are responding to this. Approximately 48% of consumers planned to use social media to shop, 54% find discounts on social media, and 53% look for gift ideas. The funds from social marketers are going to Facebook (90%), Twitter (75%) and surprisingly Pinterest (67%), but it’s clear that mobile needs to be part of the strategy. After all, $136 billion was spent through mobile last year, and it’s only going to grow.
Mark Cooper: Can you introduce yourselves?
Bizzy Coy: We work with a lot of live events. We’re very deeply in the live entertainment experience role. We have copywriters and social media teams to help push content out.
Alison Dempsey: I’m 50% of my social media team, so it’s just two of us working.
Callan Green: I focus on influencer campaigns at Sony.
Ryan Penagos: I write and edit a lot. I handle all of the social pages that we have. Pretty much all content for social comes across my desk.
MC: What role does back-to-school and holidays play in your business?
RP: For comics, we plan out two years ahead. The real nitty gritty, though, takes place in three months. For us, we’re about to get to holidays—that’s more of a push than backto-school. We look to incentivize subscriptions on digital for the holidays.
CG: For us, back-to-school is very important, because we’re selling computers. I’d say that it’s a small group of people [planning] for back-to-school, but for holidays, it’s a big group of people planning for holidays.
AD: We have teams focusing on their sites—those were all planned in May. It all depends on the site. Planning starts in May, June and July. 
BC: Back-to-school is the slow period in Broadway. This is when clients are hungry to get their tickets sold. Holidays are the best seasons because tourists are back.
MC: I’m curious about your holiday marketing efforts. Are they standalone?
BC: It all depends on the client. Radio City is all about holidays, but Broadway shows like Wicked are all unique social pushes.
CG: We work with marketing teams very closely. One thing we did last year was amplify content and we used social to amplify it. We took the theme, “Love to give,” and applied it to a social execution. We gave a dollar back for every Pin we got on Pinterest.
MC: Do you see behavioral changes during holidays than other parts of the year?
RP: People are expecting to spend more money. They also want deals. We’re looking to get in front of them and take their money. There are periods when people are traveling, and sometimes I try to calm down with content, but since mobile has become so huge, there’s no slow time for us anymore. We’re making sure we don’t go dark.
AD: I think it’s a challenging time. There’s a lot of clutter and competition out there. It’s trying to get your brand message out there. The approach we’re taking is to get our message out there earlier and connect with the customers.
RP: It’s also connecting with your audience.
AD: I think every year, mobile will become more and more important—waiting on lines will lead to more mobile use.
MC: How important are Black Fridays or Cyber Mondays for you?
BC: For us, it’s not so much—it’s retail-focused, but I think Cyber Mondays will be where we’re focused on in the future.
RP: I work with a lot of retailers and more and more I was getting requests for social posts. I think there is a period—about nine days—to find the right content, you know, what’s attractive to your audience.
CG: Black Friday plays a huge part for us. We try to share deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We do lots of little things too, but it’s a big day for us.
AD: It’s like a 10 day shopping period for us. We felt that we started too late—we launched our campaign on a Wednesday and cut it off the following Monday during Black Friday. We turned every day into a shopping experience. This year, Cyber Monday is on December because Thanksgiving is so late this year. It’s going to be a shorter shopping season this year.
MC: When you think about good social campaigns, what comes to your mind?
BC: We had a campaign for Radio City Spectacular. It tugged at the heartstrings in an authentic way and users shared it with their friends over Facebook. And because there was no sales message, people seemed more compelled to share.
MC: Do you guys think about branding during the holidays?
AD: That’s our bottom line.
CG: It’s a little bit of yes and no.
BC: We definitely still had emails blasts that were ticket heavy, but for our repeat customers, we had something else sent to them.
MC: Is user-generated content a bigger thing for you?
RP: I can’t accept any unsolicited material. It’s great, but the line is really close and I can’t do much with it.
MC: How does mobile play out for you during the holidays?
BC: Mobile is increasingly important for our clients. We’re trying to make it easier for them. People are more committed on mobile than with traditional ticketing.
RP: We have an app and sales have been increasing through it. We expect it to grow over the holidays.
AD: There’s so much traffic on mobile, but the conversion isn’t as much on desktop. We’re going to get people to install our app instead.
CG: People don’t buy televisions on a whim using mobile. They way were use mobile at the moment is through location-based to send deals.
MC: What about gifting programs?
CG: Well, we did do random social gifting.
RP: I give away a lot of stuff on my Twitter. I’ve built up a large bank to give away during the holiday season. People love free stuff.
AD: We’ve looked into social gifting programs, but I don’t know; I’m on the fence about it. I think we’re thinking about Pinterest and incorporating Pin It buttons on gifting emails.