This holiday season consumers want two things when they are shopping – a good friend and a good cause – according to (pdf) the American Marketing Association, which said social networking and cause-related marketing are top holiday trends.
“We’re seeing more consumers seeking out a chance to use social networking sites as a way to chat and share opinions on holiday gifts,” said Nancy Costopulos, CMO of the American Marketing Association, citing an AMA Survey. “In turn, companies are finding they have the flexibility to more overtly market to those consumers on these sites than they did a year ago.”
“And when consumers are ready to buy, they are flocking more often to companies who use cause-related marketing and want to make a difference,” Costopulos said.
More than half of those responding to the survey said they would visit a social-networking site this holiday season. And when they sign in, they are looking for holiday gift ideas, scouring for upcoming holiday sales, or downloading coupons:
“We’re starting to see a new kind of commercialization of social-networking sites that didn’t exist even just a few months ago,” said Costopulos. “Consumers are more welcoming now of the presence of retailers on these sites, but marketers have to bring more than just promotions, they have to create a way to connect and offer something that makes these shoppers feel special.”
Consumers are influenced by more than what is on the “Hot Picks” list; this year, they are showing that cause matters:
Among the demographic findings of the survey:
Best Source for Information this Season
According to American Marketing Association’s consumer survey, more shoppers are choosing the web for information about products and services this season.
When asked to think about how they use media, 44% of consumers responded that the best way to connect them with information about new products and services is through online channels, including the internet, email and e-newsletters, social-networking sites and user-generated video-sharing sites. In 2006, only 30% of consumers rated online sources as best.
“With skyrocketing numbers of consumers turning to the Internet this holiday season, the significance of successful online campaigns is clear,” said Costopulos. “Companies that get it right will fully integrate their online strategy with all other aspects of the marketing mix for a comprehensive approach.”
About the survey: The American Marketing Association partnered with Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) to conduct the research on 2007 holiday shopping. On September 20-21 ORC conducted online interviews with 1,174 internet-representative consumers 18 years of age or older in the continental United States. The sample was composed of 528 men and 646 women.
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