Marketing Briefing: Supply chain issues have marketers skipping over Thanksgiving and cutting right to the chase

shoe dragging to a shopping cart

This Marketing Briefing covers the latest in marketing for Digiday+ members and is distributed over email every Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET. More from the series →

This year, Christmas creep is on overdrive.

Holiday decor is already on display (and nearly sold out at many big box stores) and holiday sales ads are up and running. Mariah Carey herself smashed pumpkins in a viral TikTok to declare that Halloween is over and it’s time to play her holiday songs.

Of course, the overwhelming commercial push for December holidays isn’t unusual — Christmas creep wouldn’t be a known term if it weren’t already a phenomenon — but this year’s supply chain issues are making advertisers practically gloss over Thanksgiving. Marketers and agency execs say some brands are already starting to run sales they would typically reserve for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While starting sales early isn’t a first this year, marketers and agency execs say it’s more pronounced than it has been in the past.

Some brands are starting to run sales beginning this week for three weeks ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when the sales are typically concentrated, explained Brandon Doyle, founder of Wallaroo Media.

“Last year, people started their sales early because they were trying to catch up with Amazon,” said Katya Constantine, CEO of performance marketing agency DigiShop Media, who added that this year, marketers are challenged with supply chain issues and to be “more intentional” with sales messaging leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The shift in sales schedule could mean that those brands also pull back on their holiday advertising earlier — effectively moving it up.

These brands are handling the supply chain issue in a variety of ways — most brands that are advertising earlier and running sales ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are doing so for items they have in stock. Those facing great supply chain issues aren’t spending ad dollars for unavailable products. Others are using messaging to tout being ready for whenever stock is back rather than telling people to buy now, noted Constantine.

“Some are willing to sit [Black Friday and Cyber Monday] out,” said Doyle. “More so than ever before. They’re not going to do a sale since they don’t have inventory anyway. Why give a discount for something people can’t even get?”

3 Questions with Airtable CMO Archana Agrawal

How has the role of data changed in marketing?

We’ve reached a point where marketing teams are drowning in data trapped in different systems. According to our research, the average marketing team routinely uses 23 marketing tools and 46% of marketers say they lack timely data to make strategic decisions. The more tools we use, the more fragmented work becomes; when the data gets duplicated in some places and missing in others, the risk of misalignment, redundant work, and error increases dramatically. Marketing teams need a reliable single source of truth that connects their people, processes, and systems for faster decision making, more efficient execution, and increased impact. This is how teams can keep up with the pace and volume that’s required today.

What will it look like in the future?

Today’s marketing teams have a diversity of thought and talent that’s unique to the function and incredibly inspiring. From creative designers, to system-thinking ops professionals, to skilled storytellers, to technical people that want to build things, modern marketing teams are a melting pot of talent — and those diverse skills will become even more essential in the future. When those diverse teams are empowered with data, marketing can be brilliantly creative and scientific at the same time, innovating and setting new standards for using data to reach the right person, with the right message at the right time, every time.

How has the way we use data impacted Airtable’s marketing strategy?

In some ways, we’ve had an advantage. Using our own platform to bring together all the data marketing truly needs — customer data, operational data, information on capacity, budgets, assets, and dependencies — has given our marketing team the ability to both prioritize and respond to customer needs with agility. For example, by analyzing patterns in how customers were using our product, we were able to prioritize creating tailored solutions for marketers and product teams, and design content strategies to surface stories relevant to these functions. — Kimeko McCoy

By the numbers

Since the pandemic set in last year, companies have been scrambling to find ways to maintain staff morale, rolling out everything from co-working in the metaverse to co-CEO leadership models. For the human resource professionals that are putting these practices in place, things are just as turbulent. According to the latest collaborative survey from MindEdge Learning and the HR Certification Institute (HRCI), there’s been a sharp increase in burnout, hiring difficulties and workplace safety concerns. Find details from the report below:

  • 80% of HR professionals report increased staff burnout during the pandemic, with 38% of respondents saying their organizations have not taken any steps to address the burnout issue. 
  • Despite the increase in hybrid work, 61% of respondents say their organizations have not offered their employees any remote-work training.
  • 52% of respondents indicate their organization has been hiring at an increased rate, 35% at their normal rate, and 8% at a slower rate — just 5% are not hiring at all. — Kimeko McCoy

Quote of the week

“We see live shopping and shoppable video as a sizeable growth area. By investing in these formats now, brands have an opportunity to stand out vs their competition and build a shoppable infrastructure that they can expand upon as the formats grow.”

— Evan Kirkpatrick, VP of shoppable media at Tinuiti, a performance marketing firm, on Facebook’s new live shopping offering. Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest are now all offering live shopping this holiday season.

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