The 3 Definitive Marketing Trends to Focus on for a Successful Holiday Season

Retail and ecommerce brands expect a tough holiday season because of the cost-of-living crisis. But marketing leaders are preparing to turn the tide around by focusing on three important aspects of their work: greater brand visibility, better personalisation and emphasis on email…

2022 has been tumultuous, especially for the retail sector. We started the year strong, with restrictions the world over easing and consumers getting out and spending. In January, ONS reported that sales rose 1.9% higher than December 2021, and 3.6% above pre-pandemic levels. But that has now changed as we find ourselves in the worst cost-of-living crisis in over 40 years. As consumers continue to tighten their purse strings, brands face the challenge of being more mindful with their marketing while trying to maintain profits.

In order to keep ahead of the competition and maintain happy customers, especially when competition is fierce, it’s vital that retailers keep on top of industry trends and behaviours.

Now in the mid-way point of the year, marketers are gearing up towards the busy summer and Christmas season. In order to make up for the myriad challenges they have already had to face this year, brands need to be ahead of the game if they want to see success during the most critical time in the retail calendar.

TREND 1: The Rise of BIMI

Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) is an initiative that was launched in 2019 that enables brands to send out emails with their logo appearing next to the email in the inbox.

BIMI is bound to be embraced by more and more companies this year for several reasons:
Design – it helps emails stand out in an inbox
Authentication – BIMI incentivises brands to adopt proper email authentication – DMARC in particular – when sending mass messages to consumers. Senders who put in the effort to implement DMARC are rewarded with the display of their logo
Protection Implementing – BIMI protects brands against spoofing and phishing as customers can more easily recognise that the messages are legitimate

In a recent Benchmark survey, we asked which email innovations email marketers are considering adopting this year? BIMI was one of the main responses with 28% saying they are contemplating using it.

TREND 2: Navigating the Phase-Out of Third-Party Cookies

Third-party tracking involves data that’s not owned by the website you’re on – and it’s used after you leave. Let’s say you’re on Currys and look at a Camera, and then you go to John Lewis and see that same camera in an ad in your sidebar. That’s a third-party cookie tracking your internet habits. Firefox and Safari no longer support third-party tracking, and Google has announced they’ll follow suit with plans to sunset third-party cookies in 2024. The demise of third-party cookies puts a tailwind behind channels that leverage first-party data – email being the most pervasive channel using first-party data. We should all be gearing up for more investment in email and SMS because owned data is about to be more valuable than ever.

TREND 3: Getting to Know Your Audience — Deeply

As we move towards a cookieless digital landscape in 2024 – how can brands get to know their audiences as well as possible, create long-term loyalty, and improve engagement with customers ahead of the changes?

As one of the most cost-effective channels, email provides the perfect opportunity for brands to improve their communications with customers and clients. Granted, there may be a big draw towards new channels, particularly for younger consumers, but brands need to balance the draw of these new channels against delivering success.

Email remains central as a consistent communications channel that also provides sustained ROI. Ultimately, customers want a more holistic experience, and email plays a vital role in tying that experience together.

Earlier this year, research from SparkPost, discovered that businesses were feeling positive about the future despite challenges thrown their way. However, the outlook then was very different to what it is now, and consumers are known for making emotional connections with brands – even more so in a time of crisis.

As Britain heads towards another recession, email remains a pivotal tool for optimising the level of personalisation and engagement with the connected consumer by harvesting operational, contextual and behavioural data. The more loyal brands remain to the connected consumer, the more customers will reciprocate.


April Mullen
Senior Director of Brand and Content Marketing,
Sparkpost, a MessageBird company

April Mullen is the Senior Director of Brand and Content Marketing, SparkPost, a MessageBird company. She is a versatile, global B2B SaaS marketing leader who specializes in building partnerships across functions to inspire action. An engaging communicator, she has 15+ years’ experience in bringing complex programs to success with a fresh perspective and a positive attitude. She has years of experience working remotely and managing global teams across time zones.