October 24, 2013, 11:19 AM

Free shipping is retailers’ top holiday marketing tactic

39% say it’s their top holiday promotion, followed by daily deals, a study finds.

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With the holiday shopping season fast approaching, 83% of retailers say they plan to run cross-channel marketing campaigns during November and December, with online display ads and e-mail the most widely used marketing tactics, Experian Marketing Services says in a new study. And the most important marketing pitch will be free shipping, it says.

“Marketers are planning on integrating across channels more than ever this year,” Experian says. “More than half (55%) will be coordinating marketing across four or more channels.”

The study lists the percentages of retailers who say they will use the following marketing channels during the 2013 holiday season:

● Online display ads, 59%;

● E-mail, 55%;

● Print ads, 46%;

● Search marketing, 30%;

● Mobile ads, 24%.

When Experian asked merchants to name their top three social marketing tactics for this year’s holiday season, the most-often cited tactics were social sharing links from a retail site (49% of merchants), social media ads (45%) and product promotions (36%).

As for mobile marketing tactics for the holidays this year, 43% of merchants say their most important effort is developing a mobile-optimized web site, followed by 37% who cite developing mobile-optimized e-mail and 31% mobile advertising. The study also notes that 15% of marketers plan to use geolocation technology to send targeted mobile promotions based on a consumer’s location, but that only 1% plan to send sweepstakes promotions via text messages.

Experian also notes that 69% of merchants say they started to plan their holiday marketing strategies before the end of August. Its study is based on a survey of 212 marketing professionals conducted between June and August.

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